Mexico travel warning: U.S. urges citizens to avoid 5 Mexican states

(USA TODAY) — The State Department has issued a new, strict “do not travel” advisory for U.S. citizens regarding five Mexican states because of violent crime and gang activity.

While the State Department has long recommended travelers exercise “increased caution” in Mexico in general because of widespread homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery, the new warning elevates the five states to level 4, the highest level of potential danger.

The advisory, issued Thursday, puts the states of Tamaulipas on the U.S. border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero on the Pacific coast on the same level as war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

The states have long been plagued with drug cartel activity like trafficking routes or the cultivation of drug-related crops.

Turf wars between rival drug cartels have torn apart Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa is home to the cartel of the same name. Michoacan was so dominated by a drug cartel that vigilantes took up arms in 2013 to drive them out.

Homicides skyrocketed in Colima in recent years due to the growth of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, and the state now has Mexico’s highest homicide rate, with 83.3 killings per 100,000 residents, according to figures from the first 11 months of 2017.

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