President Barack Obama has signed an executive order imposing sanctions against significant transnational criminal organizations. The order provides the United States with new tools to break the economic power of transnational organized crime and protect financial markets, said the Office of the White House Press Secretary. It will assist the Administration’s efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the criminal organizations that pose a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy or the economy.
As a result of this order, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the significant criminal organizations have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them, the White House explained..
The order names the Los Zetas of México, the Brothers’ Circle in Eastern Europe, the Camorra in Italy and the Yakuza Japanese crime syndicate.
The order also authorizes the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and State, to identify for sanctions any individual or entity determined to have materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, the White House said..
When the president signed the order, the sanctions were imposed on:
• The Brothers’ Circle is a multi-ethnic criminal group composed of leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups largely based in countries of the former Soviet Union but extending to the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Many Brothers’ Circle members share a common ideology based on the “thief-in-law” tradition, which seeks to spread their brand of criminal influence globally. The Brothers’ Circle serves as a coordinating body for several national level criminal networks, which includes mediating disputes between the individual criminal networks and directing global criminal activity.
• The Camorra is considered the largest Italian organized crime group, the Camorra is a loose collection of allied and competing local clans in the province of Naples and the Campania region of Italy. The Camorra operates internationally and is involved in serious criminal activity such as counterfeiting and narcotics trafficking.
• The Yakuza comprises the major Japanese organized crime syndicates, sometimes referred to as “families,” and had more than 80,000 members as of 2008. The Yakuza derives most of its profits from the drug trade, particularly methamphetamine, the most widely abused drug in Japan.
• Formerly the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas is an extremely violent transnational criminal organization based primarily in Mexico. The organization is estimated to have thousands of members in Mexico, Central America and the United States. Los Zetas facilitates drug trafficking into the United States and has relationships with U.S.-based gangs. Los Zetas is specifically responsible for the safe passage of large quantities of illegal narcotics, including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana moving through México and eventually into the United States.