Discussion Paper | February 20, 2008

Narcoterrorism

The annual total income from the drug trade for movements such as al‐Qaeda has been estimated by the U.N. to be 2.4 billion USD.

The manifestations of narcoterrorism are manifold and far reaching: increased drug production; wide spread abuse of drugs; serious drug-related crime; threats to the rule of law, public security, and public health; money laundering; infiltration of the legal economy and financing of terrorism

Over the years, several definitions of “narcoterrorism” have been introduced. The widest definition is given by the Oxford dictionary (1999): “Terrorism associated with the trade in illicit drugs”. It does not indicate whether ideological and political or, criminal and commercial motives are the main driving factors. The simplest way of describing narcoterrorism is, perhaps, as a part of an illegal complex of drugs, violence and power, where the illegal drug trade and the illegal exercise of power have become aggregated in such a way that they threaten democracy and the rule of law.