The US government is warning Americans against travel to Mexico in the wake of a deadly kidnapping near a US-Mexico border town.
As a spring break approaches for many in the US, the State Department issued its sternest warnings — a Level 4 travel advisory — for six Mexican states, including Tamaulipas — where the abductions occurred.
While some of those regions had been flagged as dangerous since October, the travel alerts were re-issued after four Americans were kidnapped last week.
Eric James Williams, of Winston-Salem, NC, was among the Americans snatched during a cartel shootout in the border city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, on March 3.
By Tuesday, Williams, 38, and Latavia “Tay” McGee, 35, were found in a shack in an area east of Matamoros and were rushed back to the US for medical care in Brownsville.
Their two friends, Shaeed Woodard, 33, and Zindell Brown were killed.
While the motive is unknown, Mexican authorities are not ruling out the Americans could have been targeted due to drug trafficking.
The four South Carolina residents told their families they made the journey south of the border so McGee could undergo a tummy tuck procedure.
The Mexican states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas are listed as “do not travel” zones due to kidnappings or crime, the US government maintains.
Four US citizens from South Carolina were abducted in Matamoros
“Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico,” the US Department stated. “The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted.”
Seven other states were slapped with “reconsider travel” labels– including Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora.
The rest of Mexico is considered safe so long as tourists exercise caution while traveling. These areas include popular vacation destinations like Baja California Sur– home to Cabo San Lucas– and Quinta Roo– where Tulum and Cancun are located.