Though the names of the victims have not been released, the 13-year-old was a U.S. citizen and his parents were permanent residents in the U.S., according to the attorney general’s office in Tamaulipas, Mexico.
It’s been reported by CBS News that the Chevrolet SUV had Oklahoma license plates and was ambushed as the family was returning from visiting relatives in the state of San Luis Potosi, located just south of Tamaulipas in Central Mexico.
The highway on which the family was attacked is considered a high-risk area disputed over by rival cartels, including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. It connects the cities of Mier and Nueva Ciudad Guerrero along the Rio Grande River just south of Falcon Heights.
Earlier this year, nine Americans, including three women and six children, were killed by cartel gunmen when their vehicles were attacked less than 100 miles from the U.S. border.
Saturday’s attacks come just days after Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar urged the public against traveling to Nuevo Laredo in the state of Tamaulipas amid intensive shootings between cartel members and the state police.
Bordering Texas cities that include McAllen, Brownsville, and Laredo, the Tamaulipas region is considered a highly dangerous area with violence from competing cartels regularly creating threats to public safety.
The State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for the Tamaulipas region, advising the public not to travel to the area based on high levels of organized crime largely driven by the cartels, including gun battles, murder, robbery, kidnapping, and other forms of assault.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.