Revisiting the Crime-Terrorism Nexus in the Tri-Border Area

Published April 11, 2012 | By Felipe Umaña

Along with its increasing economic and environmental value, the Tri-border region has also risen in relevance after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as an area attractive to global terrorist organizations. The region is largely ungoverned due to weak, inadequate, or ignored laws. A myriad of shadowy black markets, pirated CDs, stolen cars, falsified documentation, and trafficked humans – among other commoditized “goods” – all pass through this region either completely undetected or with tacit acceptance from the local governments. Money laundering and tax evasion also form part of the colorful gamut of illegality that runs rampant in what a reporter has termed as “a terrorist’s paradise.” High rates of violence and petty crime also plague the region, and exist in tandem with poor money laundering controls and low government preparedness. All of these activities occur under the purview of corrupt officials, whose expanse throughout the governmental establishment lends continued permanence to the activities in the region.

The Crime-Terrorism Nexus: Risks in the Tri-Border Area

Published May 1, 2009 | By Patricia Taft, David Poplack and Rita Grossman-Vermaas

existing regional criminal networks in the Tri-Border Area have the potential to facilitate acts of WMD terrorism through: formal and informal financial networks, communications infrastructure, the provision of safe havens and identity “laundering,” and tested routes for the smuggling of personnel and materials throughout the hemisphere. Therefore, the Tri-Border Area may offer a rich enabling environment that could support a WMD terrorism scenario anywhere in the world—one characterized by corruption; gaps in the capacities of state intelligence, border security, and immigration control services; large legitimate economies and trading networks; sophisticated nuclear technology and expertise; and the presence of transnational criminal networks that overlap with the membership and activities of radical movements and terrorist elements.