BOGOTA, Colombia – The top security adviser for Mexico’s next president said Friday that he is recommending the creation of elite units of police and troops who will target not just major drug traffickers but also lower-level cartel hitmen as a way of swiftly reducing violence.

The proposal newly retired Colombian police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo explained in an interview with The Associated Press offers a glimpse of how President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto might fulfill his promise to slash the number of murders and kidnappings by 50 percent during his six years in office.

Similar to the approach that Naranjo employed against Colombian traffickers, the proposal raises the question of whether the widely respected general can reproduce his success in a very different country.

More than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against cartels nearly six years ago.

Pena Nieto has pledged to reduce violence by refocusing law-enforcement efforts away from the heavy reliance on the military to capture drug-cartel leaders and seize their product. He said he wants to better protect ordinary citizens from criminals.

He provided few specifics during his three-month campaign, leading to speculation he would ease pressure on traffickers as long as they throttled down violence.