April 23, 2024

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Strongest possible ‘do not travel’ warning for Mexico issued to spring breakers

Strongest possible ‘do not travel’ warning for Mexico issued to spring breakers

Is it safe to visit Mexico for Spring Break? State Department issues strongest possible ‘do not travel’ warning due to threats of ‘crime and kidnapping’ as former US Marshall claims cartels are infiltrating once-safe resorts

  • Six states are under the State Department’s most severe ‘do not travel’ warning 
  • In some popular resort towns, cartels have established close ties with local businesses, enabling them to launder drug money 
  • Widow of public defender who died in Mexico says: ‘Someone did this to him’

Just as Americans begin to pack their bags and catch flights to hit the beaches and bars for spring break, the US government is cautioning all those headed to Mexico to stay out of six dangerous states.

The State Department has issued its highest-tier warning for some parts of America’s neighbor to the south that are run by drug cartels and pose potential threats to American tourists.

The ‘do not travel’ warning has been issued across six of 32 Mexican states due to ‘crime and kidnapping.’

US visitors are cautioned not to travel to areas inside Guerrero, Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

A DJ performs during Spring Break at The Grand Oasis Cancun in 2022

A DJ performs during Spring Break at The Grand Oasis Cancun in 2022

A map highlighting the six of 32 Mexican states that the US State Department currently has listed under its most severe 'do not travel' category, due to local cartels that may rob and/or kidnap American tourists

A map highlighting the six of 32 Mexican states that the US State Department currently has listed under its most severe ‘do not travel’ category, due to local cartels that may rob and/or kidnap American tourists

Robert Almonte, a former US marshal in the western district of Texas, told NewsNation that there ‘is a cartel presence in these resorts,’ some of which have long been considered safe.

Sergio Armando Orozco Rodriguez, also known as ‘Chocho,’ is an alleged member of the Jalisca New Generation Cartel, who extorts local businesses for protection funds in his hometown of Puerto Vallarta, a popular spring break destination.

According to the United States Treasury Department, Chocho and his minions launder drug proceeds through close ties to nightclubs and restaurants along the city’s main strip of businesses.

The cartel is responsible for trafficking a ‘significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States,’ according to the Treasury. 

The Pueblo Bonita resort in Sinaloa, Mexico, where the State Department has issued its most severe 'do not travel' warning

The Pueblo Bonita resort in Sinaloa, Mexico, where the State Department has issued its most severe ‘do not travel’ warning

The US Treasury Department is after Sergio Armando Orozco Rodriguez aka Chocho, an alleged cartel kingpin in Puerto Vallarta, who has made corrupt inroads with local businesses

The US Treasury Department is after Sergio Armando Orozco Rodriguez aka Chocho, an alleged cartel kingpin in Puerto Vallarta, who has made corrupt inroads with local businesses 

A hotel in Zacatecas, Mexico, where threats of crime and kidnapping are high, according to the State Department

A hotel in Zacatecas, Mexico, where threats of crime and kidnapping are high, according to the State Department

A cargo vehicle in flames after clashes between federal forces and armed groups in the city of Culiacan, state of Sinaloa, Mexico, January 5, 2023

A cargo vehicle in flames after clashes between federal forces and armed groups in the city of Culiacan, state of Sinaloa, Mexico, January 5, 2023

Zacatecas is currently considered so dangerous Americans have been instructed by the state department not to travel there

Zacatecas is currently considered so dangerous Americans have been instructed by the state department not to travel there 

A Zacatecas street adorned with Christmas decorations

A Zacatecas street adorned with Christmas decorations

Former US ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne says the practice of money laundering through hospitality services is well established and is a good apparatus for appearing legitimate from the outside.

‘One of the things we’ve discovered about these groups is they may be bad and evil but they’re often pretty smart in finding ways to move their profits around,’ he said.

Of Mexico’s 32 states, just two are currently listed under the State Department’s lowest level ‘normal precautions’ designation – Campeche and Yucatan. 

Quintana Roo, the popular tourist state that includes vacation hotspots like Tulum, Playa Del Carmen and Cancun, currently has a level two ‘exercise increased caution’ warning.

Almonte believes it is time for US tourists to stop visiting Mexico at all until the cartel issue is under control.

‘We’ve had enough. We’re not going to Mexico until you guys get your house in order,’ he said.

Data, however, seems to show no great slowdown in the number of Americans who visited Mexico last year – more than 30million in 2022.