This commentary will focus on what may, at first, appear to be an unusual topic for CAPS, but I believe you will quickly see the reason for the commentary. The title for this commentary was taken from a Department of Justice news release that was posted by the DOJ on March 12, 2012. The subtitle as posted on the DOJ website was:
“Afghan National Trafficked More Than 123,000 Kilograms of Heroin in 2006”
The first two paragraphs of the news release provide a good synopsis of this important successful prosecution:
WASHINGTON – An Afghan national with ties to the Taliban was convicted today by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of conspiracy, distribution of heroin for importation into the United States and narco-terrorism, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Administrator Michele M. Leonhart of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Haji Bagcho, from Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, was investigated by the DEA for narcotics offenses. The investigation revealed that Bagcho was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the world and manufactured the drug in clandestine laboratories along Afghanistan’s border region with Pakistan. Bagcho sent heroin to more than 20 countries, including the United States. Proceeds from his heroin trafficking were then used to support high-level members of the Taliban to further their insurgency in Afghanistan.
Our nation is currently engaged in multiple battles- battles with a high body count. We are waging a war against terrorism and terrorists whose goal is to slaughter as many people inside the United States as well as outside the United States. We are also waging a war with, to date, a far higher body count- a war against transnational gangs and narcotics trafficking organizations.
Both criminal organizations as well as terrorist organizations require the financial wherewithal to enable them to conduct business, achieve their malevolent objectives and advance their causes, often working in concert. Often terrorist organizations resort to criminal activities in order to secure the funds that are essential for their operation. This often creates an unholy alliance between criminal organizations and terrorist organizations. Increasingly the violence being employed by the drug trafficking organizations increasingly parallels the violence used by terrorist organizations to intimidate opponents and further their goals. Think of the beheadings and use of IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) associated with the drug cartels in Mexico. Consider that since Felipe Calderon took office as the current President of Mexico, it is estimated that 45,000 Mexicans have been killed by the drug cartels.
This is why the use of the term “Narco-Terrorism” has never been more appropriate.
Now consider how the huge quantities of heroin being produced and smuggled into countries across the globe, including the United States funds the Taliban that then use the money to carry buy weapons and whatever else is needed to kill our soldiers in Afghanistan, corrupt government officials and carry out terrorist attacks both inside and outside Afghanistan.
Consider this quote from the DOJ news release:
“Haji Bagcho was a prolific and dangerous heroin manufacturer, trafficking in over 123,000 kilograms of the drug in 2006 alone,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Moreover, he used proceeds from his crimes to fund Taliban insurgents and fuel their ongoing ‘jihad’ against the United States and others. The effects of Bagcho’s criminal activity were felt all over the world, and today’s guilty verdict ensures that he will serve a lengthy prison term.”
Elsewhere in that news release, the tonnage of heroin noted above was estimated to have a value of $250 million! Think of the sort of weapons that a quarter of a billion dollars can buy! Think how many officials could be “bought” for that quantity of money!
The news release estimated that the amount of heroin Bagcho's organization produced in 2006 accounted for one-fifth (20%) of the world's heroin production! This is a “good news/bad news” case. It is certainly good that such significant drug organization was dismantled, but the other organizations were producing four times as much heroin as did Bagcho's organization and, now that Bagcho is out of action, it is likely that someone else will simply pick up his share of the drug trade.
The ability for drug trafficking organizations to smuggle their deadly poisons into the United States leads to many crimes- many involving violence and the loss of lives. The money that results from the drug trade funds the same criminal organizations that our law enforcement agencies on the federal, state and local are combating and the same terrorists and insurgents that are being combated by our law enforcement agencies as well as our armed services, especially those valiant members of our armed forces who have been deployed in Afghanistan.
The drugs are clearly making their way into our country. They flow across our land borders and they flow into seaports and international airports across our vast nation. Yet Janet Napolitano continues to chant the same absurd mantra that our borders are secure! How secure is secure enough when narcotics and millions of illegal aliens, including criminal aliens who are engaged in the drug trade and other crimes, can easily enter our country?
On September 28, 2011 The United Nations' Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) conducted a day-long conference on the threats that are currently posed by terrorism. The UN issued a brief report about the conference that was entitled:
“Terrorists linked to organized crime in traffic of nuclear, biological materials – UN”
This excerpt from the report underscores just how vital border security is:
It noted with concern “the close connection between terrorism and transnational organized crime, including trafficking of illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials.”
Urging all to ensure zero-tolerance towards terrorism, it called for urgent action to prevent and combat the scourge by preventing those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories and bringing them to justice.
Member States were also urged to prevent the movement of terrorists, including the supply of weapons, through effective border controls, to ensure that funds for charitable purposes are not diverted to terrorist purposes, to implement comprehensive strategies to address conditions that lead to the spread of terrorism including radicalization and recruitment, and to take appropriate steps to prevent and counter incitement to commit terrorist acts.
“Terrorism is still as potent a threat today as it was 10 years ago,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told this morning’s opening session. “Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives. Repeated attacks have had severe economic consequences and taken a toll on State stability and regional harmony.”
A final thought: While we are bombarded on a daily basis with news reports about the perils of too much salt and too much sugar in our diets and the epidemic of obesity that too many of our children suffer from, there is absolute silence where the other white powders are concerned- cocaine and heroin!
What poses a greater threat to our safety, health and well-being- too much salt or sugar in our food or the tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs being ingested by millions of our fellow citizens including young Americans whose lives will be ruined, if not lost to this epidemic that is ignored in the media and ignored by the administration! Our government should be working tirelessly to slash the demand for narcotics- but the silence is deafening!
As an INS Special Agent, I spent roughly one half of my career assigned to the “War on Drugs.” I spent four years assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA and then ten years, with the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force when I was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent. I am a great believer in the role that law enforcement must play in the interdiction of narcotics. It is obvious that our government is failing abysmally where this important mission is concerned and the carnage is devastating!
The UN is an international organization that welcomes globalism- yet in reading the excerpt from the UNS report posted above, it is clear that the UN leaders clearly understand how vital secure borders are to protecting the lives of people across our planet! Meanwhile, we are continually told by the Secretary of Homeland Security, that all is well and our borders have never been more secure! Once again the real question should be, “How secure is secure enough when the stakes are so high?”
Do you wonder why, out of extreme frustration, I have come to refer to the DHS as being the Department of Homeland Surrender?
A Country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!