Thursday, August 16, 2007

Extraterritorial organized crime killings

Six Italians were murdered in northern Germany in a power struggle among factions in a southern Italian organized crime group that reportedly plays a key role in selling tens of billions of dollars of cocaine in Europe. New York Times, August 16, 2007, German Police Link 6 Dead Men to an Italian Mob Feud.

I don't have the time to do the research now, but let's hypothesize that there has been a trend of increasing numbers of extraterritorial organized crime killings -- that is, killings in mob rivals that take place in countries outside the national home of the conflicting mobs.

I suspect that we could find instances in which the Mexican organized crime conflicts have spilled over into homicides in the U.S.

Those who direct and commit such extraterritorial murders may believe that they are reducing the risk that they will be successfully investigated or prosecuted. To the extent that the investigating agencies will be unlikely to have informants among the criminal organizations, they are less likely to be fluent in the language of the criminals, the long-distance investigations will be very expensive due to the costs of sending investigators to other countries, hiring translators, etc., and extradition proceedings against the criminals could be expensive, these crimes may be less easily solved and prosecuted.

However, there may be a law enforcement benefit from this crime pattern. Assume that the police agencies in countries where the murders take place, which are not the home of the conflicting mobs, are unlikely to have corrupt alliances with any of the mobs. If that assumption is valid, then at least on that basis those police are more likely to pursue the investigation than if the police were corruptly allied with the mob.

Unfortunately police - criminal alliances are too common; they characterize the situation in Mexico, for example.

This has significance for the U.S. criminal justice system priorities as the organized crime conflict in Mexico intensifies. The U.S. must make investigation and prosecution of Mexican criminal organizations a high priority -- certainly higher priority than prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries operating under California or other state laws.

Indeed, U.S. investigations and prosecutions of high level criminals in other countries is probably the most productive activity of the U.S. Department of Justice can take to address global crime, as well as drug distribution in the U.S. See my paper Getting Justice Off its Junk Food Diet

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: