1. United States$625.63 Billion

    Black Market Crime in the United States

United States Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the United States black market. Intelligence and security data collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

According to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board, over 1,000 tonnes of marijuana is seized by United States security agents along the US / Mexico border each year.

The marijuana seized by US customs represented 94 percent of all marijuana seized around the world in 2013.

Back in 2010, law enforcement officials estimated that the US black market in marijuana was worth $41 Billion.

(See the price to buy a gram of marijuana around the world.)

Source:  AFP, “Mexico’s drug cartels adapt to US pot legalization,” Yahoo News, March 7, 2015.

Economics and tax officials in Puerto Rico estimate that the territory fails to collected an estimate $800 Million in tax revenue from due to unreported income each year.

The island currently has a 7 percent sales tax that residents avoid through the use of cash transactions.

According to data from the US Treasury, over 80 percent of self-employed people in Puerto Rico claim on taxes that they earn less than

$15,000 per year. 69 percent of sole business proprietors report earnings that are below $11,000 a year.

37 percent of corporations report losses.

In total, financial intelligence officials estimate that the underground economy (excluding drug trafficking and criminal activities) in Puerto Rico is worth $16 Billion.

(Key statistics about money laundering.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Puerto Rico fights tax evasion as it seeks new revenue sources,” Star Tribune, March 8, 2015.

At the start of 2015, media reports place the average ransomware demand to be $500.

This figure is based upon several public sources.

The first source is based upon a writer in the New York Times who stated that her mother was a victim of ransomware. The authors mother had her computer locked up based on CryptoWall. After encrypting the computer, the malware demanded $500 to be paid by Bitcoins release the hold. If the amount wasn’t paid by the end of the week, then the demand would increase to $1,000.

The second source is from a report by The Economist. In its article, the magazine reports that the average ransom has fallen from $800 several years ago. It uses examples of extortion victims who paid $644 (€510) in Italy, and a sheriffs office in Tennessee that paid $572 to recover thousands of files that were encrypted. The Economist also states that between August and December 2014, around 16,000 people paid $7 Million (8 Million Australian Dollars) after their computers were encrypted with ransomware.

The owner of the Bitcoin wallet that received the ransom in Italy received up to $109,400 worth of bitcoins in following 8 days after the ransomware was discovered.

Source:  Alina Simone, “How My Mom Got Hacked,” New York Times, January 2, 2015.

Source:  “Your money or your data,” Economist, January 15, 2015.

According to a report by the United Nations, an estimated $6.6 Million was made in 2010 by human smugglers bringing in illegal migrants to the United States.

The revenue was generated by migrants paying anywhere between $150 to $100,000. The fees charged by the smugglers was dependent on the immigrants country of origin. Charges covered everything needed for the journey, such as hotel stays, bribes and taxes paid to the drug cartels.

The United States Border Control apprehended 57,000 unaccompanied minors trying to illegaly enter the United States between October 2013 and June 2014.

(More human smuggling statistics.)

Source: Associated Press, “Migration Spotlights Mexican ‘Coyote’ Smugglers,” ABC News, July 21, 2014

Security and intelligence officials in Russia estimate that over $700 Million worth of crab is illegally fished and poached from its waters each year. Most of the boats that poach crab from Russian waters are registered in Cambodia or Sierra Leone with its crew being from Russia. Most of the illegally caught crab is transported to Japan and South Korea.

Fishermen in Alaska also report losing sales due to illegal fishing of crab. The trade group in the state reports that at least $560 Million was lost over the past decade due to illegal crab poachers undercutting their prices.

Source: Stephanie May Joyce, “Searching for the Russian Crab Mafia,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 19, 2014.

A man from Myanmar told a reporter from the Associated Press that he was sold by a human trafficking broker to a Thailand fishing boat for $616. The man originally thought that he was going to work on the boat for 6 months, yet ended up working for over a year. During the time, the Burmese man stated that he slept for 3 hours a night.

The seafood industry in Thailand employees 2 million people and is constantly facing a labor shortage. Many Thais do not want to work on the fishing boats where the wages are low, the job is dangerous, and many boats are at sea for months and even years. To meet this shortage, an estimated 200,000 migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar are working on the boats. A 2013 survey of 600 workers conducted by the United Nations found that almost none had signed a labor contract and about 40 percent had their wages cut without explanation.

Nearly 6 out of 10 migrant workers on Thai fishing  boats reported seeing a co-worker killed by the captain, according to a 2009 UN report. The man who was sold by traffickers told the AP that after a sick man died on the boat the captain simply tossed the body overboard.

The fishing industry in Thailand exported nearly $7 Billion worth of seafood in 2013. Most of the seafood was exported to Japan and the United States.

Source:  Associated Press, “Thailand’s Rampant Trafficking May Carry Price,” ABC News, June 13, 2014.

A reporter with the New York Daily News was bought a fake New York ID card in 90 minuets in Roosevelt Avenue in the NYC borough of Queens.

The reporter paid $10 for her picture to be taken, and the $150 to receive the fake id card.

(Prices of fake online degrees.)

Police and other security experts in the city  state that the area of Roosevelt Ave. in Queens is considered to be a hotspot for counterfeit ids, fake green cards and fake passports. According to data released by the Queens District Attorney’s office, there were 273 arrests for creating of possessing fake id documents such as green cards, Social Security cards and fake passports. In 2013, there were 250 arrests. In the first 5 months of 2014, police arrests 130 people for fake documents.

(See more prices of fake ids for sale.)

Source:  Corinne Lestch, “Daily News reporter easily snags fake ID in Queens hotspot for phony documents,” New York Daily News, May 31, 2014.

Security agencies in China confiscated 976,500 metric tons of illegal waste materials that was in the process of being smuggled, according to the Customs Department. The amount of waste material seized in 2013 was 150 percent higher than in 2012.

The illegal waste was intercepted over the course of 221 cases, a threefold increase from the number of cases in 2012.

The solid waste materials that were caught included both recyclable and non-recyclable materials, such as discarded steel and iron, coal slag, chemicals and electronic waste, building materials and medical waste.

Security officials stated that most of the waste was being imported into China from foreign countries such as the United States, Europe and Japan. The waste is smuggled into China through large shipping containers, which are not properly declared on customs forms.

Source:  Zhang Yan, “Solid waste smuggling sees threefold rise,” China Daily, May 27, 2014.

According to security officials with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, around 500 people are arrested each year for attempting to cheat at casinos in the state of Nevada. Out of the total number of arrested, nearly a third of those arrests are casino employees.

Security experts stated that increased video technology and ultraviolet and infrared light are creating new opportunities for cheaters in the casinos. There have been cases where gamblers would wear infrared contact lenses in order for the wearer to see marked cards.

(More on illegal gambling and betting here.)

Source:  Bethany Barnes, “Casino gaming cheats are increasingly sophisticated, panelists say,” Las Vegas Sun, May 22, 2014.

A sworn affidavit by a special agent with Homeland Security stated that gangs in Boston, Massachusetts are turning away from drug dealing and are increasing its activities in the human trafficking and prostitution markets due to its profitability.

Several experts interviewed by the Boston Herald stated that prostitution is currently the number one way for gangs to make money, surpassing drug trafficking and drug sales.

According to Homeland Security, gangs in the Boston area force girls to service clients as prostitutes and impose daily quotas of $200 to $1,000. These women who are forced to work as prostitutes are able to continually make money for the traffickers, as opposed to a one time sale for drugs.

(Latest human trafficking statistics.)

The rise in human trafficking and prostitution activities has increased in Massachusetts are the enforcement of prostitution offenses has declined. Back in 1995, there were 2,835 arrests across Massachusetts for prostitution related crimes. In 2012, the number of arrests had fallen to 944.

(See all prostitution statistics here.)

Source:  Bob McGovern, “Feds: Flesh funding gangs,” Boston Herald, May24, 2014.