Executive Briefings

When the Supply Chain Breaks Bad: Drug Trafficking with Your Corporate Assets

Hiding illicit drugs and money among an otherwise legal freight move greatly reduces the risk for criminals working in the multibillion-dollar drug trafficking business. John Murphy of the DEA discusses what makes companies vulnerable and how to protect corporate assets.

Drug trafficking is very big business, generating around $420bn a year, says Murphy, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration. "Some trafficking organizations have their own transportation assets, but why take the risk if they can run the drugs through a legitimate supply chain?" he asks.

Criminals often get their foot in the door by corrupting an employee, Murphy says. "For example, they may offer a commercial driver $10,000 to conceal and transport a single shipment." The real risk for companies, however, comes when more than one employee, even supervisory personnel, get involved. "Then you have a drug culture," he says, and with access to packaging and labeling it becomes much easier to conceal illegal products and money.

The most vulnerable companies are those where the leadership is not really engaged and not asking the right questions, says Murphy. "Worse yet, they may be turning a blind eye to unethical practices, which breeds a climate that makes it easier to cross the line. Consequently, the most important guard against such activity is an engaged leadership with strong core values."

Also important is a robust security and risk management program, says Murphy. "Risk management and security should work closely with your strategic business units to honestly assess risks and raise awareness of issues, and this includes a hard look at employee drug use," he says.

To view the video in its entirety, click here

Drug trafficking is very big business, generating around $420bn a year, says Murphy, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration. "Some trafficking organizations have their own transportation assets, but why take the risk if they can run the drugs through a legitimate supply chain?" he asks.

Criminals often get their foot in the door by corrupting an employee, Murphy says. "For example, they may offer a commercial driver $10,000 to conceal and transport a single shipment." The real risk for companies, however, comes when more than one employee, even supervisory personnel, get involved. "Then you have a drug culture," he says, and with access to packaging and labeling it becomes much easier to conceal illegal products and money.

The most vulnerable companies are those where the leadership is not really engaged and not asking the right questions, says Murphy. "Worse yet, they may be turning a blind eye to unethical practices, which breeds a climate that makes it easier to cross the line. Consequently, the most important guard against such activity is an engaged leadership with strong core values."

Also important is a robust security and risk management program, says Murphy. "Risk management and security should work closely with your strategic business units to honestly assess risks and raise awareness of issues, and this includes a hard look at employee drug use," he says.

To view the video in its entirety, click here