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General: Drug cartels linked to terrorism

BALTIMORE, March 9 (UPI) -- The head of the U.S. National Guard Bureau said the link between terrorism and drug cartels along the United States' border with Mexico is increasingly clear.

Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, called the National Guard critical in helping protect the United States in the event of a terrorist attack and the growing threat of violent drug cartels operating along the Southwestern border with Mexico, the bureau reported.

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McKinley, who addressed the National Guard's 2009 Domestic Operations Workshop, said the drug cartels in Latin America are clearly connected to organized criminal groups who support and funnel money to terrorist organizations.

"The Southwest border is one of the most critical areas in the nation right now," McKinley said, according to the bureau.

"The nature of the drug cartels along the Southwest border is becoming increasingly menacing, and the linkages between drug cartels through organized crime back to terrorist organizations cannot be disputed."

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