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Military Service Members Restricted in Travel to Mexico

By Lea Sutton
|  Saturday, Aug 17, 2013  |  Updated 10:02 AM PDT
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Much of Mexico is off limits to service members, and they are being warned to be careful in many of the areas where they are allowed to go. NBC 7's military reporter Lea Sutton has the story.

Much of Mexico is off limits to service members, and they are being warned to be careful in many of the areas where they are allowed to go. NBC 7's military reporter Lea Sutton has the story.

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Much of Mexico is off limits to service members, and they are being warned to be careful in many of the areas where they are allowed to go.

These restrictions and warnings are in the form of an "official use only" U.S. Northern Command directive to all service members.

It's a quick and easy trip from San Diego to our neighboring Mexico, but in recent years, there has been an increase in violence.

A NORTHCOM official tells NBC7 that’s one of several reasons service members are restricted in their travel there.

The latest NORTHCOM directive issued in July brought the number of prohibited Mexican states to 12.

This means more than a third of Mexico's states are off limits to U.S. service members, unless they're on official business.

Six more states are being called "areas of concern."

Roberto Hernandez is a professor of Chicano studies at SDSU. He says most of the violence in Mexico is actually very targeted, but that it makes sense for the military to limit travel there.

“This latest warning issued in July has to do with escalated violence in very targeted ways particularly around the drug cartels, never the less sometimes service members are seen as targets - as a way to get at the U.S.A.”, said Hernandez.

A NORTHCOM official tells NBC7 they've been largely mirroring State Department warnings pertaining to Mexico when issuing these directives. Service members are still allowed to travel to many of the popular tourist locations in Mexico.

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