THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ILLEGAL DRUGS AND FIREARMS: A Literature Review Conducted for the Department of Justice
Oscapella, Eugene (July 1998).
In a 1994 interview, Interpol’s chief drugs officer, Iqbal Hussain Rizvi, told Reuters News Agency:
The end of the Cold War had left global terrorism without financiers, prompting the groups to turn to the drug business, he said. . . . “Drugs have taken over as the chief means of financing terrorism. There are no more free gifts from the earlier patrons,” Rizvi said. . . . He said a bloody Kurdish revolt in Turkey was largely financed by money from heroin trafficking. 62
One author discusses the direct political assault by drug traffickers against political authority in Colombia. He concludes, however, that this is not the only threat that they pose to Colombia: “Cocaine trafficking revenue supports violent right-wing militias that terrorize the Colombian countryside and are responsible for a large fraction of Colombia’s murders.” 63
The Sunday Times (London) reported in January 1998 that Loyalist paramilitaries have established contacts with Scottish drug dealers to bring large quantities of cocaine and heroin into Northern Ireland to finance their terrorist activities. 64
The Sunday Times article continues:
In recent years senior figures within the UDA and UVF, the mainstream loyalist organisations, have clashed in a series of local disputes over drugs. They believe a sophisticated network could result in the organisations becoming totally self-financing, rather like terrorist groups in parts of South America.
That would enable them to purchase large consignments of arms if their ceasefires end, or prepare them for a move into the more lucrative drugs scene in Britain if they hold.
“In theory, these organisations could become self-financing in the foreseeable future. That would have serious implications because they would be in a position to buy weapons in much larger quantities,” said a security source. [emphasis added]
In April 1998, an Australian newspaper 65 reported that Australian guns are being swapped for drugs in a growing trade which is arming Papua New Guinean rebels and seeing high-grade cannabis flood the local Australian market:
According to a Federal Police intelligence report, the outlawed weapons are being bought and swapped with Papua New Guineans and other islanders for large quantities of cannabis.
Criminal syndicates in Australia then distribute the drugs along the eastern seaboard.
Recent seizures included a .357 Magnum revolver, pump-action shotgun, pistols, SKK and SKS Chinese assault rifles and hundreds of kilos of cannabis.