U.N. anti-crime official calls cartels massive threat

Warning that the solution to narcotics trafficking must be global in scale, the chief United Nations anti-crime official today began a two-day official visit to Mexico, where tens of thousands of people have been murdered and mutilated in drug wars over the past five years.

“Organized crime and the criminals behind these networks pose a massive threat to the region and are increasingly impacting on other parts of the world,” said Yury Fedotov after a first meeting with President Felipe Calderón in Mexico City, He is U.N. Executive director of the Office on Drugs and Crime. He added:

“These criminals are responsible for the death and misery of people across the globe through their increasingly diversified illicit operations. We have to remember, however, that such violent crimes form part of a much bigger, worldwide picture in which we face a complex and shifting threat. We have to remember that while the crimes are often violently local, our solutions must be global.”

In meetings with Calderón and a number of senior leaders, Fedotov’s will discuss areas ranging from human trafficking and migrant smuggling through to illicit drugs and corruption.

“On too many occasions, it is the citizens who have become victims while attempting to pursue a peaceful existence,” he said of those who are often most affected by organized crime.

Recalling last month’s violence at a casino in Monterrey, where 52 people were reported to have died in an arson attack linked to drug gangs, Fedotov pledged his agency’s continued support to Mexico, noting that its location at the intersection between South America and North America often pits it against criminal groups working to undermine peace and security.

“Tackling organized crime and the criminals behind these networks without international collaboration is futile,” he stressed. “If this is done without considering the wider region, we simply run the risk of having the crime networks relocate to a new country.”

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