Gang Involvement with Drugs
Today, in the United States, gangs are becoming more and more violent with each passing day. Research shows that drug gangs and guns are interconnected. Many youths who join such criminal groups are from poor backgrounds and single families since they feel that being part of a gang fills the gap brought about by the incomplete family set-up (O’Deane, 2010). The United States drug market is one of the most violent and profitable in the world. Its street sales are the major source of finances for gangs where a big number of street drug salesmen are their members. Without them, drugs distributed by foreign organizations will not reach the end user.
There are different gang activities that take place at the street level, the mid level, and the major level. The first is largely tasked with the collection of intelligence, such as what gangs control and in which streets they operate. Their drug territory is expanded by violent means. Street gangs use violence for protecting their turf and intimidating their competitors, as well as for retaliation.
A mid-level gang is characterized by poly-drug distribution. In this case, the drug dealer can acquire various quantities of any drug because this level is characterized by a steady and consistent supply of drugs. Gang members often cross boundaries of other gangs’ turf, where individuals may be their rivals. They receive income mainly from the gang, which helps in funding their businesses. At this level, criminal groups have extensive connections in the trade and may have huge property and skilled lawyers.
Gangs at the major level has mapped territories nationally and internationally and have networks for production and distribution of drugs in large quantities. These groups have strong and wide connections, which enable them to smuggle. They are characterized by mistrust as a syndicate, cartel or a gang, do not deal with people they do not know. They own legitimate businesses used to launder large chunks of money (O’Deane, 2010).
It is clear that drugs and gang activities are major threats to any society. Drugs do not only destroy individuals, but also ruin their families. Violence during turf wars has led to many homicides, shootings, and murders of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. Gang members will not be deterred or stopped by anything in order to sell their drugs and make a profit out of it. It is also deadly for users of drugs apart from the obvious dangers of drug abuse. Even in the event when gang members sell drugs to an individual whom they consider a loyal customer, things may turn deadly if the latter cannot pay within a specified period of time. Gang activities have evolved over the years with warring cartels joining forces in order to reap maximum profits from the drug trade. One notable example is when the Aryan brotherhood and the Mexican mafia, who are currently in prison, formed a merger to reap maximum profits. They remain bitter rivals behind bars (Leap, 2012). With the incidences of drugs and gang-related violence on the rise, the Federal Bureau of Investigation created an agency tasked with eradicating the drug and gang scourge affecting the country.
A team of skilled officers with intensive training in antinarcotics wage battle in the streets. They represent the administration tasked with the responsibility of enforcing a drug-free society. To achieve success in their operation, the Drug Enforcement Administration elaborated an action plan, in which they detailed their course of action and ways of ending the drug war. The action plan has numerous steps. The first one is a system that will enable them to detect the problem early, effectively respond to the threat, and assist in detecting drugs and gang emergence. It is to be done through an intensive research aimed to identify trends in the use of new synthetic drugs. They also have to come up with multimedia campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse, as well as ways of overcoming addiction and preventing it in the future. The research also ensures coming up with target prevention programs and examining the use of narcotics as prescription medicines.
The second on the list is providing drug addicts with treatment. The DEA uses the following ways of enhancing substance abuse treatment that include research on how to increase the capacity of synthetic drug use treatment, guidelines for juveniles, and treatment options available for the criminal justice system (Leap, 2012).
The third is the regulation of chemicals and drugs in the states with a higher risk of getting exposed to the drug trade. They are advised to come up with more stringent rules, while online retail websites are urged to ban the sale of precursor chemicals. The regulations also encourage the strengthening of ties with other countries, such as Mexico and Canada. Constant cooperation is enhanced as a viable means of stemming the drug trade and eradicating it.
Law enforcement has come into force as the most important step in the war against narcotics. It includes coming up with more stringent penal codes and considering a new legislation aimed to govern drugs and strengthening control over the Internet sales. The Department of Justice is tasked with elaborating the respective legislation, while the Drug Enforcement Administration has the task of enforcing it. It is to be done through various methods that include preventing the use of the mail service to deliver drugs, and increasing investigation of the Internet and target raves that facilitate the use of drugs (Leap, 2012).
Over the years, the DEA has achieved great success in the war against drugs through their numerous campaigns. One of the latter was against the cartel famously known as La Familia, which had heavy machineries violently used in support of their trade in narcotics. They also used kidnapping, assault and murders to advance their agenda. Ironically, La Familia opposed the sale of crystal meth to Mexicans, and consequentially they smuggled it to the United States of America.
The investigation was nicknamed Project Coronado. It was a multi-agency law enforcement operation that took approximately four months. Statistics was staggering in relation to the agency able to arrest over three hundred individuals scattered in over nineteen states. The operation was successful. The police impounded sixty-two kilograms of cocaine, nine hundred and sixty-seven pounds of marijuana, and seven hundred and twenty-nine pounds of methamphetamine popularly known as crystal meth, one hundred and forty-four weapons, and one hundred and nine vehicles. Two drug labs were also seized in the ground operation that had lasted for two days (O’Deane, 2010).
The American government is constantly working on eradicating the illicit trade and has come up with numerous strategies to combat the drug business. Some of the most notable ones include the introduction of the government program aimed to reduce drug trafficking along the border of Mexico and the United States of America by the Secretary of Homeland Security. He has pledged to increase the collaboration of intelligence between the two nations and technology in order to strengthen security.
The pledge is part of the plan to improve detective measures, through which small vessels and submarines are used by cartels to smuggle hard drugs among countries of the Pacific region. Underground tunnels located at the border and used to smuggle drugs will be detected quickly as the secretary has vowed to double the capacity and is tasked with detecting them. The plan also emphasizes reducing the demand for drugs by the United States of America administration (Covey, 2010). The strategy seems to be working if the recent reports are to be trusted. The government says the number of weapons and drug seizures has increased substantially. Therefore, in order to make the plan more effective, it should intensify cooperation with other countries.