Tester, Hatch, King Introduce Bill to Fight Global Crime Organizations
Senators Crack Down on Criminals Bringing Drugs into the Country
(U.S. Senate) -US Senators Jon Tester, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Criminal Organizations’ Narcotics, Finances, Resources, Operations, and Networks Targeting (CONFRONT) Act. The CONFRONT Act (S. 2715) would establish a long-term, national strategy to disrupt and pursue the financial networks of transnational criminal organizations and their involvement with the opioid trade, drug dealing, identity theft, and other criminal activities.
“Drugs tear families apart and ruin lives,” Tester said. “We must crack down on the criminals who bring meth, opioids and illegal drugs into our country. This bipartisan bill will give our law enforcement the strategies they need to combat Transnational Organized Crime.”
“Transnational criminal organizations are all about making an illegal buck-so much so that $870 billion of illicit capital flows through the global financial system each year,” Hatch said. “The spread of these organizations in human trafficking, cybercrime, identity theft, narcotics, and the escalating opioid crisis is a scourge on our nation. Enough is enough. What our country needs is a clear strategy to hit these criminal organizations where it hurts the most: their pocketbooks.”
“While Maine loses more than one person per day to drug overdoses, transnational criminal organizations are profiting – and in doing so, they’re fueling the most serious public health crisis I’ve seen in my adult life,” King said. “As communities are suffering and people are dying, these organizations are thriving – and that’s simply wrong. We must develop a clear strategy to prevent TCOs from moving the money they value more than human life.”
Fraternal Order of Police:
“We need to attack the ability of transnational criminal organizations to profit from unlawful activity-whether it is money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, shell companies or digital currencies. Simply put, until we can stop the flow of criminal profits to these organized, unlawful enterprises, they will continue to survive no matter how many individuals we arrest and prosecute. Senator Hatch’s CONFRONT Act accomplishes just that.”
Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) generate an estimated $870 billion through various transactions. This money moves through global financial networks and represents 1.5 percent of global GDP-larger than the economies of all but 16 countries.
In recent years, TCOs have become increasingly involved in the illicit opioid trade. While the total number of opioids prescribed in the United States has decreased by 15.8 percent since 2012, the nation has seen a 500 percent increase in the number of opioid-related deaths. This is largely due to the involvement of TCOs in the opioid market, specifically, the sale of highly addictive and dangerous opioid variants such as fentanyl and carfentanil.
In January 2010, the US intelligence community completed a comprehensive review of international organized crime. Their work was published in the White House’s “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime” in July 2011. Currently, there is no statutory requirement to update the strategy. With the ever-changing nature of global crime, it is both timely and essential that we update the national strategy to address the role TCOs play in the opioid trade, drug dealing, identity theft, and other criminal activities.
The CONFRONT Act would require the President to develop a national strategy to combat the financial networks of transnational criminal organizations. The strategy would be developed in conjunction with the Departments of Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The bill requires the national strategy to be updated every two years. This legislation coincides with the President’s introduction of Executive Order 13773 on “Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking,” issued in February 2018.