US official: Drug traffic may return to Caribbean

By CURT ANDERSON | November 8, 2011 | 6:35 PM EST

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield speaks during a media roundtable on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Miami. Brownfield discussed emerging drug smuggling trends in Central America and the Caribbean. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — A top U.S. State Department official says drug traffickers may return to old Caribbean smuggling routes as law enforcement pressure builds in Mexico and Central America.

Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said Tuesday the Caribbean routes used to ship cocaine and other drugs in the 1970s and 1980s are the most logical for traffickers. Brownfield oversees international narcotics and law enforcement at the State Department.

He says the other options are less attractive for the illicit drug trade. Those include moving more drugs through Brazil and Argentina and using routes along the eastern Pacific coast of Central America.

Right now less than 3 percent of cocaine and other drugs is smuggled into the U.S. through ocean routes. Most comes across the U.S. border with Mexico.