One by one, Mexico-bound passengers packed several buses at the Central Station in downtown McAllen.
They will likely travel the same highway where Mexican authorities believe the bloody Zetas drug cartel dumped dozens of dismembered bodies early Sunday morning.
Alicia Avalos de la Cruz is one of those passengers headed south.
"We are completely held hostage by organized crime," she said as she stowed her bags in the bus TM undercarriage.
De la Cruz is headed back home to the industrial city of Torreon, a nearly five hour ride from the U.S.-Mexico border.
But first, her bus must make its way through a cartel-plagued highway linking the Rio Grande Valley to Monterrey.
Those who often travel down this highway said they would like to see more security measures in place.
"They should add more military on the roads and also federal police," Eliodor Elizondo said.
He is a Monterrey native, now residing in the Valley.
On Sunday, he sent off one of his relatives on the two hour ride south.
De la Cruz said she would support having extra patrols.
In the past few years, she reported falling victim to the extortion from cartels on two separate occasions, while on the highway from Reynosa to Monterrey.
They charged us $500 pesos per passenger or they wouldn't let the bus return from McAllen to Mexico," she recalled.
Due to those risks, de la Cruz said she has kept travel to the Valley to a minimum, down from every other month to twice a year.
The latest emergency warning from the U.S. Department of State, issued in February, urges all American citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Tamaulipas, and caution when traveling to Monterrey.
They cite the increased fighting between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartels, and urge citizens to avoid traveling in the nighttime.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey said they have also offered their help to Mexican authorities to determine if any Americans are among the 49 bodies discovered on Sunday.