December 4, 2014 / 12:23 AM / 3 years ago

Honduras, Guatemala establish joint anti-drug force

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras and Guatemala said on Wednesday they will set up a joint military force to battle drug trafficking on their shared border, where Mexico’s powerful drug cartels have driven a surge in violence.

Honduran President Juan Hernandez and Guatemalan President Otto Perez met in Tegucigalpa and agreed to set up the task force, the two governments said in a joint statement.

Mexican cartels have expanded into Central America during the last decade, fueling a spike in violence and corruption.

The gangs have made the region part of the main thoroughfare for South American cocaine moving to the United States, while also building labs there to produce methamphetamine.

Officials did not specify the number of troops that will compose the Task Force Chorti, named for the indigenous group that inhabits the region around the joint border.

Rising violence in Central America, which has made Honduras the murder capital of the world, has help spur a wave of immigration to the United States and a spike in the number of unaccompanied minors seeking to cross the U.S. border.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Richard Chang

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