International 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 strict hierarchies to blood clans, networks and cells, and may evolve to other structures.
- Rely upon violence, threats of violence or other acts of intimidation;
- exploit political and cultural differences between nations;
- gain influence in government, politics, and business through corrupt means;
- hold economic gain including investment in legitimate business; and
- insulate leadership from prosecution through hierarchical structure