Transnational Organized Crime refers to those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate internationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption or violence. There is no single structure under which international organized crime groups operate; they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks and cells, and may evolve to other structures. The crimes they commit also vary.
- In at least part of their activities they commit violence or other acts which are likely to intimidate, or make actual or implicit threats to do so;
- They exploit differences between countries to further their objectives, enriching their organization, expanding its power, and/or avoiding detection/apprehension;
- They attempt to gain influence in government, politics, and commerce through corrupt as well as legitimate means;
- They have economic gain as their primary goal, not only from patently illegal activities but also from investment in legitimate businesses; and
- They attempt to insulate both their leadership and membership from detection, sanction, and/or prosecution through their organizational structure.
In recognition of the increasing threat, in recent years the following key initiatives have been undertaken:
In April 2008, then-Attorney General Mukasey announced the Law Enforcement Strategy to Combat International Organized Crime, which establishes an investigation and prosecution framework to combat the threat. The document overview can be viewed by clicking here.
In July 2011, the Obama administration announced its new Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, which applies all elements of national power to protect citizens and U.S. national security interests from the convergence of 21st century transnational criminal threats. The document can be viewed by clicking here.