Texas trooper issues stark travel warning to Americans after three women vanished crossing the border to visit a flea market – as it’s revealed more than 550 U.S. citizens are now missing in Mexico
- Lieutenant Chris Olivarez is urging anyone traveling to Mexico, especially spring breakers, to think twice about certain areas because it is ‘too dangerous’
- Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, Marina Perez Rios, 48, both of Peñitas, and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, vanished in Mexico on February 24
- They are among 550 Americans missing in the country, with loved ones now pleading for a fraction of the attention given to the recent kidnapping case
A Texas trooper is warning Americans to rethink traveling to Mexico after three women vanished when crossing the border to sell clothes at a flea market – joining the more than 500 US citizens currently missing in the country.
Lieutenant Chris Olivarez, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told travelers gearing up for Spring Break to be careful when planning vacations to the popular travel destination.
‘Our department is urging anyone traveling to Mexico, especially spring breakers, to avoid those areas, because right now it is too dangerous with the increase in violence and kidnappings in Mexico,’ Lieutenant Olivarez told Fox News. ‘I can’t express enough to those thinking about traveling to Mexico, especially to spring breakers…to avoid those areas as much as possible.’
The warning comes after two sisters Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, Marina Perez Rios, 48, both of Peñitas, and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, went missing on February 24.
Officials said they were traveling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in Nuevo Leon state – around three hours from the border – and never returned. Peñitas is just a few hundred feet from the Rio Grande River.
It comes after the highly publicized case where four Americans were abducted by a cartel after traveling into the country for a tummy tuck. Their abduction was caught on video last week and received an avalanche of attention. But the fate of the three women, who haven’t been heard from in about two weeks, remains a mystery.
Lieutenant Chris Olivarez (pictured) is ‘urging anyone traveling to Mexico, especially spring breakers, to avoid those areas, because right now it is too dangerous with the increase in violence and kidnappings’
Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, Marina Perez Rios, 48; both of Peñitas, and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, (pictured) went missing on February 24
They crossed into Mexico to sell clothes at flea market three hours away from the border (pictured: Maritza and Marina)
The sisters’ cousin Ludy Arredondo wrote on Facebook that they ‘do not have a single piece of news [and] the authorities do not say anything,’ as she and others continue to pray for their safe return.
‘They do not have clues,’ she wrote. ‘PLEASE do not leave us alone.
‘My cousins and their friend are women, workers, responsible, mothers of their children, noble, simple women, they are WOMEN WHO WENT TO WORK. PLEASE friends post [and] share,’ she begged.
The last to hear from the women was one of their husbands who spoke to her by phone while she was traveling in Mexico. He later reported them missing after growing concerned when he couldn’t reach her afterwards, the Peñitas Police Chief Roel Bermea said.
‘Since he couldn’t make contact over that weekend, he came in that Monday and reported it to us,’ Bermea said.
Officials at the state prosecutor’s office said they have been investigating the women’s disappearance since Monday. Beyond that, officials in the US and Mexico haven’t said much about their pursuit of the three.
The FBI said Friday it is aware that two sisters from Peñitas, a small border city in Texas near McAllen, and their friend have gone missing. Bermea said their families have been in touch with Mexican authorities, who are investigating their disappearance.
The three women are among a startling 550 Americans who have been reported missing in Mexico, according to public records. This is a small part of the total 112,000 people missing in the country – and is a tiny percentage of the millions of US citizens who travel to Mexico every year for vacations and work.
But many relatives of the Americans still missing are asking why their loved ones haven’t been given a higher priority by Washington like the recent kidnapping.
Bermea said the women were traveling in a green mid-1990s Chevy Silverado to a flea market in the city of Montemorelos, in Nuevo Leon state (pictured Maritza)
Officials at the state prosecutor’s office said they have been investigating the women’s disappearance since Monday
The three women are just one of hundreds who have been reported missing in the country that are still missing. There are 550 Americans reported missing (pictured: Marina Rios)
The husband of one of the women spoke to her by phone while she was traveling in Mexico, but grew concerned when he couldn’t reach her afterward (pictured: US-Mexico border)
Lisa Torres, whose son Robert disappeared at 21, grew angry as she watched the coverage of the four friends.
‘I’m so angry I couldn’t sleep, thinking about how my US government acted in Matamoros with the kidnappings,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘This only confirms that my US government can help, and they didn’t, in the case of my son. WHY?’
A lawyer, Geovanni Barrios, whose son was abducted in Reynosa at 17, told the Washington Post: ‘We see that when the US government makes strong statements, there are results. But there aren’t only four Americans disappeared in Mexico. We don’t see [the US government] making these statements about the hundreds of other missing Americans.’
While many families are still holding onto hope their loved ones will reappear, they are resentful that they haven’t been afforded the massive search and government attention like the four Americans did. For most of the 112,000 missing in the country, the only ones looking for them are their desperate relatives.
Latavia ‘Tay’ McGee and Eric James Williams both survived the experience. Shaeed Hakim Woodard and Zindell Zaquille Mckinley Brown were killed by the cartel
Members (pictured) of the Gulf Cartel’s Scorpions Group were abandoned on a Matamoros street and accused by the criminal organization of being behind the kidnapping of four Americans who traveled to the country for surgery
Authorities lack manpower, equipment and training – and things are so bad that they aren’t even able to identify tens of thousands of bodies that have been found.
The four kidnapped Americans were caught in a drug cartel shootout in the border city of Matamoros, and video footage showed them being hauled off 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.
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