US official backs Guatemala's fight against drugs, corruption

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield speaks during a press conference on March 3, 2016 in Guatemala City

The United States on Monday lent weight to fighting drug trafficking and corruption in Guatemala with a visit by a State Department official focused on those issues.

William Brownfield, US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on those topics, Morales' government and the US embassy said.

The talks were off-limits to reporters, and no details were released.

The US embassy said on its Twitter feed that Brownfield ratified US support for Guatemalan efforts to fight corruption and terrorism.

Guatemala, with neighboring El Salvador and Honduras, is prey to gangs and drug cartels.

Violence and poverty in those countries are the main motivation for mass emigration to the United States, usually without visas or documentation.

The United States estimates that 90 percent of the cocaine consumed on its territory passes through Central America and Mexico.

The US government has in recent years donated vehicles to Guatemala's police and armed forces to fight drug trafficking.