E.D. David M. Luna, participates in Concordia Summit’s 2022 Americas Summit.

Actualizado: 15 jul



As the ICAIE Executive Director, it is a pleasure to participate in, and an honor for ICAIE to co-host with Concordia our extended series to mobilize public-private partnerships to counter illicit economies and related crime convergence and corruption across borders, and in this Summit, in the Americas.

• Let me again thank Concordia for their continued partnership and support for NGOs like ICAIE to bring together leaders from governments and the private sector to discuss transnational security issues that profoundly impact our markets and communities alike.

• Leaders such as those represented in our dialogue this morning. It is a great honor to have with us this morning:

➢ Steve Francis, Acting Director, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), DHS ➢ Dr. Janio Rosales, Minister of Economy, Republic of Guatemala ➢ Gaston Schulmeister, Director of the Department against Transnational Organized Crime (DTOC), Organization of American States ➢ Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Philip Morris International (PMI) ➢ Anthony Zook, Executive Director Product Integrity, Merck & Co., Inc. / Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) ➢ Chad Wolf, President, Wolf Global Advisors, former Acting Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ➢ Ana Linda Solano, Professor and Attorney, Criminal Law and Policy, and former Advisor to Attorney General of Colombia.

• Let me now share some points on the current state of affairs concerning cross-border illicit threats in our hemisphere to help frame our discussion.

• While global communities continue to grapple with the pandemic, inflation, criminal violence, and authoritarian-inspired wars and insecurity, we continue to face complex and evolving threats from a wide range of illicit vectors and bad actors.

• Illicit supply chains and unregulated ports and Free Trade Zones around the world enable cartels and other criminal organizations to transport illegal goods, expand their illicit international trade, export criminality and violence, and launder the revenues of their illegal activities.

• No region is immune from these criminal threats.

• The severity of today’s illicit threats include:

o Narcotics continue to remain the lifeblood of dangerous cartels, violent gangs, and other criminal organizations.

o The flooding of dangerous opioids such as fentanyl are killing too many of our young citizens, while helping to finance greater violence in our communities, be it in Chicago or Miami, Guatemala City, Sao Paolo, Lima, and other cities across the in the region.

o The homicide rates in Latin America and the Caribbean are among the highest in the world with firearms and semi-automatic guns especially from the United States contributing to the violence.

o Corruption, porous borders, and weak institutions create a climate of impunity for criminal activity.

o While Illicit trade was already booming prior to the pandemic, the proliferation of counterfeits has exploded especially personal protective equipment (PPE), fake medicines, and therapeutics during COVID as lockdowns and ecommerce marketplaces made it easier to buy both licit and illicit goods online.

o Criminals continue to prey on the poor and desperate and similarly profit from human trafficking and smuggling.

o And so many other harms further complicate cross-border law enforcement efforts.

• So no wonder that such Illicit Trade and criminalized markets are fueling the global illegal economy.

• In fact - today across hubs of illicit trade and illicit markets, trillions of dollars in dirty money are threatening our prosperity, stability, and the public health and safety of our citizens and communities.

• The United Nations has estimated that the dirty money laundered annually from such criminal activities constitutes up to 5 percent of global gross domestic product, or about $4.5 trillion in 2021.

• As we noted in our new ICAIE publication which is included in this Summit’s materials thanks to Concordia, the inter-connections, and the ripple effects that illicit economies have across other trade hubs, FTZs, marketplaces, and supply chains including the bad actors and threat networks – and their enablers -- behind the illicit trade also become important.

• To strengthen regional security in the region to counter illicit trade including at ports and FTZs will entail effective public-private partnerships.

• Critical will be ways to support inter-regional cooperation to improve maritime and port security to disrupt illicit trafficking and deny transnational criminal groups the ability to operation in the hemisphere and corrupt governmental institutions.







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