The United States and the Philippines will step up cooperation in fighting the growing narcotics trade in the region, as the US’ top anti-drug envoy visits the country. Latin American cartels are trafficking growing amounts of cocaine and methamphetamines to increasingly wealthy East Asian countries, US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield said Wednesday, September 4. He said the US was stepping up cooperation with the Philippines, which was both a market and transit point for drugs and sat “at the opening to East Asia for a trafficking organization in Latin America”. Philippine anti-narcotics chief Arturo Cacdac said investigators were looking into the “Mexican” links of a Chinese gang arrested while allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine hydrochloride in one of the Philippines’ poshest housing enclaves in January last year.The 1,800-member Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has seized about 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of illegal drugs this year, he added.
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