SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — Two out of the four Americans who traveled to Mexico last week for reported medical reasons have been found dead after being caught in a deadly shooting and kidnapped by a heavily armed man.
In response to this, the State Department is now renewing its warning for Americans not to travel to Mexico because of a rise in violent crime — one of which was issued for Baja California, with the feds citing both crime and kidnapping.
John Tallman frequently visits San Diego for work but has lived in Cabo San Lucas for the past 17 years and tells FOX 5 he typically feels safe at home, but says recent violence spanned across Mexico has led to these conditions: “…Unsafe, more crowded, more opportunity for the bad guys to pedal their drugs and to do nefarious deeds and whatever it may be,” shared Tallman.
This follows the death of two out of four Americans who were kidnapped by an armed gunman in a Mexico border city Friday, reportedly there seeking medical attention. “Mexico is pretty popular for that kind of stuff, it’s very cheap, if you’ve ever been to Mexico, if you’ve ever been to TJ, you’ll find a pharmacy at every corner,” says traveler Jacob Felix.
The State Department has now issued travel advisories for 30 of the 32 Mexican states following the attacks, six of those states, including Sinaloa, the home of the massive drug cartel of the same name, have a Level 4 “do not travel” advisory issued.
Other states on the do not travel list include Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Zacatecas. Tamaulipas, where unknown gunmen captured four Americans on Friday, also made the list.
Tommy Cox runs a San Diego-based touring company which focuses its destinations on Baja, California. He’s now looking to calm the fears of travelers, especially with spring break around the corner.
“People don’t always need to be afraid, but remember, you’re going into a foreign country, you just have to be aware of what you’re doing and where you’re going. Our border is the busiest port area in the world with 100,000 people crossing back-and-forth every single day. There are a large number of Americans going down there daily, and we feel secure. This is something that doesn’t happen too often.” said Cox.
According to the State Department, an area of concern locally is in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana due to a rise in homicides.
“Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.”
If you are traveling to a high-risk area, the State Department has preparations laid out on their website to help U.S. Citizens prepare for a worst-case scenario, like developing a will, security plan, and plan with family in regard to hostage negotiations.