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Where Not to Go in Mexico: The 16 Most Dangerous States

Due to "violent crime and gang activity," the State Department has warned people from traveling to the following Mexican states: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. Eleven more states (Mexico has 32) have travel advisories in effect.

A Level 1 warning means "excercise normal precautions." A Level 2 warning means "exercise extreme caution." A Level 3 warning means "reconsider travel." A Level 4 warning means "do not travel." 

No state has a Level 1 warning, Sixteen states have Level 2 warnings.

On Mar. 7, the U. S. Embassy in Mexico City issued a security alert for Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo (Level 2). It reads: "The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City received information about a security threat in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. Effective immediately, U.S. government employees are prohibited form traveling to Playa del Carmen until further notice. The U.S. Consular Agency at Playa del Carmen will be closed until further notice." 

The recent explosion on a ferry and the subsequent discovery of a explosive (it didn't go off) on another ferry has authorities concerned as Speing Breakers are expected to descend on Cancun and Playa

Last year, there were shootings at two clubs in Playa. One person was killed in a cartel-related shooting at a club there on July 2 when three gunmen opened fire on the crowd. This followed the Jan. 16, 2017 club shooting in Playa that killed five and injured 15. 

These are Mexico's Level 3 and Level 4 states:

Chihuahua (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are widespread."

Coahuila (Level 4): "Violent crime is widespread. Local law enforcement has limited capability to prevent and respond to crime, particularly in the northern part of the state."

Colima (Level 4): "Violent crime and gang activity are widespread."

Durango (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity along the highways are common."

Estado de Mexico (Level 3): "Violent crime is common."

Guerrero (Level 4): "Armed groups operate independently of the goverment in many areas. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers."

Jalisco (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are common." 

Michoacán (Level 4): "Do not travel due to crime."

Morelos (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are common."

Nayarit (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are common."

Nuevo Leon (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are common."

San Luis Potosi (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity are common."

Sinaloa (Level 4): "Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinoloa."

Sonora (Level 3): "A key location utilized by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks, However, northern Sonora experiences much lower levels of crime than cities closer to Sinaloa and other parts of Mexico."

Tamaulipas (Level 4): "Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state."  

Zacatecas (Level 3): "Violent crime and gang activity along are common."

The states with Level 2 warnings are: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Mexico City (Federal District), Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Yucatan.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.