The Obama administration is moving to crack down on international criminal networks from Mexico, Italy, Japan, and the former Soviet Union, calling them a growing threat to U.S. interests, McClatchy Newspapers report. Administration officials said the groups are alarmingly sophisticated and powerful, able to corrupt foreign governments and reach across international borders with illegal drugs, money laundering, sex trafficking, and theft.
Potentially worse, the gangs are developing ties to terrorist organizations. One fear: that a criminal network might help a terrorist acquire the materials needed for a weapon of mass destruction. “Organized crime is no longer a local or regional problem. It has become a danger to international stability,” President Obama wrote to Congress. Among new steps, the administration will freeze U.S. assets of the gangs, block members from entry to the U.S., and ask Congress to update racketeering laws to make it easier to investigate and prosecute members. The targeted gangs are Los Zetas, based mainly in Mexico; the Camorra, based in Italy; the Yakusa, based in Japan, and the Brothers’ Circle, based in countries of the former Soviety Union.