Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

Worth Reading: A Report on Drug Trafficking and Gangs That Terrifies
If you want a fairly complete, and completely terrifying view of the power of organized criminal activity in the United States, take some time to read the National Drug Threat Assessment of the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Yet as good and comprehensive as it is, it reflects one of the fundamental weaknesses and walls that still exist.

The entire report mentions the overlap with terrorist activities exactly ONE time, and that, in a footnote relating to prison radicalization.

While different law enforcement agencies (the DEA in particular) have made drug cases leading directly to Hezbollah, the FARC and the Taliban, this is not mentioned. The FARC is the primary trafficking organization in Colombia, while the Taliban controls most of the heroin heading to Europe. Hezbollah skims from illicit drug laundering from Venezuela to Colombia to Maracaibo and Panama. At least 19 of the 43 designated terrorist organizations have been shown to have direct ties to drug trafficking.

Yet the NDIC is kept completely separate from terrorist analysis, just as terrorist analysts are still largely segregated from anything to do with drug trafficking and organized crime. It is called stovepiping information, as the 9/11 Commission made famous.

This, despite the fact that there is an undeniable and growing link between terrorist organizations and the organized criminal pipeline.

I understand the report was on the threat of drugs in the United States. But, given the existing case precedent and stated desire of different terrorist organizations to attack the United States, I cannot help reading things like the following and wondering what it portends in terms of terrorism.

Mexican DTOs (drug trafficking organizations) are the greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States; they control most of the U.S. drug market and have established varied transportation routes, advanced communications capabilities, and strong affiliations with gangs in the United States. Mexican DTOs control a greater portion of drug production, transportation, and distribution than any other criminal group or DTO.

Their extensive drug trafficking activities in the United States generate billions of dollars in illicit proceeds annually. Law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican DTOs maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors in at least 230 U.S. cities.

So, we have groups that can cross our border virtually at will and have access to at least 230 cities. How do they manage to coordinate their activities? By using technology that law enforcement and the intelligence can only dream of acquiring.

Mexico- and U.S.-based Mexican drug traffickers employ advanced communication technology and techniques to coordinate their illicit drug trafficking activities. Law enforcement reporting indicates that several Mexican DTOs maintain crossborder communication centers in Mexico near the U.S.–Mexico border to facilitate coordinated cross-border smuggling operations. These centers are staffed by DTO members who use an array of communication methods, such as Voice over Internet Protocol, satellite technology (broadband satellite instant messaging), encrypted messaging, cell phone technology, two-way radios, scanner devices, and text messaging, to communicate with members. In some cases DTO members use high frequency radios with encryption and rolling codes
to communicate during cross-border operations.

So, while setting up shop in 230 cities, these organizations can cross our borders and communicate at will to coordinate actions on both sides of the border. Accessing this pipeline would the the ultimate dream of any terrorist organization seeking to attack the United States or any place along the way.

It is striking to me how much good reporting is available, but from the USG and private sources, and still how few of the dots are connected in a way that gives a picture of the whole.

The Afghanistan Question and Force Restructuring
The Iran-al Qaeda Connection
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC