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The US Sun

I’m an ex-NYPD detective – students should not travel to Mexico for spring break, it’s not worth endangering your life

By Chris Bradford,

2023-03-14

STUDENTS should not travel to Mexico for spring break this year, a former NYPD detective has warned.

Michael Alcazar told The U.S. Sun that college kids should not risk endangering their lives.

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Mexico is a hugely popular destination among college students for spring break Credit: Getty Images - Getty
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But safety fears have grown amid recent cartel violence Credit: Getty

Mexico is a hugely popular destination among college students as Americans are attracted to the country's pristine beaches, luxury hotel resorts, and vibrant nightlife scene.

But cartel violence has exploded in parts of the country, and safety fears have escalated after four Americans were kidnapped in the northern border city of Matamoros earlier this month.

Matamoros has become infamous for gang violence and is home to the Gulf Cartel - which was once one of the most powerful drug smuggling organizations in the country.

State Department officials have urged Americans to reconsider travel to Jalisco – home to the Pacific Ocean resort Puerto Vallarta - because of crime and kidnapping.

Travelers to Mexico City have also been told to exercise caution because of crime.

But the State Department has advised tourists not to head to Guerrero – home to the popular beach resort of Acapulco.

Alcazar believes the situation has never been more dangerous in Mexico amid the wave of violence.

He warned that Americans should avoid traveling at all costs.

Alcazar said: “Right now, it’s very volatile and the cartels are out of control. It’s dangerous to travel.

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

Americans should visit locations such as Florida for spring break instead, according to the former cop.

Alcazar warned that unscrupulous gang members may be “hunting” for Americans that travel to Mexico.

He claimed: “Cartels want to make money and Americans are a commodity for them. Cartels are looking for people with money.”

The warning comes after Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw said drug cartel violence “represents a significant safety threat” to anyone who enters Mexico.

He added: “Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”

SAFETY FEARS

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed the Latin American country is “safer” than the US.

He added: “There is no issue with traveling safely through Mexico. That's something the US citizens also know, just like our fellow Mexicans that live in the US."

Investigator Martin Sandoval, of the Brownsville Police Department in Texas, told The U.S. Sun that the entire country of Mexico cannot be “labeled” amid the cartel violence.

He said: “There are certain parts of Mexico where there's a high crime rate, but then there are other areas such as Cancun, where tourists go and people have fun and everything's great.”

But, spring break safety fears have escalated as news of the kidnapping came to light.

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

The victims were identified as Latavia "Tay" McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric James Williams, and Zindell Brown.

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

McGee was found uninjured and Williams suffered a bullet wound to the leg. They were returned to the US for treatment in Brownsville.

A suspect, identified as 24-year-old Jose "N," was arrested in connection with the deadly kidnappings, Mexico's Secretary for Security and Citizen Protection Rosa Icela Rodriguez Velazquez 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 on the day of the kidnappings.

The group was held hostage shortly after driving into the state of Tamaulipas.

Investigators believed that cartels mistook the Americans for Haitian drug smugglers, US officials told CNN.

The Tamaulipas governor said the four friends were found in a “wooden stash house” around six miles from where they were kidnapped.

The Americans were killed by members of the Scorpions Group.

A bizarre handwritten note that condemned the violence was obtained by law enforcement agencies as part of their investigation.

It said: “We have decided to turn over those who were directly involved and responsible in the events, who at all times acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline."

It claimed the cartel gunmen who opened fire had broken the criminal organization's "rules," which include: "Respecting the life and well-being of the innocent."

In the letter, the Scorpions group begged the "American families and people in Matamoros for forgiveness."

Obrador vowed those responsible will be "punished” while the White House branded the kidnapping “unacceptable.”

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Meanwhile, three women remain missing two weeks after they crossed the Mexican border.

The U.S. Sun has approached the Mexican government for comment.

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Former NYPD detective Michael Alcazar has warned students should avoid traveling to Mexico Credit: LinkedIn
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