A Texas police officer has warned Americans to reconsider traveling to Mexico when three women go missing after crossing the border to sell clothes at a flea market, joining more than 500 US citizens who are missing in the country.
Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a stark warning to American travelers as many prepare for spring break and plan trips to the popular tourist destination.
“Our department urges anyone traveling to Mexico, especially for spring break, to avoid those areas, because it’s too dangerous right now with the increase in violence and kidnappings in Mexico,” Lt. Chris Olivarez said. foxnews. “I can’t stress enough to those thinking of traveling to Mexico, especially for spring break…to avoid those areas as much as possible.”
The warning comes after two sisters, Maritza Trinidad Pérez Ríos, 47; Marina Pérez Ríos, 48, both from Peñitas, and her friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Sáenz, 53, disappeared on February 24.
Authorities said they were traveling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the Nuevo Leon state town of Montemorelos, about three hours from the border, and never returned. Peñitas is only a few hundred feet from the Rio Grande.
It comes on the heels of the highly publicized case in which a cartel kidnapped four Americans after traveling to the country for a tummy tuck. His kidnapping was caught on video last week. It received an avalanche of attention and was resolved in a matter of days. But the fate of the three women, who have not been heard from for about two weeks, remains a mystery and has garnered relatively little publicity.
Lt. Chris Olivarez (pictured) is “urging anyone traveling to Mexico, especially on spring break, to avoid those areas, because it’s too dangerous right now with the increase in violence and kidnappings.”
Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, Marina Perez Rios, 48; both from Peñitas and her friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Sáenz, 53, (pictured) disappeared on February 24
They crossed into Mexico to sell clothes at a flea market three hours from the border (in the photo: Maritza and Marina)
The husband of one of the three missing women spoke to her by phone while she was traveling through Mexico and became concerned when he was unable to reach her afterwards, Penitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said.
“Since he couldn’t make contact over that weekend, he came over that Monday and told us,” Bermea said.
Officials with the state attorney’s office said they have been investigating the woman’s disappearance since Monday. Beyond that, US and Mexican officials haven’t said much about their search for the three.
The husband of one of the women spoke to her on the phone while she was traveling through Mexico, but was concerned when he was unable to reach her afterwards (pictured: US-Mexico border)
The FBI said Friday that it is aware of the disappearance of two sisters from Penitas, a small Texas border town near McAllen, and their friend. Roel Bermea said his families have been in contact with Mexican authorities, who are investigating her disappearance.
The three women are among a staggering 550 Americans who have been reported missing in Mexico. according to public records. This is a small part of the total 112,000 missing persons in the country, and it is a small percentage of the millions of US citizens who travel to Mexico each year for vacations and work.
But many relatives of the Americans who remain missing wonder why their loved ones have not been given a higher priority for Washington, as was the case with the recent kidnapping.
Bermea said the women were riding in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in the state of Nuevo León (pictured, Maritza)
State attorney officials said they have been investigating the woman’s disappearance since Monday.
The three women are just one of hundreds who have been reported missing across the country and are still missing. There are 550 Americans reported missing (in the photo: Marina Rios)
Lisa Torres, whose son Robert disappeared at the age of 21, was angered when she saw the coverage of the four friends.
“I am so angry that I could not sleep, thinking about how my government of the United States acted in Matamoros with the kidnappings,” she wrote in Twitter. ‘This only confirms that my United States government can and did not help in my son’s case. BECAUSE?’
A lawyer, Geovanni Barrios, whose son was kidnapped in Reynosa when he was 17, told the Washington Post: ‘We see that when the US government makes strong statements, there are results. But there are not only four missing Americans in Mexico. We don’t see (the US government) making these statements about the hundreds of other missing Americans.’
Members (in the photo) of the Escorpiones Group of the Gulf Cartel were abandoned on a street in Matamoros and accused by the criminal organization of being behind the kidnapping of four Americans who were traveling to the country to undergo surgery
Unlike the many families who still hold out hope that their loved ones will turn up again, many do not receive the massive searches and government attention that the four Americans did. For most of the 112,000 Mexicans who have disappeared nationwide, the only ones looking for them are their desperate relatives.
The four Americans were caught up in a drug cartel shootout in the border city of Matamoros, and video showed them being taken away in a pickup truck. The two survivors were found Tuesday in a wooden shack near the Gulf coast.
This week’s massive search for the four kidnapped Americans involved squads of Mexican soldiers and National Guard troops.
The authorities are also short of manpower, equipment and training: things are so bad they can’t even identify the tens of thousands of bodies that have been found.