The recent arrest of Juan Rodriguez Garcia, one of the leaders of Mexico's Gulf drug cartel, marked a major success for the agencies tasked with tackling drug trafficking in the Americas. But no one is claiming that it will bring an end to the drugs trade and terrible violence which continues to scar the country.

In west Africa, we increasingly look at what is happening in Mexico and its neighbours in Central America with alarm. We know these countries are neither large producers of drugs nor markets for them, but are mainly transit points. But that has not prevented the illegal trade invading and corroding many aspects of their societies.

We view this as a bleak warning to our region. West Africa has also become a major transit point on drug routes from South America to Europe and beyond. While we have so far escaped the bloody violence that scars Central America on a daily basis, the region is experiencing increased criminality, corruption and drugs use. Urgent action from the countries of west Africa and the wider international community is needed if we are not to become another battlefront in the failed "war on drugs".

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