Spring breakers beware

By Layron Livingston - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Increased violence in northern Mexico has caused the state department to issue a travel warning for that country. Even Governor Rick Perry has asked for a thousand more troops to send to the border.

The government isn't taking any chances, and they hope you and your children don't either.

Clear blue water and white sandy beaches...

"I haven't heard of any troubles or anything except, don't drink the water," said Kenny Lang, s UT Tyler student. "It's either stay here, but I'm possibly going on a mission trip to Mexico."

Store fronts are full of bullet holes, streets are littered with shell casings, and now the state department says to beware.

"We thought it was prudent to advise Americans who may be traveling to Mexico to take extra precautions," said Robert Wood, the U.S. State department spokesperson.

Due to violent demonstrations in places like Cuidad Juarez and Oaxaca City which left one American dead this past October, college senior, Brian Johnson said he is staying stateside for Spring Break, but this summer, he's headed...

"...to Cancun," said Johnson.

Where rape and robbery are on the rise, especially during night and early morning.

"My dad had actually said, "When you go down there, you don't do anything dumb, like go out on your own because the kidnapping rate is so high,'" said Johnson.

The state department says the Mexican government has been trying to tamp things down in places like Alcapulco and even closer to home in Matamoros and South Padre where more and more rival drug trafficking gangs are fighting for control of narcotics smuggling routes. Shootouts in broad daylight and kidnappings have led some colleges to ask students to pass on crossing the border all together.

"If I'm going on a mission trip, if there's unrest there, that's more motivation to go down there," said Lang.

"I will definitely be cautious while I'm down there," said Johnson.

Some are taking that message to heart.

No, I think I'm just going to start going to Colorado," said Angie Shoffner, a UT Tyler senior.

The US state department has posted an extensive list of tips on its website for folks traveling south of the border. If your student is headed that way, you may want to take a look. Go to the Home page and click on the Big Red Box. Then find the story "Know before you go."