Application: Drug Trafficking Among Gangs and Organized Crime Groups
Much like the sale of alcohol during Prohibition, drug trafficking, today, takes advantage of a market with high demand for illegal substances-but on a global and more lucrative scale. Unfortunately, the competition among gangs and organized crime groups, to monopolize these markets, contributes to the use of violence to both maintain discipline within the gangs and to intimidate-and even eliminate-competitors. For instance, when the crack-cocaine epidemic hit inner-city areas of the U.S. in the mid-to-late 1980s, there was a huge spike in violent crime. This is due, in large part, to gangs that were fighting to maintain control of selling drugs on their own turf. Violence erupted when other gangs infringed on these demarcated areas.
Today, with international trafficking of heroin and cocaine, gangs and organized crime groups are even more protective of their territory. Any group or person who encroaches on their profits is likely to meet with violence or death. There are recent reports of entire families being murdered as a consequence of an international drug deal "gone bad," when one party double-crossed the other. In this way, drug trafficking is one of the most violent business enterprises run by gangs and organized crime groups.
To prepare for this assignment:
• Review Chapter 3 in your course text, Drugs, Gangs, and Organized Crime. Focus on the role that gangs play in trafficking drugs. Reflect on how drug trafficking contributes to violence.
• Review Chapter 14 in your course text, Drugs, Gangs, andOrganized Crime. Consider how the drug business facilitates violence among organized crime groups.
• Review the article, "The Youth Gangs, Drugs, and Violence Connection." Consider how gang involvement promotes and reinforces the use of drugs and violence.
• Consider the extent to which the involvement of gangs and organized crime groups in drug trafficking contributes to violence.
The Assignment (1-2 pages)
• Explain the extent to which the involvement of gangs and organized crime groups in drug trafficking contributes to violence. Be specific, and use examples to illustrate your explanation.