Transnational Crime Organization Report Outlines “Serious Threat to California”

The state's wealth, innovation and location are attractive targets for transnational criminal organizations, the attorney general says

California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday released a report on transnational organized crime organizations and what she called a "serious threat" to a state with the wealth, innovation and location that such groups target.

Harris discussed the report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, at a mid-day news conference. Crimes addressed in the report include drug, weapons and human trafficking, money laundering and tech crimes -- the "three emerging pillars" of transnational criminal groups.

"California is uniquely impacted," Harris said. "We're an attractive target because of our location, our size and because we play a central role in the digital economy."

"We can look at this issue of technology. It's created right here in our back yard. There are people who focus on California and California consumers."

The report comes a week before Harris joins other state attorneys general for meetings with officials in Mexico about what she describes as a "serious threat to California." The officials plan to discuss how they can work together to coordinate prosecutions of transnational crimes and share information.

During Thursday's news conference, Harris said the report points out that transnational crime organizations traffic more guns and drugs in and out of California than any other state. Mexico-based organizations traffic 70 percent of methamphetamine that enters the United States through San Diego, according to the report.

"Sometimes, they'll bring to raw materials to California and set up shop here, then produce it here and sell it all over the country," Harris said, adding that the raw materials are less expensive to obtain in Mexico.

California also remains a top destination for human trafficking, Harris said. In many cases, the criminal organizations are using the same routes for human trafficking as they do for drugs and guns, according to the report.

The report offered several recommendations, including a unified task force to combat smuggling operations off California's coast and funding for five additional special operations units in California.

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