(CNN) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. can do more to help Mexico battle drug cartels that have started operating more like terrorists and insurgent groups.
"It is one of my highest priorities," Clinton said Friday during a speech in San Francisco at the nonpartisan Commonwealth Club. "This is one of the most difficult fights that any country faces today. We saw it over the last couple of decades in Colombia."
"We are watching drug traffickers undermine and corrupt governments in Central America, and we are watching the brutality and barbarity of their assaults on governors and mayors, the press, as well as each other, in Mexico," she added.
Clinton said the U.S. can do more than sending the Blackhawk helicopters it promised Mexico.
She said the U.S. is helping Mexico create an anonymous tipline to report drug cartels. However, she said, it can also help Mexico rebuild its criminal system and train its police force.
She likened recent drug cartel violence to terror groups.
"For the first time, they are using car bombings," Clinton said. "You see them being much more organized in a kind of paramilitary way."
Clinton's remarks come the same week she discussed the U.S. effort to find David Hartley, an American believed to have been shot by drug bandits on the border of Mexico and Texas.
The United States is "supporting local law enforcement, supporting the authorities on the border, doing everything that we know to do to try to assist in helping to find the body and helping to find the perpetrators," she said.
Hartley is reported to have been shot during a September 30 boating trip by gunmen investigators believe are linked to a Mexican drug gang.