In the last three decades, three important facts have emerged about the international drug traffic. The first is that it is both huge and growing.
Narcotics are estimated to be worth between $500 billion and $1 trillion a year, an amount, according to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in remarks to a United Nations General Assembly session in June 2003, that is greater than the global oil and gas industry, and twice as large as the overall automobile industry.
The second is that it is both worldwide and above all "highly integrated." At global drug summits such as the one in Armenia in 1993, representatives of the Sicilian Mafia, the
One piece of evidence for this consists in a meeting which took place in July 1999 in southern France near Nice, at the villa in Beaulieu of Adnan Khashoggi, once called "the richest man in the world." Those at the meeting included a member of the Yeltsin cabal in the Kremlin and four representatives from the meta-group, with passports from Venezuela, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Between them they allegedly enjoyed excellent relations with:
1) Ayman al-Zawahiri, the acknowledged mastermind of 9/11 and senior mentor to Osama bin Laden.
2) Soviet military intelligence.
3) the FARC, the Colombian revolutionary group that has become increasingly involved in the drug traffic.
4) the Kosovo Liberation Army, a similarly involved group.
5) (according to a well-informed Russian source) the CIA.