Texas authorities are warning Americans, especially those planning spring break trips, to avoid Mexico after the recent uptick in violence that left two dead.
“Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into Mexico right now,” Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a statement.
Lt. Chris Olivarez of the DPS told Fox Saturday that the department was gearing up for spring breakers who might be seeking to cross the border.
“Right now it is too dangerous with the increase in violence and kidnappings that are taking place in Mexico,” Olivarez said, adding, “I can’t stress enough to those that are thinking about traveling to Mexico, especially for spring breakers … to avoid those areas as much as possible.”
The State Department has also issued a level four travel advisory — its most severe — to avoid four Mexican states.
In the latest disturbing incident, two sisters from Texas and a friend who crossed the border into Mexico last month to sell clothes at a flea market have not been heard from in about two weeks, authorities said Friday.
The FBI said it was aware sisters Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, Marina Perez Rios, 48 and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, have gone missing.
The sisters are from Peñitas, a small border city in Texas near McAllen.
The women were said to be traveling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, about a three-hour drive from the border.
News of their disappearance came a week after four South Carolina residents were kidnapped in broad daylight in Matamoros on March 3.
They had traveled to Mexico so one of them, 35-year-old Latavia “Tay” McGee, could get a tummy tuck.
McGee and Eric James Williams, 38, were found four days after they were grabbed off the street, injured but alive in a shack east of Matamoros.
They were taken to a medical center in Brownsville, Texas.
Their two friends, Shaeed Woodard, 33, and Zindell Brown, in his mid-20s, had been shot dead.
A 33-year-old Mexican woman caught in the crossfire during the kidnapping was also killed.
Six people have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murders.
The Scorpion group of the region’s Gulf cartel turned over those they felt were responsible along with an apologetic note that said the five accused kidnappers “acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline” when they ambushed the victims.
Olivarez said the cartel’s move to give up its own members was simply a way to divert attention from the organization.
“In most cases, when these tragedies take place, no one’s left alive,” he said.
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