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Transnational organized crime (TOC) groups are self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate, wholly or in part, by illegal means and irrespective of geography. They seek power and profit, and will typically engage in a multitude of schemes in order to obtain it. This can include smuggling (drugs, weapons, people, wildlife, cultural property, etc.), money laundering, illegal gambling, theft (cargo, art, intellectual property, etc.), extortion, and fraud. Their global reach and extensive networks enable them to control vast sums of money, to the point that they can compromise legitimate economies. Through the corruption of public officials, they can have a direct impact on governments.

With the increase of technology available around the world, TOC groups are more commonly incorporating online techniques into their illicit activities, either committing cyber crimes or using cyber tools to facilitate other unlawful acts. Phishing, Internet auction fraud, the business email compromise and advanced fee fraud schemes allow criminals to target the United States without being present in the country. Technology also enables TOC groups to engage in traditional criminal activity, such as illegal gambling, but with a greater reach through use of the Internet and off-shore servers, thus expanding their global impact. TOC poses a significant and growing threat to national and international security with dire implications for public safety, public health, democratic institutions, and economic stability across the globe.

Due to the transnational nature of these criminal enterprises, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) leverages political and law enforcement relationships domestically and abroad, as well as private sector partnerships, to combat the influence and reach of these organized crime groups.

To learn more about the FBI’s role in dismantling Organized Groups, please visit the FBI’s website and look for “Criminal Investigative Division” and topics: “Organized Crime” and Violent Crime.” More information is made available to you on who these groups are, their history, and how the FBI is moving forward to address the problem and stay ahead of the threat.