Officials: terror groups are joining crime rings

U.S. and European officials say terror groups are becoming more deeply involved in international criminal networks to obtain financing for their operations.

The United States and Europe are co-hosting a conference in Lisbon with African and Latin American countries to improve cooperation on cross-border crime, especially drug smuggling.

President Barack Obama said in a written message to the conference that "terrorists increasingly turn to crime and criminal networks for funding."

Troels Oerting, assistant director of European law enforcement agency Europol, said Tuesday authorities are "relatively sure" that an al-Qaida offshoot in North Africa is involved in smuggling South American cocaine into Europe.