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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines the variation in relationships between drug market enterprises and organized crime across different levels of the market, countries, and drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine). For example, marijuana markets in Europe are generally characterized by small organizations with little connection to any but the broadest concept of organized crime. On the other hand, trafficking of heroin in Tajikistan is dominated by highly structured organized crime groups with strong connections to the political system. It may well be that, without central and effective corrupt government involvement, drug markets are likely to be fragmented and competitive. Organized crime dominance probably reflects more generally the failure of government rather than drug market specific factors.

Keywords: Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, corruption, smuggling, career length, organized crime

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