*

upload_article_image

US-Central America talks focus on drug, migrant trafficking

The U.S. acting homeland security secretary is meeting with officials of Central America and Colombia to discuss fighting drug trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Kevin McAleenan described Thursday's meeting as "one of the most important engagements we have on security collaboration in the region."

McAleenan called for "concrete international actions, investigations and interdictions."

Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan adjust his headphones during a meeting with Central American and Colombia's security ministers, in Panama City, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. McAleenan is in Panama to discuss drug trafficking and migrant smuggling, though he says he isn't seeking any specific agreement during the visit. (AP PhotoArnulfo Franco)

Panama has been the bridge for migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia who enter South America seeking to reach the U.S. border. Panama is also a route for cocaine moving up from South America.

Panama's minister of security said, "We have to put a stop to it."

Rolando Mirones said, "We do not want those people to come through here ... because allowing these people to come through here is sponsoring people who are criminals."

Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, center, and Rolando Mirones, left, Panama's Security Minister arrive to a meeting with Central American and Colombia's security ministers in Panama City, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. McAleenan is in Panama to discuss drug trafficking and migrant smuggling, though he says he isn't seeking any specific agreement during the visit. (AP PhotoArnulfo Franco)

Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, left, and Rolando Mirones, center, Panama's Security Minister speaks during a meeting with Central American and Colombian security ministers in Panama City, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. McAleenan is in Panama to discuss drug trafficking and migrant smuggling, though he says he isn't seeking any specific agreement during the visit. (AP PhotoArnulfo Franco)