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American consul speaks about dangerous San Fernando highway

Michael Barkin with the American Consulate in Matamoros is reiterating a warning to avoid a dangerous highway south of the border.

Mexico TMs Highway 101 links the central Tamaulipas City of San Fernando to the Rio Grande Valley and the rest of Mexico.

Just 90 miles south of Brownsville, numerous Americans have been carjacked or robbed on Highway 101 in and around San Fernando.

Barkin said the consulate, which over oversees diplomatic affair for the northeast corner of Mexico, issued warnings about the situation in San Fernando in November and again on January 7th. "We TMve seen a lot of criminal activity on that highway, Barkin said. American citizens have presorted to us they TMve been carjacked or threatened with carjacking along that stretch of highway.

Barkin said the situation improved in December but then seemed to get worse close to the end of the month.

We felt it was important to bring it to Americans' attention about the risks involved in that section of the federal highway in Mexico, Barkin said.

The family of missionary Nancy Davis said she knew the risks well.

The 59-year-old woman and her husband Sam Davis had a ministry south of the border.

Family members told Action 4 News that Davis she knew the risks but her and husband sam wanted to continue their ministry.

Davis was shot in the back of the head while she and her husband were allegedly fleeing from carjackers on Wednesday.

They made it to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge but Monte Alto woman died at McAllen Medical Center.

Barkin said the consulate is working with the Davis family and Mexican law enforcement officials.

He says Mexico has made the case a priority....

"The Mexican Ministry of the Interior issued a statement last night expressing their condolences and wish to prosecute those responsible for this tragedy, Barkin said. So we expect to work closely with them on that process."

In the meantime, Barkin says Americans should avoid non-essential travel through the San Fernando area adding that the carjackings and robberies show no pattern. "We've seen people in family sedans| station wagons... all sorts of cars, Barkin said. We've seen people traveling at night... traveling during the day... they seem to be active constantly along that stretch of highway."

U.S. Consulate General of the United States of AmericaMatamoros, Tamaulipas, MexicoJanuary 7, 2011WARDEN MESSAGE

The United States Consulate General in Matamoros continues to advise U.S. citizens who are traveling in Tamaulipas of the potential for armed robbery and carjackings on state highways. Multiple American citizens have reported the loss of their vehicles and their possessions under threat from armed men. While most victims have reported that they were not physically harmed, the vehicles were taken under the threat of violence and it is important to keep these potential risks in mind before considering highway travel in Tamaulipas.

The majority of the reported crimes took place along Carretera Federal 101, which links Cd. Victoria to San Fernando. Along this route, multiple carjackings have been reported north of San Fernando where the road forks northeast to Matamoros (Carretera Federal 101) and northwest to Reynosa (Mexico 97). Vehicles have been reported stolen in the areas of San German, La Loma and Santa Teresa as well as the town of Jimenez. Additionally, several American citizens have notified the Consulate General about carjackings in the area around Padilla, also on Carretera Federal 101.

The armed robberies have happened during the day and at night, and while there are some indications that newer vehicles with U.S. license plates have been particularly targeted, victims' vehicles include those with both Mexican and American registration and vary in type from new SUVs to old sedans. The assailants are generally described as armed groups of young men or teenagers whose clothes may be civilian, camouflage or all-black.

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register in person or by phone with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" found at http://travel.state.gov.

For any emergencies involving American citizens in the Matamoros consular district, please call or visit the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate General on Avenida Primera 2002, Col. Jardin, Matamoros, Tamaulipas; telephone (011)(52)(868) 812-4402. http://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/.

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