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August 8, 2021

The Deadly Toll of Transnational Drug Trafficking and its Impact on NYC

Corruption and Violence Fueled by the Narcotics Trade

The cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl sold on the streets of New York City and in other American cities is produced outside of the United States.  Those narcotics are smuggled into the country by powerful and violent transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) who conspire with U.S.-based criminal networks to meet and stimulate market demands. Billions of dollars in profits are generated each year for international cartels, increasing their capacity to foment violence and weaken institutions in Mexico, and in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. Indeed, the power to TCOs to sow violence, corruption, and suffering is a worldwide phenomenon.

Billions in Profits Reaped from Tragedy in the U.S. and New York City

As the economic power of TCO’s grow, overdoses in New York City and other cities throughout the country are at record levels, violent crime is soaring, and entire communities are being devastated.  In New York City alone, over 1,900 people — an average of five people per day — fatally overdosed in 2020.  That represents more than four times the number of homicides registered in the city last year, and roughly equals the number of homicides and shootings combined.  Nationally, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose by 25% in 2020 to a staggering 93,331.  In New York City, the vast majority of drug fatalities are linked to fentanyl. TCOs produce this potent synthetic opioid in clandestine laboratories, often in Mexico, and sell it in bulk amounts to their criminal counterparts throughout the city and the country at large.

As of July 11, 2021 the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported seizing 806 kilograms of fentanyl, an increase of 236% over 2020. Meanwhile, the number guns seized from the hands of drug traffickers is also on the rise.

Supply Reduction in NYC: SNP’s Local Partnerships.

The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) works to diminish the capacity of TCOs to operate in New York City by targeting and dismantling large-scale distribution networks active in the city.   SNP partners with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the DEA, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), the Department of Homeland Security (HSI), and other taskforces to disrupt the flow of narcotics into the city and to hold high-level traffickers accountable.  

Regional and International Reach of the Office of the Special Narcotics

The work of the SNP’s Office is not only limited to New York City.  SNP also works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and law enforcement agencies in Latin America and in other regions to bring international drug traffickers to justice in New York City courtrooms.  Due to the strong reputation that SNP enjoys internationally, SNP attorneys are often called upon to train and advise prosecutors, judges, and police in countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Mexico in combating organized crime. 

Building and maintaining strong partnership with local, federal and international law enforcement agencies is critical to protecting the public from ruthless organizations whose actions lead to unspeakable suffering, corrode institutions, and ravage communities, both inside of the United States and abroad.