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Drug trafficking is considered to be one of the major and the most money-promising activities of mafia and other criminal organizations. According to the reports, nearly forty percent of all mafia operations are somehow connected to drug trafficking. Supposedly, its annual income from drugs operation is $110 billion (Dileva, 2006). Of course, in large part illicit drug market is controlled by huge trafficking organizations, which are often referred as ‘families’. For example, La Cosa Nostra and other motorcycle criminal groups that reside in Mexican and Nigerian communities within the USA. Despite the historically important role of La Cosa Nostra, new groups nowadays tend to emerge in drugs trafficking market. It should be noted that they are usually activity-specific, e.g. are closely connected to the drug-related operations, which constitute their main income. They are noted to be less fluid than La Cosa Nostra but more violating and brutal in their manner of committing crimes.
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Drugs are trafficked and then sold by mafia in various ways that usually depend upon the type of drug itself. For example, the most famous cocaine has its own route. It has been reported that all the cocaine that travels through the territory of the USA comes exclusively from the countries of South America. The cultivation of Coca usually is made in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia (Dileva, 2006). The laboratories needed for its processing into cocaine are located in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. It should be also stressed that cocaine industry tends to increase each year and there are no signs signifying its decrease. It happens even though the consumer demand tends to diminish. Then, processed cocaine is transported by ships through the territories of other South American and Caribbean countries. Finally, it reaches the shores of the USA.
Colombian cartels are among the principal ransporters of drugs, especially, cocaine to the USA. Almost 75% of all cocaine in the USA is distributed by Colombian Cartels (Reding, 1995). They are known to be the largest, wealthiest, and most important groups specializing in trafficking cocaine. It is mainly caused by the fact that they exercise control over processing laboratories located in Peru and Bolivia. However, recently, their operations have lessened because of the restrictions that have been imposed on chemicals importation by the Colombian government. In addition, it started the comprehensive campaign aimed at the destruction of local links needed for transportation of drugs. Because of it, the amount of almost sixteen metric tons of cocaine was seized by the Colombian authorities. Moreover, the Colombian government started extradition of the individuals involved in trafficking operations back to the USA as well as issuance of arrest warrants in regards to the key drug traffickers. These severe actions of the Colombian government have eventually forced many of the traffickers to move to other South American countries. The overall geography of drug trafficking has been rapidly changed, and the main centers for drugs production, processing, and transportation were found in Peru and Bolivia. Despite the suggestions that the drug-related activities in these countries are financed by Colombians, the two drug trafficking groups in these countries have been reported to be rather self-sufficient in their activities, and the Colombian Cartels remain dominant over trafficking operations in South America.
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Combating drug trafficking is top goal for law enforcement bodies as it is often accompanied with committing other crimes or is related to different kinds of illegal activities. The offences and felonies that are somehow related to drugs are in general divided into two categories: those committed under influence of drugs and those that include production, processing, transportation, distributiion, and carrying of drugs. The crimes committed by mafia organizations usually fall within the second category and include assault, bribery, murders, homicide, burglaries, beating, etc. These crimes also include assaults and murders committed in order to get revenge. Many efforts are made to bribe officials who must remain silent while drug trafficking is on. The crimes within the first category are committed by both gang members and ordinary people. According to statistics, one third of all crimes are to certain extent related to drugs trafficking. In addition, mafia is as usual involved in money laundering. In order to legalize the money acquired through trafficking operations, mafia organizations buy the stakes in different enterprises and then start laundering money through legal business operations of these enterprises.
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Drug trafficking within the territory of the USA is closely linked with international drug operations. The latter is often referred to as multinational challenge that has certain impact upon states and upon international community in general. Therefore, while comparing these two systems, it should be noted that the bodies that are specifically created for combating drug related activities are different on national and multinational levels (Wyler, 2013). Secondly, while in the USA, drugs have limited implications usually connected to their users, in terms of internationality, drug trafficking might be viewed as serious tool for undermining regional and political stability, especially in countries of South America and in Afghanistan. Researches suppose that money derived from drug-related operations might be used for financing terroristic and other groups whose aim is to disturb public order in other countries. Finally, examining the correlation between the USA and international drug trafficking, one should note that the latter is the largest one and includes the American drug market among the others (Russian, European etc).
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