US officials reissue 'Do Not Travel' warning to parts of Mexico after 4 Americans kidnapped, 2 killed

The U.S. State Department is renewing its warnings to avoid traveling to Mexico, just days before spring break. This comes after four Americans were kidnaped in Matamoros last week and two of them killed. 

MORE: 2 missing Americans kidnapped in Mexico found dead and 2 alive, official says

The two surviving Americans have been located and transported back to American soil Tuesday, according to State Department officials.  

A Level 4 - Do Not Travel warning, the highest travel advisory issued by the State Department is now in effect in six Mexican states, including Tamaulipas, which is located in northeast Mexico, just south of Brownsville, Texas.  

Other Mexican states with a 'Do Not Travel' advisory include Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Zacatecas. 

The travel advisories were first issued in 2022 and re-issued last Friday, the same day four Americans were kidnaped in Matamoros. Two of those Americans are now dead. 

Authorities say the group had traveled from South Carolina for a cosmetic medical procedure.  

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University of St. Thomas Professor Richard Sindelar III formerly worked with the State Department for nearly 23 years. He also served as Deputy Consul General in Monterrey, Mexico for several years. 

"A Level 4 travel advisory is basically the equivalent of warnings for Ukraine: just don’t go there," he explained. "The issue here is that if I’m traveling to Myanmar or Nepal or the Middle East, I’m probably going to check my travel advisory. Spring breakers in Brownsville aren’t going to think twice about a bar in Matamoros because that’s just what we do, and we’re neighbors."

Sindelar is urging Americans, particularly college spring breakers to take the Level 4 advisory for crime and kidnappings seriously. 

"That particular city (Matamoros) is particularly dangerous because there are two cartels that are what amount to a cartel war now," he said. "They are apparently two of the most vicious cartels now in Mexico. Their first instinct is to kill you rather than deal with you. Rather than kidnap you and ransom you, we’ll just kill you."


For those ignoring the advisory or going to cities with a Level 2 increased caution warning, Sindelar suggests remaining vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

"Misdirect your path. If you’re going from your hotel to the beach for instance in Cancun, and it’s three blocks away, don’t go straight to the beach; go left and then go right and then left," Sindelar said. "If that same guy in the red shirt is still following you, you may be a target. Get inside in something safe like any hotel, building, store, something like that."

Currently, the U.S. State Department has issued the following warnings for Mexico: