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Russian Organized Criminals Tied to Colombian Drug Traffickers, Says FBI Director


November-December 1997

Russian organized crime networks are joining forces with Colombian drug cartels, and threatening U.S. national security, said FBI director Louis Freeh before the House Committee on International Relations (Douglas Farah, "Russian mob, drug cartels joining forces," Washington Post, September 29, 1997, p. A1; Douglas Farah, "Free says Russian mafias pose growing threat to U.S.," Washington Post, October 2, 1997, p. A18; Tod Robberson, "Russia criminals aid Colombia drug lords," Dallas Morning News, October 9, 1997, p. 1A).

In exchange for drugs, the Russian gangs are reportedly supplying the Colombian cartels with weapons, intelligence-gathering equipment, and criminal expertise. Authorities said that the alliance has created a more formidable Colombian drug threat that is now global. Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), Chairman of the committee, said, "What all this tells us is, in the interests of global business, these groups will soon cross a threshold of compartmentalization, will begin merging and are working jointly with one another. Its sophisticated and highly disciplined managers view crime as an investment, indeed, an export commodity."