Organized crime can be explained as a complex and thoroughly centralized criminal enterprise that has been established for the explicit purpose of engaging in unlawful activities. In the world we live in, hundreds of organized crime families operate illegally and often engage in illicit activities.
These activities include fraud, human trafficking, robbery, drug and arms smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and cargo theft. The primary forms of income for organized crime groups are prostitution, drugs, loan-sharking, and gambling.
In numerous regions in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, many organized crime groups have continued to thrive because they are adept at avoiding legal consequences. Even though law enforcement continues its endeavor to bring these criminal organizations to justice, they continue operating. Below are some of the disturbing facts about organized crime groups we have just learned.
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The Zetas Drug Cartel Enslaved Engineers To Build Them Their Own Radio Network
Communication is key to an organized crime group's success, but public information networks can be monitored by governments. That's why the Zetas drug cartel began grabbing Mexican engineers to build and maintain their own radio network.
By 2012, it is believed approximately 36 skilled technicians, engineers, and professionals were kidnapped by the Zetas gang and others like it, and in 2015 this count was at 40. Evidence found by the authorities has proven these people have been tasked with creating private communications networks for the Zetas drug cartel.
For example, in 2011, it was uncovered that the Zetas had a radio communications network comprising 167 antennas and 155 relay stations. These linked approximately 1,300 phones, 1,450 radios, and 1,350 Nextel devices controlled by 70 computers. Despite authorities continuously destroying the telecommunications facilities, more pop up to replace them.
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Mexican Cartels Earn Between $19 Billion And $29 Billion Annually From US Drug Sales
The United States of America has tens of millions of substance users and comprises the world’s biggest drug market. In 2013, data released stated approximately 10% of the US population over the age of 12 could be classified as recent drug users.
With figures like these, it is unsurprising that Mexican cartels make exorbitant profits each year on drug sales in America. According to the US Department of Homeland Security, Mexican cartels operating in the country earn between $19 billion and $29 billion each year from American sales alone.
Even though El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, has been imprisoned, the organization remains one of the most powerful in Mexico and continues to operate in the illegal drug trade. This is largely due to Ismael Zambada García, otherwise known as “El Mayo,” taking over the cartel after El Chapo was imprisoned.
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Some Yakuza Groups Are Based In Office Buildings, Use Corporate Logos, And Provide Pension Plans
It is believed the yakuza organized crime group was founded in the 17th century and that at present, they have approximately 30,000 members scattered across the world. In the 21st century, the yakuza are well-known for dealing primarily in real estate, extortion, protection rackets, gambling, sex trafficking, and construction.
Unlike a few other crime groups, the yakuza operate legitimate and illegitimate businesses. Yet, many still don’t know some of the yakuza groups in the expansive criminal network are based in office buildings, use their own corporate logos, and provide pension plans to their members.
These groups are regulated by Japanese law, but surprisingly they are not banned, which is a testament to their significant illegal influence.
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The Aryan Brotherhood Is Reportedly Responsible For 18% To 25% Of All Homicides Committed In The American Federal Prison System
The Aryan Brotherhood, which is largely considered to be the most violent white supremacist group in the US, started out as a gang in federal prisons. It quickly became an influential player in organized crime. In fact, the Aryan Brotherhood now has a strong enough network on the outside to be considered an organized crime group themselves.
Yet, what is most disturbing is they are reportedly responsible for 18% to 25% of all homicides committed in the American federal prison system. In addition to this, the Aryan Brotherhood is responsible for a string of criminal activities and the slayings of influential people outside the prison walls.
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Omid Tahvili, A Kingpin Of The Tahvili Crime Family, Bribed His Way Out Of Prison
Omid Tahvili is believed to be an Iranian Canadian kingpin of an organized crime group that operates in Canada, which has been connected to multiple international crime organizations. In April 2008, he was listed as one of the world’s 10 most-wanted fugitives after he escaped prison in 2007.
According to news reports, Tahvili managed to escape prison after bribing Edwin Ticne, a guard, to help him get out of the North Fraser Pretrial Center in a janitor's uniform. The janitor's uniform allowed him to simply walk out of the front door of the high-security prison.
For his crime of assisting Tahvili to escape prison, Ticne was sentenced to three years and three months in jail. At present, Tahvili is still a wanted fugitive.
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Chechen Hit Men Are So Feared Their Names Have Become 'Franchises' For Non-Chechen Gangs
For decades, ordinary people and powerful organized crime groups have feared the Chechen hit men. Their violent tendencies and renowned skills allowed them to become one of the most mythologized and powerful players among the seedy Russian underworld. They were so feared other gangs would rather pay them off than try to clash with them.
Although the Chechen hit men are not an organized crime group per se, they do manage to represent a distinctive criminal subculture that is held apart from the Russian underworld. They have become notorious in Russia due to a peculiar mix of branding and bandit tradition, carving out a powerful spot in Russian criminal imagination.
That’s why many non-Chechen gangs are competing to use the names of infamous Chechens to forge their own path of criminal success. According to Foreign Policy magazine:
Since the late 1990s, this image [Chechen efficiency and ruthlessness] has increasingly been “franchised” to other gangs, many of which contain no Chechens and may even be entirely made up of Slavs. By being able to claim that they “work with the Chechens” (this is the usual expression) and thus can, if necessary, call on their support, gangs acquire considerable additional authority.