MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Texas' attorney general on Thursday pledged his full cooperation with Mexican law enforcement to combat drug violence that has killed hundreds south of the U.S. border this year.
Attorney General Greg Abbott met with top Mexican officials in Mexico City to explore ways to stop the violence between feuding drug gangs that has killed more than 170 people in towns south of Texas this year.
"Dozens of people are dead because this drug war has spiraled out of control," Abbott told reporters. "If we fight crime only on one side of the border, the criminals simply shift to the other side."
Abbott spoke to reporters after meeting with Mexico's attorney general, Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, and officials including the governor and attorney general of northern Tamaulipas state.
Violence in northern Mexico has soared this year as cartels from the western state of Sinaloa battle local Gulf cartel rivals for control of the lucrative cross-border cocaine, marijuana and amphetamine trade.
Earlier this year, the U.S. government called on Mexico to combat violence on the border, and twice warned U.S. citizens about travel to cities south of the Rio Grande. Mexico told Washington to stay out of its affairs.
Abbott expressed particular concern for security in Nuevo Laredo, south of Laredo, Texas, where 87 people have been murdered this year and some 30 U.S. citizens have been kidnapped since last August.
"We want to do everything we can to eliminate violence ... and keep residents of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo as safe as possible," he said.
Abbott said Texas has allocated $5 million to improve law enforcement communication in border communities since the crisis in Nuevo Laredo began last year, including $1.2 million for the Laredo area.
Governors from states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border are meeting in the Mexican town of Torreon on Thursday and Friday. Crime and border security are high on the agenda.