Thursday, March 20, 2014

Attorney General Issues First Report on Transnational Organized Crime in California

 Most recommendations on the surface make sense, but are not actionable and read more like warm and fuzzy stuff

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy, including a set of recommendations to combat the increasingly complex issue of transnational organized crime in California, some which make sense

The new report titled Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, addresses the three emerging pillars of transnational criminal activity: the trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings; money laundering; and high-tech crimes, such as digital piracy, hacking and fraud.

The report is a result of  research and consultation with federal, state, and local law enforcement, non-governmental organizations and academia.

The full report can be viewed here:

Highlights from Gangs Beyond Borders:

Mexico-based transnational criminal organizations traffic 70% of imported methamphetamine through the San Diego port of entry alone. California is the primary source of methamphetamine nationwide.

The Sinaloa Cartel is the most dominant Mexico-based drug trafficking organization operating in California and is responsible for trafficking most of the Mexico-produced marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine through Tijuana into California.

Transnational criminal organizations are using new technologies like social media to facilitate criminal activity, recruitment, intimidation and harassment.
Breaches of computer networks by TCOs have increased since 2009 and many originate from organizations based in China, Russia, Romania, and Nigeria, among other countries.

Last year, California state drug task forces disrupted 140 drug, money laundering and gang organizations, arrested nearly 3,000 individuals, rescued 41 endangered children, confiscated 1,000 weapons and seized nearly $28.5 million in anti-narcotic law enforcement actions.

The report presents includes recommendation, some which make sense.  Others are simply more legislation with questionable value:

Recommendations which on the surface make sense, these are not actionable and read more like warm and fuzzy stuff:

The California legislature should amend state law to target the leaders of transnational criminal organizations operating in California.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement should use California’s State Threat Assessment System as a central hub for sharing information about transnational crime.

Federal, state, and local authorities should establish a unified maritime task force and associated radar network to counter maritime smuggling operations along California’s coastline.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies should increase operational coordination in combatting transnational criminal organizations

Businesses should adopt industry best practices designed to protect against cybercrime.

The Legislature should amend California law to enable prosecutors to temporarily freeze the assets of transnational criminal organizations and their gang associates before the filing of an indictment.

The Legislature should strengthen California’s prohibition against financial transaction “structuring.”

State authorities should partner with their Mexican counterparts to share intelligence and disrupt the illicit flow of money across the border.

Recommendations which do not make sense

The Legislature and Governor should fund five additional Special Operations Units across California.- what part of we are broke do people not understand?

California prosecutors need advanced training to combat sophisticated money laundering schemes.- this implies more funding for junkets such as the ones at the IRS.  What part of we are broke do people not understand?

State and local authorities should develop public-private partnerships to leverage technology against transnational crime.  On the surface it makes sense.  However, California is one of the most anti-business states.  Why only approach the private sector when the government needs funds? Totally asymmetric recommendation.

Next week, Attorney General Harris will lead a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to enhance  efforts to combat transnational crime. The delegation will meet with Mexican state attorneys general and federal officials to discuss the issues of drug, human and firearms trafficking, money laundering and high-tech crime.

The  delegation includes California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and New Mexico Attorney General Gary King.

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