Transnational Crime, Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is an international; problem that affected millions of people around the world. The main countries involved in drug trafficking are Columbia, Venezuela, the USA, and Burma (Myanmar). The articles and books suggest that drug trafficking is controlled by international crime organizations aimed to save their business at any price. Among drug traffickers, the drug-crime connection is quite straightforward (Bowden, 2001). Though social researchers disagree over why people are drawn into drug trafficking, there is no argument among people so engaged. The main argument is money, and the pursuit of it—particularly among major drug traffickers pushing cocaine and heroin—evokes every illegal act that falls within the analytical categories discussed above (economic and corruptive), with the prevalence of the direct impact occurring in the systemic and corruptive areas.

The article “Prospects for Controlling Narcotics Production and Trafficking in Myanmar” by Gibsonm and Haseman (2003) best illustrates how drug trafficking is committed and its influence on the population. The article demonstrates that small countries like Burma, with the weak military governments, are the main producers of illicit drugs. Drug traffickers’ criminality is linked to the systemic violence and corruptive categories, as is their related criminal support system, which focuses on acquiring, securing, laundering, and safely guarding money and getting and preserving positions of power. In Burma, drug traffickers, not consumers, commit most drug-related homicides. Drug traffickers use the billions at their command to attempt—largely productively—to corrupt, subvert, or eliminate the state agencies and people who stand in their way (Carrigan 2003).

In Burma, drug criminality does not end with these more sensational and individual acts of depriving, hurting, maiming, and destroying. Even the “benign” repatriation of drug traffickers’ assets through illegal cash laundering—whether this entails investment in lawful enterprise or disbursement to cover business debts in the underground economy—adds to criminality. Beyond that, drug traffickers corrupt the state or political leaders who run it in order to improve goods movement and access to intelligence, protect persons and property, allow for easier repatriation of financial resources, and build respectability through political influence. Corruptive state officials are accordingly a second major hallmark of the article ranking traffickers and perhaps of a number of lesser ones as well. The researchers write: “Yangon’s military rulers have acknowledged publicly that official corruption is a problem for the government” (Gibsonm and Haseman 2003, p. 32).

In Burma, allowing for the drug industry, more decentralized and less prone to syndication and violence, in many isolated geographical areas there is more finance to be made in illegal drugs than in any other available product or service, despite the risk and loss factors associated with the illegal drug trade. Drug money buys the peasant in Burma a new quality of life, one to be defended at all costs (Bugliosi, 2002). On the other hand, it also provides the wherewithal for some social groups to prosecute political demands). Both political leaders and major drug traffickers in cocaine and heroin are world-class criminal leaders who deprive, hurt, maim, and destroy out of business necessity or political goal. Most individuals consider this to be criminal, and much of the criminality is funded by financial assets from illegal drugs. “On the other hand, Yangon clearly tolerates the drug trade in order to maintain an uneasy peace with armed drug-trafficking insurgent groups” (Gibsonm and Haseman 2003, p. 32).

Experience bred in conflict has honed control and discipline among criminal organizations worldwide. The new drug trafficking methods, supported by the state of Burma, are much more sophisticated than the old ones of the Sicilian mafia. One international critic admits that international drug traffickers have become the “global mafia,” a new monolithic threat able of invoking fears such as those stirred up by East-West rhetoric about communism and capitalism (Crandall 2001). In the state of Burma, conspiracies whose combined intelligence, firepower, and will for violence exceed the capacity of some states to restrain or counter them (Crandall 2001). Such solutions create a safe, near foolproof way for drug traffickers needing to launder vast quantities of financial resources (Gugliotta and Leen 2004). New phones each week (to hamper call tracing), funds bounced through a dozen banks in less than n hours, and an electronic collection system that combined diverse deposits to a single source in ways virtually impossible to find—this is a perfect formula for the secret transactions that constitute the cards of the global illicit-drug traffickers (Chepesiuk 2001).

In order to eliminate drug trafficking in such countries as Myanmar, it is crucial to introduce democratic political reforms and change the government. The strict control of officials and the police should be the core policy of the state (Mills, 2005). Petty street vendors should be frequently removed from the main roads, and the state should allow that such a massive assault on civilized decency cannot necessarily be attributed to them. However, it appears the isolated entrepreneurial drug vendor is increasingly being replaced by network sellers in Burma ultimately tied to major and middle-ranking traffickers (Emmers, 2007). Insofar as this is true, the state should control almost all trafficking to hasten processes of social disorganization. The assaults on state authorities even allowing that some governments may be worthy of attack and their laws appropriately subverted—create considerable social and economic overhead and institutional squander and debris, an effect particularly pronounced in states enjoying a modicum of legitimate government and rule of law. Many individuals view most of these activities as criminal (Bugliosi, 2002). Also, strict legal responsibilities and severe punishment should be introduced by the state (Ruiz, 2001).

In sum, weak state power and corruption have increased global drug trafficking probably by several orders of magnitude, especially in areas noted for systemic violence and corruption. The drug-crime trade among producers (particularly growers of the drugs) and petty refiners differs from those of drug abusers and drug traffickers. In order to reduce drug trade on an international scale, all countries should introduce strict laws and support borderline areas (communities) and countries in the war against drugs. Sometimes the drug traffickers’ search for new opportunities is facilitated by poverty and hunger. In this case, the states should pay more attention to local communities and poor regions involved in drug production.


Bowden, Mark. 2001, Killing Pablo. New York: Atlantic Monthly.

Bugliosi, Vincent. 2002, The Phoenix Solution. New York: Star Press.

Carrigan, Ana. 2003, Palace of Justice, A Colombian Tragedy. New York: Four Walls Press.

Chepesiuk, Ron. 2001, the War on Drugs: An International Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Crandall, Russell. 2001, Driven by Drugs: U.S. Policy Toward Colombia. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Emmers, R. 2007, International Regime-Building in ASEAN: Cooperation against the Illicit Trafficking and Abuse of Drugs. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 29 (1), 54.

Gibsonm R, M., Haseman, J. B. 2003, Prospects for Controlling Narcotics Production and Trafficking in Myanmar. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 25 (1), 32..

Gugliotta, Guy, and Jeff Leen. 2004, The Kings of Cocaine. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Mills, James. 2005, The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Justice Embrace. New York: Doubleday.

Ruiz, Bert. 2001. The Colombian Civil War. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.

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