Power and Influence

March 7, 2018 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Beatrice Murch photo



Ricardo Swire



The United Nations’ 2007 to 2017 statistics on bothersome criminal trends highlighted the extent of transnational drugs and gun trafficking’s intimate relationships with political instability and organized crime. Power and influence embodied in increased murders, gun crimes and underworld glorification. In 2003 the UN launched its Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) as one international countermeasure. After globalisation reduced illegal profits international drugs trafficking became organized crime’s most lucrative business venture.


In February 2010 the UN Security Council noted the “serious threats posed in some cases by drug trafficking and transnational organized crime to international security in different regions of the world.” Caribbean national intelligence officials are cognizant that drug trafficking is mostly problematic in states with pre-existing governance issues. Size of a domestic economy, relative to the country’s drug flow value, determines a transnational trafficker’s next destination.


Cocaine circulates via three prominent destination markets. In the recent past Europe and the Southern Cone of South America have grown expeditiously. 2008 statistics tallied America consumed forty percent of global cocaine. Europeans snorted twenty-five percent and Southern Cone of South America users purchased between ten and twenty percent. Invisible exporters, affiliated with Mexican and Colombian Cartels, insert drug money in offshore economies.


After entering the formal financial system clean cash is withdrawn to pay processors, shippers and bribe rogue government officials. The May 2016 arrest of a high-profile Argentine Federal Judge characterized the magnetic pull of drugs money and associated riches. Since 2015 Argentine internal security officials monitored the Federal Judge as he unofficially assisted local drug dealers for cash payments. In November 2015 Argentine Office of Narcocriminalidad (Procunar) agents named two Gendarmerie Commanders and two Petty Officers among co-conspirators.


Evidence outlined how the four national security “Expert Witnesses” received payola to produce insufficient evidence at appearances in the Oran federal court. These Gendarmerie performances resulted in favourable results for indicted Argentine drug traffickers. Initially the mastermind was protected by entitled immunity as a Federal Judge. In May 2016 fluid intelligence guided senior Argentine Federal Police Counter-Narcotics detectives on a special mission to intercept ad detain the Federal Judge in Salta city, for trafficking one metric ton of cocaine.


Argentina’s north-eastern city Salta is a drug trafficking hotbed that borders Bolivia. Bolivian Special Anti-Narcotics Force (FELCN) agents routinely stage interdiction operations along the clandestine route that extends between the department of Santa Cruz and Salta city. Argentina/Bolivia joint “Exercise Arbol” or “Exercise Tree” demonstrated regional cooperation. The operation also allowed Argentina’s home-made and deployed 3D radars, each with four hundred kilometers ranges, to be calibrated. The state-of-the-art technology removed a shadowy aerial vector and boosted Argentina’s law enforcement interdiction capability on the ground.


The Major-General in charge of Bolivia’s Air Force or FAB confirmed mutual benefits from Argentina’s 3D radar introduction and counter-narcotics collaboration.  Argentina’s May 2016 high-level Federal Police probe found that for eleven years the ex-Federal Judge used his office to revert impounded cocaine at a special price, to domestic black-market characters and in Bolivia near the Aguas Blancas Pass. During one April 2012 episode the former Judge dispatched a signed document to the Chief of Customs in Salta city.  Two of his staff used private vehicles, registered GPV271 and GZL299, to collect the state’s confiscated cocaine formally earmarked for destruction.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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