Mexico Connect
Forums  > General > Traveling Mexico
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All


ken_in_dfw

Mar 10, 2010, 9:36 AM

Post #1 of 59 (17398 views)

Shortcut

Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post |
A resident of San Luis Potosí is reporting on another expat discussion board that the US Consulate representative in Monterrey is meeting tonight with the expats there to warn them about an increase in carjackings in and around Monterrey.

Milenio in Monterrey is reporting this morning that 29 police officers have been accused of carjackings, car theft, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and murder. The corrupt officers have been on the payrolls of the State of Nuevo León, the City of Monterrey, and the suburbs of Apodaca and San Nicolás.

In another article published yesterday, Milenio interviewed the Nuevo León Secretary of Security Luis Carlos Treviño Berchelman, who stated that there was "definitely a high degree of corruption and penetration by some organized crime groups in the police institutions at different levels. Whether at state or local levels, I believe the corruption makes it easier for organized crime to carry out their activities with greater ease."

Given the evolving situation, it might be well advised for those of you planning trips to and from Texas to bypass the Monterrey metro area for the time being.



Rolly


Mar 10, 2010, 9:51 AM

Post #2 of 59 (17385 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
The US Consulate in Monterrey is waring against travel between Monterrey and N. Laredo and Reynosa.

Rolly Pirate


lamur

Mar 10, 2010, 10:00 AM

Post #3 of 59 (17374 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
So ... we're heading down Friday. We usually go through Nuevo Laredo and on down to Lake Chapala. Should we find a different route? Does anyone have personal experience of "braving" the toll roads South of Nuevo Laredo in the last few days? I'm not the nervous type but... if there's actual danger I'd like to at least be aware.

L


Reefhound


Mar 10, 2010, 11:26 AM

Post #4 of 59 (17348 views)

Shortcut

Re: [lamur] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
I'm headed down Saturday morning. Government is typically slow in reacting. Maybe the attention on the area will mean it is safer than it was last week?

It's this kind of crap, not the border violence between cartels, that cause Americans to view Mexico as a lawless Third World country. Geez, when your biggest worry is getting carjacked, robbed, or murdered... by the police, what do you do about that? Call the police? Don't think I'll be stopping for cops on the highway. They can follow me to somewhere crowded.


ken_in_dfw

Mar 10, 2010, 11:27 AM

Post #5 of 59 (17347 views)

Shortcut

Re: [lamur] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post |
If it was me, depending on where you're located, I'd pick either the Del Rio or Eagle Pass crossings. Coming down to US 277 from either I-20 or I-10 to Del Rio actually sounds better, as I-35 has become its own sort of "death run" of late.

If you do take either of those and pick up Highway 57 in Coahuila, just remember to drive straight through Monclova - don't take the bypass (libramiento), as there are some crooked cops on the libramiento, as well.

(If anyone has any updates on driving through Monclova, those would be welcome here, as well.)


Reefhound


Mar 10, 2010, 12:10 PM

Post #6 of 59 (17326 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
That's an even more desolate route and I've heard the crooked cops are not confined to the bypass. They seem to be everywhere. I've only actually seen one account of someone having trouble around Monterrey and that was in a parking lot not on a cuota.


Judy Parker

Mar 10, 2010, 12:52 PM

Post #7 of 59 (17316 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
We had friends leave Patzcuaro on Sunday. They spent the night in Saltillo and then went north through the Columbia bridge. It was an uneventful trip. They said they saw two federal police checkpoints but neither were manned. Nothing else unusual.


Rolly


Mar 10, 2010, 2:07 PM

Post #8 of 59 (17294 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
From the Dallas Morning News

Cartels use intimidation campaign to stifle news coverage in Mexico
12:00 AM CST on Monday, March 8, 2010

By ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News
acorchado@dallasnews.com


REYNOSA, Mexico – In the days since a long-simmering dispute erupted into open warfare between the Gulf drug cartel and its former enforcers, the Zetas, censorship of news developments has reached unprecedented dimensions along much of Mexico's border with Texas. A virtual news blackout has been imposed, several sources said, enforced by threats, abductions and attacks against journalists.
In the past 14 days, at least eight Mexican journalists have been abducted in the Reynosa area, which is across the border from McAllen. One died after a severe beating, according to reports that could not be independently verified. Two were released by their captors. The rest are missing.

Read the rest of the story here.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Mar 10, 2010, 2:08 PM)


Brian

Mar 10, 2010, 2:54 PM

Post #9 of 59 (17280 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
The US Consulate in Monterrey has advised Americans not to travel the highways which form a triangle between Laredo, Monterrey and Reynosa. I think that within the article is the reason why the highways are singled out. The advisory says that folks who absolutely must take those routes should only do so in the daytime. Cartels frequently use stolen police and Army uniforms to do their work under the guise of authority. When reading the following snippet, remember that they are stopping traffic to capture and kill any Zetas driving in the area.

"The official also said that cartel members had set up checkpoints on roads into Reynosa and other towns along the border and were checking vehicles."

In other words, as they say, "You don't want to go there".

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Mar 10, 2010, 6:16 PM)


Reefhound


Mar 10, 2010, 4:04 PM

Post #10 of 59 (17257 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Ok, anyone have detailed directions for Eagle Pass/Piedras Niegras? Going south on 57 to SLP. Searched forums and everyone seems to think it is easy so does that mean things are marked well and intuitive?

What are the border hours for Eagle Pass? People seem to prefer bridge 2, the one downstream from the original bridge. coming into Eagle Pass on US 57 is the path to this bridge noted? Once across, how toget to 57?

It seems you get the FMT at Allende. Already have the TVIP. The maps seem to show 57 bypasses Allende. Is immigration directly on 57 or do we get off 57 and go into town? What are their hours? We would like to cross around 3am and be at least to Monclova by 6am.

Just pass Allende, map shows split between 57 and 57D and then come together in Nueva Rosita. Which one is best?

Monclova. Someone called it the armpit. Thinking best to go through center staying on 57. The infamous bypass seems to be on the western side next to Frontera but there looks to be a route on the eastern side on Constitucion. Anyone try this?


Peter


Mar 11, 2010, 7:00 AM

Post #11 of 59 (17179 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
I think it's good to have back-up plans por si acaso but think it could be more dangerous trying new avenues when things are shaky as it seems there is usually more hype than danger.

Mexico does not always seem very straight-forward or intuitive when navigating unknown terrain and in times of stress it may be best to do what you know best. It's the deviations that often lead to problems.

I'd say go for what you know best, what you have been comfortable with in the past. Take every precaution if conditions are uncertain and have a back-up plan in the ready. Good luck.


Reefhound


Mar 11, 2010, 7:24 AM

Post #12 of 59 (17175 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Peter] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
That's a good point, Peter. I've been the Laredo/Monterrey/Saltillo route so many times that there's no chance of getting lost and I'd recognize an unusual roadblock or detour right away. I'm inclined to go that route but delay the usual itinerary a few hours so we pass through after sunrise. My wife is a nervous wreck, though.

The Piedras Negras/Monclova/Ramos Arizpe route is interesting in that I'd like to check out a new route but it adds nearly 100 miles and 2 hours to the trip, and my specific questions seem to have stumped the band. Probably those that have taken that route see it all as rather obvious and unnecessary detail but when you haven't been that way those little details can be comforting and important to know.

The tough nut in all this is getting specific info on the incidents and risk. The advisory mentioned an "incident" with a US citizen on the Monterrey/Reynosa cuota. Ok, so what happened, was he beaten or robbed or killed or maybe just questioned? Are these roadblocks typically going north or south, or both. Closer to NL or Mty? I haven't seen one direct account of an actual roadblock giving location and date and time. Lots of generic reports (hearsay or not?) with no substance.

Hard to see how the gangs could set up full roadblocks on a cuota without the complicity of local police but there you go. Sucks that you can't even trust the cops. And I'm sure the gangs use spotters with radios/phones to alert if any federales or soldiers are coming.


Demonio

Mar 11, 2010, 8:20 AM

Post #13 of 59 (17162 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Most people think those of us who live/visit Mexico (especially by land) during these volatile times are crazy for taking such serious and perhaps unnecessary risks. I may be starting to believe them. It reminds me a little of Colombia in the '80s and '90s. Violence and corruption was rampant. During those times I was working in law enforcement in the States. I was an expert in drug abuse prevention and the U.S. State Dept. would send me around the world (including most of Latin America) to make presentations to public and private entities. I was in Chile and my next stop was Colombia. I was briefed at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago about a recent escalation of violence in Colombia and decided the risk wasn't worth taking (my children were still small at the time). I called my superiors and they agreed with me, so I canceled and flew on to Costa Rica instead. Boy were they pissed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá. They tracked me down at the U.S. Embassy in San Jose and tried to convince me to reconsider. They assured me they had taken every precaution to guarantee my safety. I would be flown in under an assumed name and would not de-board with the other passengers. Upon landing, the plane would be briefly diverted to a special run way that was used and secured by the military. I would de-board there, be whisked to an armored personnel carrier, taken to an undisclosed location and make a presentation to "trusted" high level law enforcement personnel. I would then be housed at the U.S. Embassy till my flight out of Colombia. Call me crazy, but instead of reassuring me they convinced me I had made the right decision by canceling. I think people sometimes don't view dangerous situations objectively when they are too close to it. Is the danger sometimes exaggerated? Perhaps. But as some have said before, if you can't trust the police -- well. I've been in public safety most of my adult life (both as a fire fighter and law enforcement), so I've taken more risks than most. I don't intend to be scared off now (at least not easily), but it is food for thought. My biggest worry is I can't be armed in Mexico and it's a different game here than NOB. I don't know the answer for everyone, but I'm sure I'll know when to fold 'em and walk away. Meanwhile, be safe. This sharing of information is important.


"What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

(This post was edited by Demonio on Mar 11, 2010, 8:35 AM)


gringolandia

Mar 11, 2010, 8:23 AM

Post #14 of 59 (17161 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post |
Tuesday we crossed at Reynosa at 4:30am. There was very light traffic. We were waived thru after being asked if we had food. At the Aduana...the lights were off and there was no one manning the stop....we passed thru. We are Mexican plated. At all military checkpoints we were waived thru as only trucks were being searched....fastest time we ever made to the lake. If there was any trouble we never saw it.

Maybe we are just lucky....we go north again in May....and we leave Lake Chapala at 12:30am .


Reefhound


Mar 11, 2010, 8:46 AM

Post #15 of 59 (17146 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Demonio] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Demonio, reading about all the security measures Colombia was going to provide left me with the same reaction. I'll bet you went from thinking you might be a victim of a random attack to thinking you would be the target of a sophisticated assassination plot.

gringolandia, I need an FMT so I need a place that is open. I normally have no worries about driving major highways at night. I'm pretty confident I can avoid drunk drivers, stray animals, and potholes as easily in Mexico as in the U.S. Random crime is a risk either country but I don't worry about that either. It's the organized checkpoints by gangs that worry me because it says they can operate so openly without fear of the police that either A) the police are in on it, or B) they are stronger than the police.


Brian

Mar 11, 2010, 9:57 AM

Post #16 of 59 (17123 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Right now, planning travel by land to the border is difficult at best. Some very well meaning folks who have made the trip recently post their experiences which are mostly positive. But their experience is statistically what one would expect even during this time of heightened consulate warnings about traveling the route. The evidence, though, is anecdotal in the sense that, because they have safely come home, it shouldn't be taken to mean that the area is now safe. Five times out of six, someone who plays Russian Roullette wins. Right now, going against the US Consulate's warning is a gamble I think. I would wait awhile if possible. Things will settle down. This is just an ajuste de cuenta albeit on a grander scale than most.

Internet message boards like this one are fine to an extent but the information available isn't really up to the minute. That's where Twitter excels. Of course, just like here, you have to take much of what you read with a grain of salt. Here are some twitters that post good stuff about the topic at hand.

Checkout: #Reynosafollow @cruzfashion @nuevo_laredo Tweets in English

For IPhone or IPod Touch users, I would suggest installing the NewsAlert app. Choose up to ten keywords and articles containing them will be pushed to your phone as they are published. Right now, the keywords (which I will change depending upon circumstances) include Cartel, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Tijuana, and Mexican Border. The tv stations in Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville post a lot of breaking news about activities in the immediate vicinity across the border. For Mexicans living there it offers some of the best reporting about what is going on in their towns. Twitter also works better on these devices than on a home computer because it can always be with you. Be like the kids, stay connected 24/7.

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Mar 11, 2010, 10:16 AM)


chinagringo


Mar 11, 2010, 11:41 AM

Post #17 of 59 (17089 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Brian] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Thought your comparison to playing Russian Roullette was great!

Last June & July, we were planning a trip in August, when things got heated in Michoacan. After doing our due diligence during the period leading up to our planned departure, we made the decision to proceed with our plans based upon personal inquires and the news we were able to follow. Did we get lucky or were we simply in the right place at the right time? One will never know the answer to that question.

That said, based upon all that I have been able to follow, unless I absolutely had to travel during this period, I would not cross the border at any of the typical Texas crossing points or for that matter, the crossing for the northern entry at Santa Teresa, NM. Somehow I think that life is all too short without taking chances at this time! Historically, matters like this may quiet down over time and the odds should go down regarding having problems.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Brian

Mar 11, 2010, 12:04 PM

Post #18 of 59 (17080 views)

Shortcut

Re: [chinagringo] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hi Neil

Last night I got a tweet about a shootout near the Cadereyta toll booth which is located on the autopista between Monterrey and Reynosa. Now, thank goodness, a Mexican newspaper has written about last evening's events. Several motorists disregarded the warnings and I bet they wish they hadn't. Right now the bulk of the action has been near Reynosa but according to the many tweets some people who purport to know such things, say that the Zetas are moving their operations over to Laredo. That, clearly, is part of the reason for the highway mayhem in which the Gulf Cartel and their new allies are trying to wipe out the Zetas.

http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/...docid&sortby=ASC

http://www.milenio.com/node/399054

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Mar 11, 2010, 12:07 PM)


Altahabana


Mar 11, 2010, 12:14 PM

Post #19 of 59 (17059 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Brian] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
This is for the poster asking questions about Hwy 57 between Eagle Pass and Monclova

1. Bridge II in Eagle Pass is always open. The old bridge is open from 7am--11pm. When you cross you will stay on the main road. There should be signage that says 57, Saltillo. Stay on this road for about 5 miles until it comes to a T. This is the intersection with Hwy 2 and there should be signage for Nuevo Laredo to the left. The airport is also visible on the left. Take a right at the T and you will go about 2-3 miles to the intersection with Hwy 57. Take a left at the light. Google Maps has a good map of Piedras.

2. The Aduana/Immigration checkpoint is not in Allende. It is directly on Hwy 57 a little south of the turnoff for Allende. It is on the right and you cannot miss it. I don't know the hours of operation but it is probably open 24 hrs. since this is a major highway to the interior.

3. Right past the Aduana/Immigration checkpoint you have your choice of the Cuota (57D) which is straight ahead or the free highway (57) which branches off to the right. This is a no-brainer. Take the Cuota---it is less than 100 pesos. Taking the Libre in the dark would not be a good choice.

4. Monclova would seem like an armpit to gringo ex-pats in transit because of the industrial plants. It is actually a pretty decent town. The ex-pat bypass is a long unneccessary detour while the route directly through town on 57 (called Blvd. Harold Pape) is straight and simple. That is the only route to take even for someone in an oversize vehicle. If you try to navigate around the city to the east for whatever reason you will almost certainly get lost.


(This post was edited by Altahabana on Mar 11, 2010, 12:15 PM)


Reefhound


Mar 11, 2010, 12:39 PM

Post #20 of 59 (17049 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Altahabana] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
Thanks, that is exactly what I needed to know.

1. I had found a U.S. customs site with border times showing bridge II as 24 hours, good to confirm this. And while one would think both sides work together on hours of operation, you never know... I found a nice site called Mile by Mile that shows the route (Libra. Sur) leaving the bridge and veering right to 57 long before hitting Mx2. Maybe a little less backtracking than going to Mx2. Any comments? Looks on the map like there's several ways to cut over to 57.

2. Exactly what I needed to know. So many mentions of Allende but I just needed to know if it's something I simply cannot miss or something I needed to hunt down in town.

3. For $100 pesos, I'll take the cuota. We also decided to cross at sunrise, perhaps 6am. That should still let us get to Celaya by sunset or not long after. Better to do the unfamiliar part in daylight and leave any night driving to the parts we know well.

4. I've actually only heard good things about Monclova as a city, the negative comments all pertain to the cops extorting expensive "traffic fines" from travelers, mostly on the bypass. Anyone know of a good place around here on 57 to stop for breakfast?


Altahabana


Mar 11, 2010, 1:25 PM

Post #21 of 59 (17035 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
I think the route I recommended in Piedras is quicker because it is a libre without stop lights. The Mile by Mile route puts you on Hwy 57 within the city and you will have a couple of miles of intersecting streets with traffic lights which depending on traffic can take a while to get through.

My wife is from Monclova (actually Frontera) and we are there at least once a month. My response to the armpit comment came out a little more defensively than I intended.

I would eat in Eagle Pass. I have never the occasion to eat on the highway between Piedras and Monclova. There are restaurants in Nueva Rosita and Sabinas and one of those would be your best bet.


RickS


Mar 11, 2010, 4:27 PM

Post #22 of 59 (16968 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
 To address the "straight through Monclova issue"....

A couple of weeks ago I exited Mexico northbound on Hiway 57. Perfectly good road/route. The part from north of Saltillo (Ramos Arizpe actually) is a very good 2-lane road, fairly new I would say. Interesting route, just not spectacular.

I took Altahabana's advice and drove straight through Monclova..... Blvd. Pape..... and it could not have been easier as one just keeps following their nose straight ahead. 2,3 and sometimes 4 lanes each way. No turns. No problem. Speed limit usually 60kph. There are a lot of signal lights and I hit every one of them red, but the traffic around 10-11:00 moved through easily if not slowly because of the lights. About 15 minutes max. I was in a regular sedan but I own a truck/5th-Wheel RV and would have no qualms taking the Blvd. Pape route instead of risking the by-pass mordida route.

I think I do recall one person on these forums previously mentioning that they got stopped by police doing this straight-through route, but I just don't see how it would be possible/probable that a cop could 'pick you out of the pack' going down Blvd. Pape as it is heavily traveled by many cars and 'local' trucks. Could have happened but I didn't even see any police (and I was looking!) during my traverse.

You won't have any trouble finding the FM-T stop in Allende as it is right at a big military stop and on your immediate right/west. Just after that (1 mile?) you'll have the choice of taking the cuota or libre (I took the cuota between there and Nueva Rosita... not a great road surface but OK). There were plenty of restaurants on Blvd. Pape in Monclova.... don't know how many of them will be open at 6am, but there are there.


ken_in_dfw

Mar 11, 2010, 5:29 PM

Post #23 of 59 (16954 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post |
UPDATE: The same resident from San Luis Potosí has provided an update following the meeting there last night by the US Consular representative from Monterrey. The Consular representative has provided some well-heeded, very actionable and level-headed advice. If you're thinking about driving through northeast México, I'd take the advice.

One of the points he made that hasn't been touched on much in this thread is the increasing number of carjackings in the Monterrey metro area. Just in one 48-hour period recently, there were 37 carjackings. To Brian's point about your Russian Roulette chances, this is the part of the trip where I don't like those odds.

I do think this is an "event" that will blow over in time. And I think that being well-informed increases your odds of a safe trip. So spread the word and safe journeys to all.


Reefhound


Mar 11, 2010, 7:40 PM

Post #24 of 59 (16914 views)

Shortcut

Re: [ken_in_dfw] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
After reading the advisories and thinking over the options, we decided to make the trip with some modifications. We will cross in Piedras Negras and proceed to Ramos Arizpe where we resume our normal route down 57. The extra couple of hours and 100 miles would be annoying if it had to be done all the time but learning a new route will be fun.

More importantly, we have decided to shift our itinerary back and cross around 6am or so rather than 3am, which just seems a too likely time for something bad to happen.

Coming back is still up in the air. I like to stop in Rio Verde for diving so most likely we'll head east from there to Ciudad Valles, then north through Ciudad Mante to Ciudad Victoria, then on up through Los Indios (preferred) or Matamoros. Or maybe retrace back through Piedras Negras but I think the other way will be shorter.

Anyone know where the car permit return station is in Piedras Negras or Los Indios or Matamoros?


RickS


Mar 11, 2010, 7:57 PM

Post #25 of 59 (16905 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Reefhound] Heads up: travel through Monterrey

Can't Post | Private Reply
The permit-return location is out at Allende right where you will get your FM-T. Coming north there will be a Military checkpoint and there will be signage to veer right to turn in your permit. Go left across the street and you will see a small white shack in the parking lot. Drive your car up there and they will cancel your permit and scrape the sticker off. Then go inside the gray building to Immigration and turn in your FM-T and get your passport stamped.
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4