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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs > Remarks, Fact Sheets, Reports, Other Releases > Fact Sheets > 2002

The Nexus Between Drug Trafficking and Terrorism

Washington, DC
April 10, 2002

There often is a close connection between terrorism and organized crime, including drug trafficking. This nexus takes many forms, ranging from facilitation -- protection, transportation, and taxation -- to direct trafficking by terrorist organizations themselves.

Drug traffickers benefit from terrorists' military skills, weapons supply, and access to clandestine organizations. Terrorists gain a source of revenue and expertise in illicit transfer and laundering of money for their operations. Like traffickers and other organized crime groups, they make use of those countries and jurisdictions where banking regulations are weak. Both groups corrupt officials who can provide fraudulent documents, such as passports and customs papers.

Drug traffickers may also gain considerable freedom of movement when they operate in conjunction with terrorists who control large amounts of territory. The September 11 attacks demonstrated in horrific detail the great danger to the U.S. posed by a narco-terrorist state where both groups can operate with impunity.

While the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) does not have the lead in the war on terrorism, its counternarcotics and anti-crime programs promote modernization of criminal justice systems and of the law enforcement agencies charged with the counter-terrorism mission. Since September 2001, INL has been working with the Departments of Justice and Treasury, and with cooperating governments, to focus on counterdrug and anti-crime programs that also have an impact on counter-terrorism.

Working with organizations such as the Group of Eight (G-8), and with the European Union and other countries, INL has sought new approaches to overcome longstanding barriers to closer law enforcement cooperation and to assist other countries in their ability to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1373 to combat terrorism.



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