Spring Break party in Mexico? Texas officials advise no

AUSTIN, Tex. Tue Mar 1, 2011 2:40pm EST

Tourists rest at Cancun beach in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo in this February 26, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

Tourists rest at Cancun beach in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo in this February 26, 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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AUSTIN, Tex. (Reuters) - As college students prepare for the annual ritual of drunken Spring Break partying, Texas officials are urging them to stay away from Mexico.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw cited violence near the border and throughout the country.

"Drug violence has not discriminated -- innocent bystanders and people who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time are among the casualties," McCraw said in a written statement on Tuesday. "Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive."

The department urged Texans to stay on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake, a popular fishing and boating spot on the Rio Grande border, where American David Hartley was shot and killed last September. Officials also pointed to the killing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata near San Luis Potosi in February. And McCraw said "various crime problems exist" in popular resort destinations such as Acapulco and Cancun.

In December, Texas warned holiday travelers to avoid Mexico. The spring break warning is directed toward all Texans, but especially students, spokeswoman Tela Mange said.

"We are concerned about the potentially dangerous combination of youthful visitors, alcohol and drug traffickers fighting each other in the streets," Mange said.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune)

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