U.S. State Department: avoid travel in several areas of Mexico

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 2/29/2012

While the U.S. and Mexico continue to advance cross-border trucking, Americans are being warned by their government to avoid travel to several Mexican states, including two major states near the U.S. border.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued an updated travel warning for Americans traveling in Mexico. Transnational Criminal Organizations, including drug and human trafficking cartels, have continued to ramp up violence and crime along major routes in Mexico, the warning says.

“As a result, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country and can occur anywhere,” the warning says. “U.S. citizens have fallen victim to TCO activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery.”

The warning goes on to recommend Americans drive only during daytime, avoid isolated roads, and “use toll roads whenever possible.”

The warning points out criminal organizations in Mexico have “erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, and killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should stop at all checkpoints.”

The U.S. Mission in Mexico has prohibited U.S. government personnel and their families from “non-essential” personal travel to areas where a travel advisory is in effect.

The warning says Americans should exercise caution in north Baja California, Mexico, where 34 U.S. citizens were killed last year. Most of the killings were tied to narcotics trafficking, the travel warning says.

Americans should defer “non-essential” travel in Chihuahua, home to El Paso, TX-neighbor Juarez Mexico, which is “of special concern. Ciudad Juarez has one of the highest murder rates in Mexico.”

The state of Sonora, Mexico, located just over the border from Tucson, AZ, is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and “can be extremely dangerous,” the warning says.

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