The State Department confirmed it is aware of a Mexican alert saying two American children were reported missing in the country as the U.S. Embassy for Mexico recently issued a travel alert to spring break travelers.
Hugo Yarset Monfort Luna, 9, and his 16-year-old sister, Aranza Yosemiti Monfort Luna, went missing in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, according to an amber alert sent by the the District Attorney’s Office on Monday. The alert notes that the children are American.
“Because of the circumstances of their disappearance, age and the time passed, the missing minors could find themselves in imminent danger,” the alert said in Spanish.
Both the girl and her brother were seen last week leaving a home in Garcia, Nuevo Leon, said the district attorney’s office. It’s not clear if either child lives in the United States or Mexico.
“We are aware of reports of two missing U.S. citizens in Mexico,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told news outlets Tuesday. Because of privacy considerations, the agency spokesperson had no further comment on the incident.
Se activa #AlertaAmber
La #fiscalianl solicita de su colaboración para la localización de los menores Aranza Yosemiti Monfort Luna y Hugo Yarset Monfort Luna. Por favor comparte. pic.twitter.com/uGuLfRXYCm
— Fiscalía Nuevo León (@FiscaliaNL) March 21, 2023
Four Americans were kidnapped earlier in March in the border state of Tamaulipas, two of whom were killed in an attack officials have linked to a drug gang. Five alleged Mexican drug cartel members were arrested over the kidnapping.
It comes as a number of American citizens are slated to travel to or have already gone to Mexico for spring break. Several days ago, the U.S. Embassy for Mexico issued a renewed travel alert to those seeking to travel south of the border, warning about kidnappings, crime, and counterfeit medication.
“Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations. Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations,” the Embassy warned. “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark,” it said.
The embassy’s alert also pointed to the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Mexico. A number of states carry a “Do Not Travel” warning, the highest alert level on the agency’s travel advisory system.
Outside of crime, the alert also warns Americans about unknown drinks or substances, noting that counterfeit drugs and unregulated alcohol is widespread in Mexico. It also warned Americans not to carry guns or possess medical marijuana, which is illegal in Mexico.
“U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills,” the warning stated.
Several weeks ago, officials in Texas called on Americans to avoid going to Mexico altogether after the high-profile kidnapping of four Americans earlier this month. The city where the four were abducted, Matamoros, is located just minutes south of Brownsville, Texas.
“Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into Mexico right now,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “We have a duty to inform the public about safety, travel risks and threats. Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”
It comes as at least five suspected criminals and two soldiers were killed during a shooting out in southwestern Mexico, officials said Saturday. Local authorities said that the attackers were alleged members of La Familia Michoacana, a drug cartel.
Reuters contributed to this report.