Criminal Justice Professor Writes Book On Organized Crime

As the characteristics of organized crime are rapidly changing in today’s global and hi-tech society, so is the need for information on the complicated issues challenging those who study criminal activity and those who enforce the law.

Sam Houston State University criminal justice professor Mitchel P. Roth has written a new textbook entitled “Organized Crime,” using an interdisciplinary approach from a variety of criminal justice fields to investigate how the forces of globalization, terrorism and technology have impacted the organized crime phenomenon in the 21st century.

“I wrote the book because I found that too many textbooks that are currently available on organized crime were either out of date or too narrowly focused,” Roth said.

In the past, terrorism, white collar crime, and organized crime were regarded and studied as separate forms of criminality.

“The world has changed,” Roth said, “and the distinctions have become increasingly blurred.”

Published by Pearson Prentice Hall, “Organized Crime” is recommended for upper and lower division courses in organized crime and corruption, homeland security, and criminal justice intelligence.

Roth gathered data from government reports, archived research material, newspaper accounts and recent intelligence reports to write the book. He also utilized information from the global contacts he has made as a part-time instructor at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell, N. M.

His most substantial research for the book was on the convergence of terrorism and organized crime, and one chapter explains in depth how both use overlapping networks and participate in similar enterprises.

“Terrorists and criminal syndicates have adopted each other’s organizational and operational characteristics and use many of the same strategies to promote their operations, such as money laundering and secret cells,” Roth said. “Also, they both need weapons, false documents, and safe hiding places.”

Among the examples Roth cites are the correlation between domestic terrorism involving white supremacist groups, narcoterrorism linked to the production of illicit drugs, activities in South America that provide funding for Islamic extremists, and several “what if” scenarios regarding criminals and terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons through organized crime contacts, which Roth said is not likely to happen in reality.

In the book, Roth also writes about the Mafia in America, Afrolineal organized crime, and organized crime in a high-tech world. He also discusses what he calls “homegrown organized crime,” specifically outlaw motorcycle gangs, prison gangs, and urban street gangs.

“I also devote a chapter to vice prohibition in America and what I refer to as the ‘mainstays’ of organized crime — alcohol, narcotics, gambling and prostitution,” Roth said.

Editorial reviews have stated that the book is “appropriate for a wide audience” and keeps “readers engaged as they are confronted with the realities of organized crime…”

Roth has been recognized for his expertise in international criminal justice, terrorism, the history of criminal justice, and organized crime.

He has taught at Sam Houston State University since 1994 and has authored nine other books and numerous articles and book chapters.

“Organized Crime” was released on March 5 and is available on


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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May
May 13, 2009
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