ALERT: State Department issues travel warning for Mexico

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The State Department on Tuesday issued a travel warning to citizens visiting certain parts of Mexico, citing various crimes against tourists.

“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states,” the travel advisory states.

Popular destinations such as Baja California Sur, the state in which Cabo San Lucas is located, and Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located, have seen increased homicide rates in recent months.

Central to any discussion about crime in Mexico is the influence of drug cartels. While the advisory notes that drug-related crimes are typically less common in resort areas, it warns tourists that “gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight,” but that there’s no evidence to show criminal groups in Mexico have targeted Americans based on their nationality.

The advisory does warn citizens to be wary of all checkpoints, most of which are governmental. In certain lawless areas of Mexico, however, the advisory reminds travelers that the cartels have created “unauthorized checkpoints” and have killed or abducted those who haven’t stopped at them. The warning states that Americans “should cooperate at all checkpoints.”

One ominous excerpt from the warning reads: “U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjackings and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. Carjackers use a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, but drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States are also targeted. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. citizens should use toll roads (cuotas) whenever possible. In remote areas, cell phone coverage is limited or non-existent.”

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