US Department of State expands travel warning to anyone heading to Mexico

Geneva Matthews
August 24, 2017

Here's what you need to know about the latest Mexico travel warning.

According to the Baja California State Secretariat for Public Security, the state of Baja California experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016.

The advisory issued Tuesday says "turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by USA citizens".

Mexico is also seeing virtual kidnappings, an extortion-by-deception scheme where victims are hotel guests, contacted by phone and threatened into giving phone numbers for friends & family, and then isolated until a ransom is paid.

The warnings come as homicides in Mexico are set to rise to their highest since at least the turn of the century. USA government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which the Department recommends "defer non-essential travel" in this Travel Warning. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted USA citizens based on their nationality.

The new travel advisory doesn't mention the Caribbean resorts of Cancun or Playa del Carmen by name, but covered the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Tulum and several popular tourist destinations.

The warning followed another USA advisory that tainted alcohol at resorts in Mexico may be linked to numerous reports of death, blackouts, injuries and illnesses among American tourists. It says shootings have occurred in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed. Criminals are said to target newer and larger vehicles, but buses and older model sedans traveling from the USA have also been targets for carjackers, who do everything from creating road blocks to hitting cars and running victims off the road. The State Department said US citizens have been the victims of homicide, shootings and kidnapping.

Mexico City, Hidalgo, Guanajuato (includes San Miguel de Allende and Leon), Campeche, Puebla, Queretaro, Tabasco (includes Villahermosa), Tlaxcala and Yucatan (includes Merida and Chichen Itza) do not have advisories in effect.

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