WASHINGTON , April 30 (UPI) -- A top official from the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs says that narco-terrorism is spreading into North America.
David Johnson, assistant secretary for the INL, says that the illicit drug trade is directly linked to known terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere and that these groups are employing terrorist tactics to traffic drugs into North America.
Johnson spoke before the Attorneys General of the Americas, who were meeting in Washington. He said that the U.S. government designated terrorist groups are working with Mexican drug gangs to facilitate narco-trafficking, the State Department reported.
"These worrisome links have expanded to North America, and particularly in the case of some Mexican-based drug trafficking organizations," Johnson said in a statement. "They have pushed past intimidation to employ terrorist tactics to enforce their drug trafficking monopolies on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border."
Johnson says the organizations have created a surge in violence that has claimed the lives of hundreds over the last several years and that the "future of democracy in the Western Hemisphere and our own (United States) national security interests are deeply and inextricably intertwined." He called for the strengthening of regional cooperation to fight against the growing threat.