This is more than a moment to focus on drug abuse and addiction. It’s a time to connect the dots between the global flow of illicit drugs, violence that destroys communities and even nations the world over, and 21st century challenges, from human trafficking to elephant poaching to transnational crime and corruption. In short: Illicit trafficking doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a web of crime that threatens our security. It’s all connected.
I got my education on this insidious, connected network more than twenty years ago when I investigated and helped uncover a common international infrastructure for transnational crime, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Drugs were at the very center. It was a wakeup call about the clandestine interconnected world of money launderers, drug traffickers, arms merchants, and terrorists. We witnessed just how dirty drug money and narcotics and corruption and violence flow together. It is no less true today. In fact, it is more true. We live in the age of narco-trafficking 2.0 that funds an underworld of evil.
These issues don’t stop at any border. That’s why the men and women of the State Department are on the front lines promoting citizen security in a vastly more complicated world where change is coming at us faster than ever before. We work with our partners to counter sophisticated supply chains that produce, distribute, and market illicit drugs and fuel transnational criminal organizations. And we are committed to sharing our experience and expertise with other countries wrestling with these challenges. Today of all days, we need to plot a national strategy to counter this global scourge.