U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza is concerned that growing drug-related violence and kidnappings on the border between the two countries will have a “chilling” effect on trade and tourism, the Associzted Press reports. The State Department yesterday issued an alert attributing the increased crime to a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade. It said the leaders of several major criminal organizations have been arrested, creating a power vacuum. “U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk posed by the deteriorating security situation,” the department warned.
The advisory came several days after the Mexican government sent soldiers to patrol the streets of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, at the request of local authorities who said crime and violence had become too great for them to handle. It also comes as officials crack down on federal prisons housing reputed drug traffickers who allegedly have continued to operate their businesses from behind bars with the help of corrupt employees. Federal agents and soldiers seized the Matamoros prison, in the border city of the same name across from Brownsville, Texas, after six prison employees were slain and their bodies dumped outside the gates last Thursday.