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U.S. State Department warns to avoid parts of Mexico over ongoing violence, kidnappings

A woman and two girls run along the water edge on a beach, with more people and small boats visible behind them.
State Department officials are advising U.S. citizens to reconsider traveling to several Mexican states, including Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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The State Department is urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to parts of Mexico over fears of kidnappings and other crime across multiple states, renewing warnings as tourists make travel plans for spring break season.

The department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued multiple advisories in the last several weeks over the ongoing violence in Mexico. Cartel violence erupted in Culiacan in early January after authorities arrested Ovidio Guzmán, a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

A State Department spokesperson said the safety and security of U.S. citizens is the department’s highest priority, adding that officials are aiming to provide relevant information for people to make travel plans. Rather than issue a nationwide risk assessment for Mexico, the department provides a state-by-state summary.

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State Department officials urged U.S. citizens to not travel to the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas over crime concerns.

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The six states have received the strongest warning from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, which cited shootings between gangs that injured or killed bystanders, and kidnappings in which tourists and lawful permanent residents or “green card” holders were targeted.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs issued its last countrywide advisory on Mexico in October and subsequent advisories on individual Mexican states in recent weeks. Officials advise U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora due to crime and kidnapping.

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Last month, Orange County public defender Elliot Blair died while on vacation at a resort in Rosarito in the state of Baja California. His family believes the 33-year-old was killed under mysterious circumstances, while Mexican officials have called his death an accident.

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U.S. officials also ask tourists to exercise increased caution when traveling in 17 Mexican states, including Quintana Roo, which is home to the popular tourist destination Cancun. There have been disputes in the state between Uber and Cabify drivers and taxi unions, which have turned violent and injured U.S. tourists, according to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico.

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