The US State Department has added the border town of Nogales to its growing list of Mexican cities that are becoming more dangerous because of violence. Drug cartels have been clashing in an attempt to gain control of lucrative smuggling routes. Daylight firefights have taken place in major border cities like Juarez and Tijuana.
More than 1,000 people have been killed as a result of the fighting this year in Juarez alone.
Cartels have also clashed with the Mexican police and army. These shootouts resemble war combat more than they do gang shootings. Both sides are armed with automatic weapons, and cartels are deploying grenades and rocket launchers. Some of these battles have taken place near popular shopping areas, putting the general public in the line of fire. Thus far, the State Department warning has not stemmed the flow at the Nogales border crossing. According to customs officials, there are more than 40,000 per day crossing into Nogales from Arizona. That’s about average for this time of year. Perhaps people just don’t take the warnings seriously. Meanwhile, Mexican officials are trying to get the cartel problem under control by deploying army units to the area.