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About Organized Crime

Organized crime, in the U.S. and around the world, is a critical concern of the law enforcement community. The cooperation among these organized criminal enterprises in recent years has allowed them to greatly increase the scope and magnitude of their illicit activities. Our world has seen widespread and unprecedented political, economic, social, and technological changes in the last two decades. Organized criminal enterprises have been quick to take advantage of the opportunities created by these changes to satisfy their greed and lust for power.

The cost to communities and individuals, in terms of pain and suffering caused by the violence and exploitation associated with these organizations, is incalculable. Also the damage to society resulting from these criminal organizations and their influence on labor unions, political institutions, financial markets, and major industries is immeasurable. In fact, a look at the economic impact alone gives a glimpse of the importance of this issue. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Global Organized Crime Project, Financial Crimes Task Force estimates global organized crime reaps profits of close to $1 trillion per year.

The FBI's fight against organized crime is unlike other criminal programs. Instead of focusing on these crimes as individual events, the FBI's Organized Crime Program targets the entire organization responsible for a variety of criminal activities. The FBI has found that even if key individuals in an organization are removed, the depth and financial strength of the organization often allows the enterprise to continue.

The dismantling or disruption of major international and national organized criminal enterprises is an area of FBI expertise. The FBI is uniquely qualified to dismantle organizations because of the experience, training and expertise of its agents in targeting criminal enterprises as opposed to individual criminal acts, the broad Title 18 and Title 21 statutory jurisdictions at its disposal, the FBI's presence throughout the country, and its history as a methodical and thorough investigative agency.

The framework for the FBI's Organized Crime Program is based on four specific criteria:

1) We must employ a methodology that yields maximum impact with our limited counter- organized crime resources;

2) We must pursue targets which have direct ties to significant national and international criminal enterprises and systematically dismantle those enterprises;

3) We must remain flexible enough to pursue regional organized crime groups conducting significant racketeering activity; and

4) We must ensure that our targets are permanently dismantled or significantly disrupted.

The mission of the FBI's Organized Crime Program is to eliminate criminal enterprises which pose the greatest threat to the American society. This mission will be accomplished through sustained, coordinated investigations and the utilization of the criminal and civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Statute, as set forth in the FBI/ Department of Justice, Organized Crime/Drug Enterprise National Strategy. These criminal enterprises include traditional, well-entrenched organizations such as La Cosa Nostra and Italian Organized Crime, Eurasian Organized Crime, African Criminal Enterprises, and Asian Criminal Enterprises.

The Organized Crime Section at FBI Headquarters, in conjunction with field office Executive Management, is responsible for the overall coordination and support of all organized crime investigations. The Organized Crime Section also determines program investigative priorities, assesses training needs, formulates budgets, recommends resource allocation, and conducts liaison and training in direct support of the overall Organized Crime Program.

Through historical investigations and criminal intelligence gathering, the FBI has identified various criminal enterprises which tend to restrict membership to criminals of ethnicity similar to that of current members. Therefore, in order to efficiently and effectively target these identified criminal enterprises, the responsibilities of the Organized Crime Section of the FBI are divided among the following Units:

Each of the FBI's 56 Field Divisions, located in the major cities around the country, has responsibility for investigating criminal enterprises active within its own territory under the guidance of the FBI's national strategy. In addition to Special Agent personnel, the FBI Organized Crime Program utilizes joint task forces with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. These task forces allow the FBI to pool resources of various agencies, taking advantage of the efficiencies of each of these agencies to combat organized crime.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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