Why is it so hard to arrest a “known” kingpin?

– Xochielt Sanchez

Answer by Jon Mixon:

Multiple reasons, including:

  1. By the time that someone becomes a “kingpin” they are almost always adept criminals – By this, I mean that they have learned to insulate themselves from the majority of criminal activity and their minions are the ones who actually perform those activities.
  2. An actual kingpin can afford some of the best defense attorneys available – This often intimidates prosecutors as their limited resources can be strained in a prolonged battle with a wealthy criminal kingpin. Also, a great defense attorney can delay and defer prosecution for months or years leading to evidence disappearing and witnesses changing their minds or their stories
  3. True kingpins can intimidate or eliminate witnesses  against them – Testifying against a kingpin can be a risky situation for people. The kingpin not only has loyal subordinates who may do anything from threaten to kill you, they can also hire outside “professionals” to do the same. The thought of risking one’s life (or the lives of family members or friends) can be enough to keep people from testifying or cooperating with the authorities.
  4. There are probable links between the kingpin and the authorities and political leaders in many communities – A “smart” crime boss uses bribes, blackmail and extortion to insure that his or her prosecution may prove to be painful or politically disastrous for the power structure where they reign. This often slows investigations down and may actually halt some of them before they lead to indictments and prosecutions.
  5. A kingpin will be almost immediately replaced by another leading criminal – What is never really discussed is that while organized crime is violent, most of its violence centers around its members. Replacing mostly nonviolent criminals who you know with a new lineup of less pragmatic and less intelligent violent ones is often a Faustian bargain.

Why is it so hard to arrest a "known" kingpin?

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