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Mexican cartels are ‘out of control’, this is the most dangerous time to travel during spring break, says former NYPD cop

MEXICAN drug cartels are out of control and students shouldn’t travel to the country for spring break, a former cop has warned.

Thousands of American students travel to this Latin American country every year to enjoy its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife.


Students have been warned not to travel to Mexico for spring break this yearCredit: Getty
Officials arrested suspects in connection with the kidnapping of four Americans earlier this month


Officials arrested suspects in connection with the kidnapping of four Americans earlier this monthCredit: EPA

But a wave of crime and violence has exploded as the country’s homicide rate has tripled since 2006, from 9.6 murders per 100,000 to 28 in 2021.

Los Zetas is considered one of the most dangerous cartels and has been involved in drug trafficking since its inception in 1999.

The popular tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta is a “strategic stronghold” for the Jalisco New Generation cartel for drug trafficking, according to the US Treasury.

And, the notorious Gulf Cartel, founded in the northern city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, was one of the strongest drug trafficking organizations before it split into several factions.

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Four Americans were kidnapped in the border town earlier this month, sparking huge safety fears ahead of spring break celebrations.

Michael Alcazar, a former detective with the New York Police Department, suggested that Americans considering traveling to Mexico should reconsider their plans.

He warned: “Right now it seems like the most dangerous time [ever] to travel to Mexico.

“The Mexican government has no control over what happens with the cartels. The cartels seem to be running amok.

Alcazar, who worked for the NYPD for more than three decades, said: “It’s not worth getting hurt, killed or kidnapped for a couple [of] college break weeks.

He added that revelers should visit places like Florida for spring break instead.

The warning comes after Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said drug cartel violence “poses a significant security threat” to anyone entering Mexico.

He added, “Due to the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we urge individuals to avoid traveling to Mexico at this time.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed the Latin American country is “safer” than the United States.

Alcazar said: “Of course Obrador is going to say Mexico is safe. He does not want to discourage travel.

“He also doesn’t want to give the impression that he has lost control of his country.”

It’s not worth getting hurt, killed or kidnapped for a couple [of] college break weeks.

Michael Alcazar

Alcazar warned that cartel members want innocent Americans to fear organizations.

He said: “The cartels are very violent and more overt. They are very violent and they want their violence to be feared.

Two of the four kidnapped Americans were killed while the other two were taken hostage.

The victims have been identified as Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric James Williams and Zindell Brown.

Woodard and Brown died in the shooting, a US official told CNN.

McGee was found unharmed and Williams was shot in the leg. They were sent back to the United States for treatment in Brownsville.

A suspect, identified as 24-year-old José Guadalupe, has been arrested in connection with the deadly kidnappings.

Five other people were also arrested, officials said.

Barbara Burgess, 54, McGee’s mother, confirmed to ABC News that her daughter traveled from South Carolina to Mexico for a cosmetic medical procedure – scheduled for the day of the abductions.

The group was held hostage shortly after driving to Tamaulipas.

Investigators believed the cartels were confusing the Americans with Haitian drug traffickers, US officials told CNN.


The governor of Tamaulipas said the four friends were found in a “wooden hiding place” about 10 km from where they were kidnapped.

Three women are still missing two weeks after crossing the Mexican border.

Alcazar said Americans who have already booked plans to travel to Mexico should consider getting a refund if possible.

But, he offered students several tips on how they can protect themselves if they decide to travel.

Alcazar said: “They have to be extra careful if they feel safe to travel.

“Americans should travel in groups, either with family or friends.”

He warned that Americans should not flash their cash when venturing off the station.

Alcazar added: “The cartels are looking for people who have money. They hunt – that’s what they do.

“Americans are a commodity for the cartels to make money from.”

The US State Department has listed six Mexican states that Americans should not travel to due to crime and kidnapping risks.

These include: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

But, officials warned Americans to exercise extra caution if they were in tourist hotspots such as Mexican City.

Alcazar criticized the State Department’s response to travel advisories.

He added: “He really feels they [the warnings] were more reactive than proactive.

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But, investigator Martin Sandoval, from the Brownsville Police Department in Texas, told the US Sun that the whole country of Mexico cannot be ‘tagged out’ amid rising crime.

He said: “There are certain parts of Mexico where crime is high, but there are other areas like Cancun where tourists go and people have fun and everything is fine.”

Shaeed Woodard was killed in the shootout after being kidnapped


Shaeed Woodard was killed in the shootout after being kidnappedCredit: Instagram
Zindell Brown was also named among the dead


Zindell Brown was also named among the deadCredit: family document


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