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Column 011413 Brewer

Monday, January 14, 2013

New and Cooperative Measures are needed to Defeat Transnational Crime

By Jerry Brewer

Although it seems virtually impossible to calculate the number of deaths attributed to organized crime, and drug related gang activities, in the United States, crime watchers note the violence and death tolls that continue to mount at alarming rates south of the US border.


More aggressive and ongoing conflicts roll on as prolonged military-styled law enforcement campaigns continue against multi-national criminal insurgents who regularly regroup, restructure, and adapt to creative strategic crime interdiction methods.


The threats and subtle acts to legalize drugs has continued to mobilize street gangs, organized criminal consortiums, and other ruthless desperados to adjust and conform to alternatives that are perhaps more deadly, personally invasive, and outrageously profitable as well.


As far north in the Americas as Mexico, tens of thousands of people are reported missing, with more than 60,000 killed over the past six years. The number of those missing and killed beyond Mexico, in Central America, is absolutely mind-boggling -- and outrageous for the 21st Century.


Where is respect for human life and the rule of law?


How are governments addressing this, and what must leaders and officials in the path of the bloody carnage do to protect citizens and guard against anarchy in the face of transnational organized crime control?


The “drug war” vernacular doesn’t work anymore, and it has always moved us into instant complacency and the formulating of naive opinions, by hedonistic and much political thought/rhetoric, that “prohibition” has caused all of this. Imagine getting the families of the thousands of murdered and missing women and migrants tossed in mass graves throughout the hemisphere to buy into that.


The enemy is clearly a transnational and systematic killing machine. The enemy's focus is to possess superior armament and a capable strategy that is based on violence and territorial acquisition to act with impunity. It remains a fluid epidemic that filters through much of Latin America, a corridor that is a swinging gateway for financing efforts through a myriad of illegal operational acts.


Drugs and other contraband supplies remain consistent, although highly technical US drug interdiction assistance by the US military and Mexican counterparts make this extremely risky and dangerous for criminals less skilled, and forces much of the contraband to go further south and out through other more facilitative venues and international markets.


This leaves the locals of home grown origin, and other fragmented cell-like criminal organizations, to increasingly commit crimes such as highly lucrative ransom through kidnapping and extortion; brazen armed robberies while using high-tech weapons; cargo and oil theft; human/migrant/sex trafficking; murder for hire; and associated acts of power and violence for profit.


Facing these enemies, who are increasingly adaptable, with sophisticated capabilities, that too constantly employ new and advanced technologies to facilitate their agendas, requires much more than enforcement officials just pushing back with stronger militarized force techniques. Effective policing and other criminal justice infrastructure institutions, strategies and techniques must be implemented and take hold in order to establish true law and order. These things in addition to improving court processes and correctional systems for enhanced justice for homelands.


Of course this is a monumental task, but incredibly necessary to succeed with a competent system of justice throughout the regions. Many of the transnational criminal organizations appear to own the police, the judiciary and the prison systems. They have viciously murdered and tortured government officials, police officers, journalists and citizens. With their virtually limitless funds and unlimited access to weaponry, they clearly have the ability to destabilize an entire hemisphere.


Narcoterrorists, such as Los Zetas that crossed into Guatemala, wasted no time with their corruption, extortion and ruthless enforcement methods. There they promptly, as well as rather easily, penetrated key state institutions. Their actions in Guatemala were quickly destabilizing, which helped to transform Guatemala into a nearly lawless state. That complex situation of aggression forced former General and now President of Guatemala Otto Perez into a top priority of ending the long-standing US ban on military aid to his homeland.


The ascendancy and graphic examples of criminal gang dominance within Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, by organized criminals that have successfully infiltrated those nations, show that they are composed of elements of the most vicious and ruthless criminals on earth.


Two of the main organized crime gangs in Guatemala are the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. Reports demonstrate an emerging centralized leadership within these organizations, which indicates an adapting hierarchal formation to meet increased demands to grow and have better control of failing cells in many of the principal cities in the US, where gang members also live and operate.


Targeting specific regional crime from an international perspective in these seriously affected regions, with highly strategic and cross functional initiatives to meet the new adaptive and emerging trends, is critical to all those in the path of the escalating threats.



Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at

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