State Department Issues Strongest ‘Do Not Travel’ Warning Ahead of Spring Break

As American college students prepare to travel to Mexico for a spring break to remember, the State Department is warning them it might turn into something they will want to forget. The State Department has issued an upgraded travel advisory for Mexico, warning that six states in Mexico should be avoided at all costs. Americans are being warned against travel to Guerrero, Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas states. The State Department says travelers should worry about crime and kidnapping in five of those states, citing Guerrero state as a hotspot only for crime. The warning for Colima state noted that “Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations.  Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed bystanders.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.” LPRs is the acronym for lawful permanent residents. When writing about Tamaulipas state, the advisory said travelers should be warned that “Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria.” “Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments. Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo. In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capacity to respond to incidents of crime,” the advisory said. Kidnapping and/or crime were also cited as reasons to “reconsider” travel to a number of other parts of Mexico, while others where travelers were urged to “exercise increased caution.” For example, in Baja California, the advisory warns that “Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations.” [firefly_poll] “Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping,” the advisory warned. By the time the travel advisory was through, only Campeche and Yucatan states escaped being hit with warning labels. According to KTTV-TV, Treasury Department officials have slapped an additional warning on the Puerto Vallarta area, which often attracts vacationers, due to the activities of Sergio Armando Orozco Rodriguez, also known as “Chocho,” who is allegedly part of the Jalisca New Generation Cartel. Robert Almonte, a former U.S. marshal based in Texas, said Americans should stop visiting Mexico entirely until the nation curbs its powerful and violent drug cartels, according to NewsNation. “We’ve had enough. We’re not going to Mexico until you guys get your house in order,” he said. Almonte said drug cartels are often an integral part of resort communities. “There is a cartel presence in these resorts,” he said. “They’re not going to have their name on there. They’re going to other individuals that have interest in the companies already and I think one of the main reasons is to launder their money,” he said. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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