General Douglas Fraser, head of the U.S. armed forces' Southern Command, has warned that Latin American criminal groups are the biggest threat facing U.S. security in the region.
Fraser warned of the increasing presence of·Mexico's cartels within the borders of the United States, reports the Miami Herald, but also drew attention to the increasing violence in Central America.
The general said that Latin America's criminal organizations are involved in a range of crimes in addition to drug trafficking; including arms trafficking, people smuggling, and transporting illicit cash across borders.
The U.S. in recent years has focused much of its efforts in Latin America on leftist rebel groups. Washington has paid out six billion dollars to Colombia in the last decade to combat organizations like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC).