U.S. authorities have ordered staff to suspend field operations in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, due to a severe spate of violence in the border city.
At least 15 innocent civilians were killed on June 19 when gunmen arrived in vehicles and indiscriminately opened fire. Among the victims were taxi drivers, construction workers, a family and a nursing student.
The announcement, issued Friday by the U.S. Consulate General in the neighboring city of Matamoros, read: “In light of the violence that occurred in Reynosa on June 19, U.S. government personnel in Reynosa are temporarily restricted from field operations and official movements other than home-to-work.”
For anyone traveling to the city, it said: “Those choosing to travel to Reynosa, Río Bravo, and surrounding areas should remain vigilant and maintain a heightened state of awareness due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions.” U.S. citizens have long been advised against travel to Tamaulipas due to crime and kidnapping.
Meanwhile, eight people have been arrested for the June 19 massacre, including the presumed local boss of the Gulf Cartel, Iván Alejandro “N,” also known as “La Vaca.”
An arrest warrant was issued in 2019 for the crime boss, and a 2-million-peso (about US $101,000) was offered as a reward for information.
Yesterday, the head of the Catholic Church made reference to the massacre.
“The Holy Father reiterates his firm condemnation for this episode of unjustifiable violence,” said Pope Francis in a letter from the Vatican.
U.S. officials urge anyone visiting the area to avoid traveling at night, to review their personal security plans, to monitor the local news and to keep contacts up to date of their whereabouts.
U.S. citizens living in Mexico or traveling to the country can sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides security and travel updates.