Mexico’s drug cartels pose a clear threat to U.S. national security, Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday as the Obama administration named a drug czar to lead the U.S. fight against narco-trafficking.
Some 7,000 people have been killed in an upsurge in violence between Mexican cartels since January 2008. U.S. officials fear the violence is spreading into the southwestern United States, where there have been abductions and execution-style murders tied to the drug trade.
“Violent drug trafficking organizations threaten both the United States and Mexican communities,” Biden said at a ceremony to nominate Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the country’s new drug czar.
Biden said Kerlikowske, a 36-year law enforcement veteran, would oversee a strategy to improve information sharing, harness new technologies and increase the interdiction of drugs into the United States and guns and cash flowing into Mexico.