Travel Alert – Mexico, Instability

Security Tightened in Tamaulipas following Surge in Drug-related Violence

Category: Instability

Severity: 3 (Moderate)

Source: Drum Cussac

05/14/2014 (Mexico) – Mexican authorities on Tuesday, 13 May, stated that security would be heightened across the northeastern state of Tamaulipas following a surge in drug-related violence in recent weeks. According to Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, surveillance at ports, airports, customs and border crossings, as well as major land routes, across the state will be intensified. Security forces will also be carrying out daily 24-hour patrols in main cities, whilst the authorities will regularly conduct reviews of local police forces to battle alleged corruption. Osorio Chong also indicated that Tamaulipas would be divided into four regions that would each have an army or navy officer who will be tasked to oversee the implementation of new security measures.

Tamaulipas has been a flashpoint for drug-related violence in Mexico given its strategic location in the transportation route of illegal drugs from South America to the United States (US). In particular, the rivalry between the Gulf and Zetas drug cartel has led to lawlessness in several parts of the state, whilst collusion between local police officers and narco-criminals has hampered government efforts to eradicate drug cartels. 

According to reports, at least 76 people have been killed drug-related clashes in Tamaulipas since April 2014, and the killing of one of the founders of Zetas on Friday has raised concerns over possible retaliatory attacks and/or cartel infighting in the coming weeks. Whilst most of the fatalities in drug-related violence were security forces or cartel members, it should be noted that drug-related clashes or attacks pose an incidental risk of violence to anyone in the vicinity. In April 2014, a businessman was injured after being caught in the middle of gunfight in the port city of Tampico. In addition, narco-criminals are known to target companies that refuse to cooperate or pay extortion money. 

Those operating in Tamaulipas are advised to review site security protocols to identify any potential vulnerabilities, and implement comprehensive measures to ensure the safety and security of their personnel and assets. Journey management precautions should also be taken whenever overland travel to areas affected by drug-related violence is needed. In addition, individuals should maintain good situational awareness at all times and heed instructions from security personnel, particularly if ordered to stop at checkpoints.Copyright © 2014 Drum Cussac

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