Convergence of Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism in Latin America

  • Colonel Ricardo Gonzalez

Transnational Organized Crime in Latin America has expanded in the last decade and is responsible for most of the illicit trafficking of drugs, contraband goods and humans in the Western Hemisphere. These criminal activities take place along well-established and resourced networks, which lack effective government control measures. This sophisticated grid with access into U.S. territory could conceivably be used by extremist terrorist organizations to inflict harm inside the United States. Yet ironically, if Transnational Crime Organizations allow the use of illicit networks by extremist organizations, it could bring about adverse consequences for their own lucrative international operations. This Strategic Research Project examines these networks and potential links to terrorism that could be manipulated by religious extremist terrorist organizations. It also assesses the possible U.S. response to a significant terrorist event borne out of this convergence. The study concludes by providing recommendations for U.S. policymakers.