The term narcoterrorism was coined in 1983 by Peru's president Belaunde Terry to describe attacks on the anti-narcotic police in that country. Even as use of the word has spread, experts are arguing about its definition. Some claim that narcoterrorism designates too broad a range of activities to be definitive for a particular form of terrorism. This entry will consider narcoterrorism to mean forms of terrorism that are linked to the production of illegal drugs, either through (a) the use of drug profits to fund political violence or (b) the use of violence and terror to protect and preserve illegal drug production.

These two purposes may overlap: a group using illegal drug profits to fund an armed political campaign will need to preserve the lawlessness and atmosphere of fear necessary for large-scale illegal drug production. Any large drug trafficking group will also need to ...

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