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Organized crime is growing global threat

VIENNA, April 17 (UPI) -- The spread of organized criminal groups has become an escalating threat, the head of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said.

Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC executive director, said Thursday at the opening of a U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice session that transnational criminal groups and drug cartels are expanding their operations around the world. Costa warned that without action from the international community, regions in Asia, South America and Africa could destabilize, the United Nations reported.

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Despite established plans to counter the global organized criminal threat, "implementation has been patchy," Costa said in a statement. "There is almost no information on world crime, and efforts to fight crime have been disjointed."

Costa called on the international community to strengthen cooperation to counter the growing problem.

"Working together does not mean surrendering sovereignty; it means defending it," Costa said.

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