Killing spree south of border prompts U.S. alert
Thousands of Tucsonans travel there each year and now the U.S. State Department is warning you to be on alert next time you head to Nogales, Sonora Mexico.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are two sister cities. They share a name, an economy, but are divided by a towering border fence. The U.S. city of Nogales hasn't seen a murder all year. Nogales, Mexico, south of the border, can't say the same.
"Hopefully they can combat this," said Nogales, Arizona Mayor Arturo Garino.
There have been five murders in the last two weeks in Mexico. Several of them just blocks away from the Deconcini Port of Entry. The last homicide was a double murder in the heart of downtown Nogales, Sonora.
These numbers are no where near the record of more than 200 back in 2010. But the recent trend was enough for the U.S. to alert travellers.
"It's a lot," said one U.S traveller who chose to remain anonymous. "It's way too much."
The most recent crime left a U.S. car riddled with bullet holes and a Nogales, Arizona man dead.
"I'm hoping this is just an isolated incident," said Garino.
It's this spree of murders that pushed the U.S. Consulate to issue a travel alert to Americans. Mayor Garino believes it was premature.
In Nogales, Sonora life goes on. 9OYS saw more Federales downtown, but fewer Americans.
"All these shopkeepers I've talked to say where is everybody," said one American traveller.
And the ones we did find say they will be more careful. But won't stop coming to do business south of the border.
"There shouldn't be any travel alert," said Gabriel Cordova. "This is a peaceful town."
"I know that if I go to the southside on Friday night, I am ten times more likely to get shot down there, than down here," said another U.S. traveller.
9OYS checked in with Border Patrol. The agency tells us it hasn't noticed any uptick in illegal activity north of the border. The same goes for the Nogales Police Department. Nonetheless Mayor Garino says he plans to meet with his counterpart in Mexico to see how both parties can help curb the violence to ensure it doesn't cross over to the U.S.
If you plan on travelling to Mexico, click here for travel tips from the U.S. State Department.