US sees Carribbean as soft target for drug trade

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he is concerned that drug trafficking routes will migrate to the Caribbean, which could become an easier target than Mexico or Central America.

Gates met Friday with leaders from seven Caribbean islands in a bid to re-enenergize U.S. partnerships in the region. The U.S. is spending $45 million this year to help Caribbean nations improve security and establish social programs aimed at discouraging the drug trade.

St. Kitts and St. Vincent are seen as particularly vulnerable, in part because of government corruption.