MIAMI ( – The head of the U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami, said the United States has to recognize an increasing threat from transnational criminal groups that have taken refuge across much of Latin America.

General Douglas Fraser made the comments at the University of Miami’s annual Latin America Conference.

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General Fraser said that it’s not just a concern about drug trafficking, but also weapons trade, money laundering, and human trafficking.

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Fraser said none of the Latin American states pose any serious security threat to the U.S., but he said Iran has doubled its number of embassies in the region in recent years and added cultural centers in 17 countries.

Fraser also noted that Hezbollah is also increasing its presence in the region, but it’s primary reason it to raise funds for the parent organization.

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