CANCUN, Mexico (AP) - A top U.S. State Department anti-narcotics official said Thursday that Colombia's leftist rebels and the Taliban are among the world's largest drug-trafficking organizations.
Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said drug-trafficking organizations have aligned with political and ideological movements in recent decades.
He cited the followers of Osama bin Laden and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as examples. Brownfield said that although the two groups don't exist for drug trafficking, it can no longer be considered separate from their political and ideological goals.
Brownfield addressed representatives of more than 100 countries at the annual International Conference for Drug Control, a three-day event that closed Thursday in the Caribbean coast resort of Cancun.
Participating countries agreed to improve information-sharing procedures and implement joint strategies and planning in the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and gunrunning.
In a speech at the conference, Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized what he called "inconsistencies" and "incongruencies" in the fight against drugs, among the availability of weapons.
"A restrictive policy against drugs cannot succeed if (restrictions on) the weapons market are loosened," he said.
Mexico has long demanded the United States crack down on cross-border arms smuggling that fuels drug violence. More than 34,000 people have died in drug-related violence during the four years of Calderon's anti-drug offensive.