Citizen Staff Writer
LAW AND ORDER REPORT
Nogales, Son., has been named in a U.S. State Department travel alert prompted by an escalating drug war in Mexico.
The border city has been the scene of daylight gunbattles in public places such as shopping centers, and criminals have targeted U.S. citizens traveling between Nogales and Hermosillo along Route 15, the alert states.
The alert was issued Tuesday and expires in April. It urges citizens to take precautions while visiting Mexico. They include:
• Restrict travel to major roads – especially toll routes – during daylight hours and do not travel alone.
• Stay in well-known tourist areas within cities that have adequate security.
• Visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas while avoiding areas where drug dealing or prostitution may be taking place.
• Give an itinerary of your trip to a friend or family member that is not traveling with you.
• Carry a cell phone that has international service.
• Don’t wear expensive-looking jewelry or displaying large amounts of cash or expensive items.
• Do not visit areas that may be hazardous during nighttime hours.
• Avoid demonstrations or other large gatherings.
According to the alert, the increased violence is part of a war between drug cartels for control of major trafficking routes along the border as the Mexican government cracks down on the drug trade.
The cartels use paramilitary units in some cases, and at times criminals can be seen wearing police or military uniforms, according to the U.S. government.
Some criminals have used hand grenades and automatic weapons in confrontations.
U.S. citizens who have been the victims of a crime or feel they may be a target should contact a U.S. consulate.