Crime syndicate

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Concept.png Crime syndicate 
An organised group engaged in criminal behaviour

A crime syndicate is a group which carries out crimes, particularly is large scale and/or long lived. Such groups generally seek to operate covertly, may have a public cover and seek to establish a culture of impunity.

Official narrative

Crime syndicates are sworn enemies of police forces, and many nation states have special police units to deal with them. Isolated cases of corruption do exist ("bad apples") but relations between crime syndicates and law enforcement are almost always antagonistic.


The above official narrative is more characteristic of smaller, independent gangs. Where deep state groups have effective control of a government, they tend to have cooperative, sometimes mutually supportive relations with local crime syndicates.[citation needed]

Perhaps the most infamous criminal syndicate in US history, The Mafia, did not have a generally adversarial relationship with the FBI. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI refused to even admit that such a group existed until the intervention of Robert F. Kennedy.[clarification needed][citation needed] The US Deep state outsourced some of the JFK Assassination to The Mafia.[1]

In the 1960s, Scotland Yard were prevented from investigating The Firm, a notorious London syndicate run by the Cray brothers.


Criminal syndicates usually engage in multiple activities, although often specialising in just a few areas.

Deep state groups

Full article: Deep states

Deep state groups are criminal syndicates whose core business is to control national governments. As such, they are of importance to all but the most localised criminal syndicates.

Drug cartels

Full article: Stub class article Drug cartel

The large majority of drugs are trafficked, not as the commercially-controlled media almost invariably suggest[2] by individual drug smugglers or by small gangs, but by cartels which produce and traffic drugs by the tonne. This is generally done with the complicity of the US Deep state (mainly through the CIA in the USA, although with local partners elsewhere).[3]

Intelligence agencies

Full article: Intelligence agency

As they draw funding from national governments, intelligence agencies are not widely regarded as criminal syndicates, and they may only rarely engage in illegal activities.[4] However, they are included in this list since they fit the criteria: they tend to have an unparalleled culture of impunity (almost always de facto, sometimes also de jure)[5], they operate covertly, heavy emphasis on secrecy, often exhibit nepotistic recruitment patterns and establish long term relationships with other crime syndicates.

Legal business

Control of legal businesses is often a very important aspect of some crime syndicates. Money laundering, for example, is greatly facilitated by operational control of banks, although ownership be unnecessary. Gambling or prostitution require premises. Trafficking operations, whether of drugs, people, stolen goods or whatever else are facilitated by control of transport businesses. Any illegal business can benefit from a cover. Intelligence agencies also seek to control commercially-controlled media[6]


Large, long-lived syndicates inevitably attract the attention from governmental bodies such as the police and establish ongoing relationship with them, often mediated by deep state groups or intelligence agencies.

While turf wars and rivalry do erupt between crime syndicates, cooperative relationships are more stable. Historically, a code of silence has often prevailed among criminal syndicates, especially deep state groups, which have a lot to lose should the general public understand the deep patterns of their activities.


The disciplines of compartmentalisation and the need to know basis are best served in the case of limited contact between a pair of criminal syndicates by having one a few, perhaps a single individual to handle relationships. The Integrity Initiative leak revealed various members whose responsibility was liaison or "relationship building". Guy Spindler's other roles are listed as "Govt-NGO relationship building; network and cluster management".[7]


Where inter-operations between crime syndicates are frequent and close the above strictures may not be followed, leading to extensive interdependence. In this case, although separate cover is retained for purposes of misdirection, a de facto merger between formerly separate groups is possible, potentially creating a crisis of leadership.

Perhaps the most important example of merging is the world's intelligence agencies. The Safari Club, coinciding with US President Carter's dismissal of hundreds of CIA agents, began an offshoring process, which moved the de facto CIA off piste, and facilitated a much closer collaboration between the intelligence agencies.



Page nameDescription
Drug cartel
The EnterpriseGeorge H. W. Bush's sprawling criminal network of thousands of people in key positions across USA.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Octopusarticle1999David GuyattAn introduction to the involvement of senior US politicians, bureaucrats and the CIA in globalised criminal activities, the investigation of which cost investigative reported Danny Casolaro his life


  2. By omission: although often remarked upon that the "war on drugs" affects only low or mid level dealers, government connections to high level drug trafficking are a third rail topic
  3. For example, see Cocaine 1 or Cocaine 2.
  4. If only because some state-backed intelligence have a de facto exemption from the legal system.
  5. The only officer punished with regards to the CIA Torture programme was John Kiriakou, the whistleblower who exposed it
  6. Most infamously the CIA's Operation Mockingbird, although the Integrity Initiative leak revealed that group's establishment of "clusters" and its study of social media in perception management.
  7. [[Integrity Initiative/Leak]/4]]