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State department warns travellers in Mexico

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 07:23:26-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The U.S. Department of State updated a warning for all travelers through Mexico this week citing safety concerns from organized criminal activity.

The state department says U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime like homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery from organized criminal groups across the country. In 2015, the Mexican government reported 103 Americans were murdered in Mexico.

Included in the warning, specific information for those traveling through Sonora, the state immediately to the south of Arizona. They say Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and some areas can be extremely dangerous.

The state department also warns travelers headed to Rocky Point, a popular vacation destination. They say those visiting should use the Lukeville border crossing and limit driving to daylight hours.

In 2013, there was a deadly gunfight between federal police and alleged drug traffickers in Rocky Point.

However, according to the state department "The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that organized criminal groups have targeted U.S. visitors or residents based on their nationality."

Rocky Point is popular for University of Arizona students too.

"We've been there five or six times," said Olivia Lewandowski, a UA student. "It's pretty safe if you stay around the hotels and stuff."

She added, when they go into town they generally travel in groups.

Others students do not think the drive to Rocky Point is scary.

"Just stay in your car and you'll be fine. You see all U.S. cars headed down that highway," said Kevin Wise, a UA student.

There are a number of shuttle companies that transport people between Rocky Point and Tucson.

Mike Jarvinen, owner of the shuttle company Head Out To Rocky Point, tells Nine On Your Side over the phone that they see this almost every year. He added that after 11 years in the business, he's never encountered any problems on the road there. Jarvinen says they are already booking students to head there on spring break.