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Sisalena

Apr 4, 2011, 9:10 AM

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Warning to drivers

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I just got notification from a neighbor that a Canadian couple who had been staying here in Yucatan for the winter and were driving back home were car-jacked at gunpoint between Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros on Sunday (during the day, not at night). From what I understand, a truck forced them off the road and a group of 5 or 6 young men with guns took their car and all their belongings. Somehow they managed to retain one credit card, so they're in a hotel awaiting help from the Canadian consulate to get papers to get back across the border. That's basically all the information I have at this time, but wanted to get a warning out to anybody who might be making the trip down or back. If I learn any further information, will post it.



Rolly


Apr 4, 2011, 9:30 AM

Post #2 of 16 (15002 views)

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Re: [Sisalena] Warning to drivers

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I'm sorry to hear of their bad luck.
Nevertheless, we have been warned repeatedly that all the roads in NE México are very dangerous.
This is the same area where the missionary lady was killed recently.

Rolly Pirate


robt65

Apr 4, 2011, 12:19 PM

Post #3 of 16 (14959 views)

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Re: [Sisalena] Warning to drivers

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Hello Sisalena,

I will never use those roads again, until some drastic changes come about.I was also pulled over one time between Tampico, It is a very scary moment. At the time I used to check these forums religiously for "tips" information in regards to any and all information regarding such car jacking, and / or narco violence. NOt perfect, I agree but the information gave me choices.

I thank you for posting this information. Not that (as I said) do I take these roads anymore, but it still gives information to all of us, that allows people, to make as informed a decision, as can be possible in these times. I do sincerely hope that as you learn more facts about this situation, you will let us know more about them. What were they driving (year, make and model), what times of the day did this happen, exactly on which highway, how many miles from Matamoros . . . . . for some of us, this is excellent information so we can be well aware of what to look for and what to do and not to do.

Some folks may tell you none of this is important, but I can tell you after many, many trips on these highways, I was always happy for additional information regarding any travel on these roads. Certainly not happy, or blood thirsty to know the gory details, but information that assisted me many times to which routes I would take at the time. Please continue to post any more information for others that also could find this useful.

I wish your friends well.

Gratefully,
Robt65


norteño

Apr 4, 2011, 12:22 PM

Post #4 of 16 (14957 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Warning to drivers

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There have been stories in the Mexican news in very recent days of many dozens of people being kidnapped off of buses on that stretch of road as well as from private vehicles, and very strong but officially unconfirmed rumors of a mass grave being found this weekend containing some of the victims. The army announced it had rescued a half dozen kidnap victims within the last couple of days. At least some bus companies had re-routed all their runs to avoid that highway. The army has confirmed many earlier cases of travelers being killed along that highway.


panama john

Apr 6, 2011, 4:58 PM

Post #5 of 16 (14755 views)

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Re: [Sisalena] Warning to drivers

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Having lived on the border for several years,Harlingen Tx., I traveled that road, Hi Way 101, many times to Ciudad Victoria,at one time an excellent place to live. It was an easy and plesant trip, stopping in Nuevo Padilla to buy citrus bee honey,Lake Vicente Guerro to eat bass, fresh out of the lake, always treated very well by friendly and courteous people. But unfortunately this is now all history. The state of Tamulipas is almost totally under the control of the drug cartels. No where is safe. The last time we traveled that Hi Way( the costal route) from our present home in Cordaba Ver.,July 2010. We passed through two shotouts, balaceras. One had just ended and the army was cleaning up the debris,cars, bodies, etc. This was close to San Fernando, a once popular hunting destination for Texans. Within 45 minutes we came upon another, on the road to Valle Hermoso, the short route to the Los Indios border crossing. Shortly after turning onto this road we came upon a long line of trucks and buses parked on the side of the road.I parked behind the vehicles and asked some truckers what was going on. They told me that there was a balacera just up ahead, at that point I could hear shooting, some automatic weapons. We turned around and took Hi Way 101 into Matamoros,without more incidents but many army and police stops, and crossed at the Brownsville Veterans Int. Bridge. This was about the time when things were really getting out of hand in that sector and have gotten exponentially worse since then.
At that time I decided to stay away from that route and Northern Mexico in general until this so called narco war is over and things return to near normal. Which I believe some day will happen, in one manner or another. When we travel north we now take the longer, but safer HiWay 57 to Mission Tx., Anzalduas Bridge. No problems YET, but you can never take anything for granted while traveling in Mexico. It's important to keep in mind that things can change drastically from one minute to the next, and try to be ready to respond accordingly.


norteño

Apr 6, 2011, 5:39 PM

Post #6 of 16 (14743 views)

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Re: [panama john] Warning to drivers

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Over the last several days the Reforma site and various social networks including Twitter have been ablaze with what sounded like wild rumors about what is going on in Tamaulipas along the route from the Veracruz border to Matamoros and Reynosa, but the following have all been confirmed by news reports. To briefly recap the past week:

Last week the army killed nine cartel gunmen in the municipality of El Higo, Veracruz, very close to Tampico, that were blamed for kidnapping, among other crimes.

The army reported killing seven gunmen in a clash at Reynosa.

Bus companies reported that their buses were being stopped in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, between Ciudad Victoria and the border, and passengers removed. One line alone reported more than three dozen passengers were kidnapped and reports were that there were at least 91 in all, not counting people kidnapped from private vehicles. Most were reportedly released soon in what are called "express kidnappings", and the army reported the rescue of seven by helicopter and the capture of the kidnappers.

Four headless bodies were found along the Cd. Victoria-Matamoros highway at what is called the "Y" at a place called La India.

The army reported killing five cartel gunmen in a battle at Ciudad Mante. Social network postings are insistent that there was a bigger shootout the day before when many more were killed, and that most were soldiers.

Six state police were ambushed and killed in El Higo, Veracruz, the same place previously referred to.

And now this find in San Fernando, the same place the 72 migrant laborers were massacred last year. Other sites say that 60 bodies have been found already. There is speculation that these bodies are those that were kidnapped from buses and other vehicles in recent days but supposedly most of those were released:

http://m.cnnmexico.com/nacional/2011/04/06/autoridades-hallan-una-fosa-con-cuerpos-en-san-fernando-tamaulipas

Authorities find a grave with 43 bodies in San Fernando, Tamaulipas
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 18:46

(CNNMéxico) - CNN reports that according to sources in the Federal Attorney General's office Mexican authorities have found a clandestine grave with at least 43 bodies in the municipality of San Fernando, Tamaulipas, in the northeastern part of the state...



(This post was edited by norteño on Apr 6, 2011, 5:46 PM)


Altahabana


Apr 6, 2011, 6:19 PM

Post #7 of 16 (14728 views)

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Re: [panama john] Warning to drivers

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The problems along the highways in most of Tamaulipas have been going on for quite some time. I was criticized last November

http://www.mexconnect.com/...;;page=unread#unread


for giving advice like the following:

http://www.mexconnect.com/...?post=155314;#155314

Few posters live in Tamaulipas and simply aren't aware of what is actually happening in the state. The problems have gotten more attention recently because of incidents which attract the attention of the US media, like the murder of the jet skier on Falcon Lake and the fatal wounding of the American missionary. Sadly central and southern Tamaulipas is a virtual war zone and the only semblance of order is provided by the military.


robt65

Apr 6, 2011, 7:57 PM

Post #8 of 16 (14681 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Warning to drivers

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I used to wait until Altahabana made his responses to various posters and people who replied when I did live in Tamaulipas. My wife and I had rented a home in Madero. Her parents at the time lived in Altamira. I could see trouble developing in Tamaulipas. My wife and I were married two years ago in Madero, Tamaulipas. As soon as humanly possible I wanted out of there. I was still in business NOB and was wrapping up my business preparing for retirement. We became pregnant (with much surprise) after our marriage. I found a much better and safer place for our family in the state of Queretaro. I found a home for us and my wife and I and our then 6 year old daughter, moved within six or eight months. During those six or eight months, killings were becoming rampant at night in Madero, Tampico and Altamira. The schools even in Altamira were sent notices verbally and written on sheets and hung at the schools by the cartels. Schools were shutdown for days and weeks at a time for the protection of the children and teachers. Killings were starting to happen even in the day time. Many times, I would seek Altahabana’s advise, as well as other people who gave up to date road reports. I had no choice, I had a pregnant wife and a daughter as well as my wife’s parents there. I also drove at the time a three year old Tahoe. Time finally was kind to us and we moved to Queretaro. Long story short , my wife and I also moved her parents from Altamira to Queretaro. Altahabana knows the roads there well. I was always scared silly on that drive, but I had to go. I sorted out the most recent information from my hotel room in Brownsville the best I could, and made that drive successfully many times with help from above and many here on this forum. To this day, I seek his road advise and others, as well as current knowledge of events. This is all I have to make my last minute decisions as to where I will cross this time, coming and going NOB. I would strongly suggest people listen to Altahabana, he knows his roads. Thanks many times over Altahabana, as well as all other posters who continue to give as much information as this forum will allow for various events of this kind. It gives me and my family, a little peace of mind during those first and last few hours of each necessary travel NOB.
robt65


lichen

May 14, 2011, 7:47 PM

Post #9 of 16 (13596 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Warning to drivers

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I am considering two different routes to the border:
1. Up the Gulf to Tampico and then taking 70 to SLP and heading north on cuota from there..
2. Taking cuota through Orizaba, etc to the arco and up north from there..
I would rather do the first option and spend some time in the Huasteca at waterfalls, etc.. BUT I am interested to know if anyone has any opinions about the security of the road from Veracruz to Tampico and from Tampico to SLP..
Thanks for any thoughts...


Altahabana


May 15, 2011, 3:12 AM

Post #10 of 16 (13572 views)

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Re: [lichen] Warning to drivers

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 There is always the potential for open violence in Tampico because there are sizable numbers of both factions in the Zeta-Gulf conflict in the general area and they are active. Most of the problems though that have generated the negative publicity for Tamaulipas are north of Tampico and not on the route you asked about.

In my opinion any area where the two warring cartels are active increases the possibility a traveler will have a negative experience so it really depends on your tolerance for risk. But aside from Tampico I haven't heard or seen anything specific about the route between Tampico and SLP.


(This post was edited by Altahabana on May 15, 2011, 3:31 AM)


Reefhound


May 15, 2011, 8:49 AM

Post #11 of 16 (13507 views)

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Re: [lichen] Warning to drivers

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There is a big sign leading out of Rio Verde towards Cd Valles warning of insurgentes. But I've never seen anything threatening.

The biggest risk is the road itself, which is two lane most of the way and has steep climbs and sharp switchbacks for about half of it as you cross several mountain ranges. In some places you have steep drops beside the road of several hundred feet. Sometimes you get stuck behind cane trucks struggling uphill at 10mph and other times you find yourself in front of Grand Prix racers. Watch for overheated brakes and pull off if you start smelling them. The road surface itself is good.

Unless you really need to go to SLP city I'd suggest taking the Via Corta cuota just before you enter Rio Verde. It will get you to Mx57 in less than an hour, compared to almost 2 hours if you continue on Mx70. Here's the sign to look for.



robt65

May 15, 2011, 12:57 PM

Post #12 of 16 (13453 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Warning to drivers

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Reefhound

Now that's what I call a pretty darn good road report! How did you do that reefhound? Maybe you could make a library of those for those of us old geezers whose eyesight isn't so good. I would have loved to have one of those to print out on a couple of the Reynosa to Saltillo, and to HWY 57 Cuota turn offs I almost missed. When you are driving alone and don't have the luxury of a co-pilot / Navigator that is the answer!

robt65


Reefhound


May 15, 2011, 3:40 PM

Post #13 of 16 (13418 views)

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Re: [robt65] Warning to drivers

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You mean how did I make a link to a street view? In google, find what you want (map, sat, or street) and in the upper right corner is a Link jyperlink. Click it and a box displays with the link to paste in an email or document, or the code to embed in a web page.


robt65

May 15, 2011, 6:27 PM

Post #14 of 16 (13379 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Warning to drivers

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Thanks Reefhound,

That is as slick as . . . . . . you know what! There are a few turns from one Cuota to another both coming and going from and to Anzalduas International Bridge in Reynosa from San Juan del Rio, Queretaro. The signage is there but so close to the turn at one place and around a bend at another place just before making the turn, it can sneak up on an “old fella” pretty quick. I am going to give that a try, but I must admit, I am a “certified computer dummy”, but I will try my best.

robt65


lichen

May 18, 2011, 12:42 PM

Post #15 of 16 (13111 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Warning to drivers

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Thanks a ton for the info.. I think, however that Insurgentes is the name of the street onto which one turns !!! Not a reference to modern rebels!


Reefhound


May 18, 2011, 2:26 PM

Post #16 of 16 (13087 views)

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Re: [lichen] Warning to drivers

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Now that is embarrassing but somewhat of a relief. I guess the color scheme of black on yellow that usually denotes a hazard or warning threw me off.
 
 
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