According to a Friday news statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety, officials strongly warn against traveling south of the border this year for spring break, asking Texans to reconsider traveling to Mexico during the popular vacation period and beyond.
Texas authorities have advised residents to avoid traveling to Mexico due to the country’s recent violence. The travel advisory comes just days after the kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico, two of whom were killed.
“Right now, drug cartel violence, as well as other criminal activity, pose a serious safety risk to anyone crossing into Mexico,” stated Steven McCraw, Director of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety. “Given the unpredictable nature of cartel activities and the violence we are witnessing there, we strongly advise everyone to avoid traveling to Mexico at this time.”
Additionally, federal officials asked any American citizen who do not follow their warnings to be sure to register with the American consulate or embassy before traveling. While the travel warning comes at the start of spring break, the Texas DPS says it goes “beyond” the holiday period as well.
According to the US Department of State travel warning on Mexico, “violent crime – like homicide, kidnapping, robbery, and carjacking – is common and widespread” in Mexico. The administration has issued “Do Not Travel” advisories to six Mexican states, notably Tamaulipas, which is where the four Americans were kidnapped recently. They also advise Americans to “Rethink Travel” in seven states in Mexico and to “Exercise Enhanced Caution” in 17 states. Only two states are advised to “Exercise Normal Precautions,” according to the department.
Four South Carolina friends traveled across the border into Matamoros, which is in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, and borders the southernmost section of Texas, on March 3. They were apprehended in the middle of a drug cartel battle and put into the rear of a pickup at gunpoint.
According to Tamaulipas officials, cartel members transferred the victims all through the state after the kidnapping to confound and elude rescue efforts, according to The Daily Wire. Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, both Americans, were killed.
According to the Tamaulipas State Department travel alert, “criminal gangs target both private and public passenger buses, as well as private vehicles going through Tamaulipas, frequently seizing passengers and demanding ransom payments.”
In addition, three women have been missing for about two weeks after apparently coming from Texas to Montemorelos, Mexico, to sell things at a flea market, according to investigators. According to NBC, they entered Mexico on February 24. The FBI stated in a statement that it cannot comment on the “active investigation,” but that it “relentlessly explores all alternatives when it comes to defending the American people, and this does not change when they are threatened across the border.”