State Department re-issues Colombia, Jamaica travel warnings – NewsNation Now


(NewsNation) — The State Department is re-issuing an advisory warning against travel to Jamaica and Colombia due to a rise in drug cartels and violent crime.
“The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the agency said in a statement about Jamaica made Tuesday. “Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
In Colombia, officials warned about organized criminal activity such as extortion, robbery and kidnapping, warning that attacks can happen anywhere including restaurants or malls.
“The State Department doesn’t change advice lightly. It would have taken its sources from a variety of different areas. So there would be intelligence that has been gathered to say that the threat is there. It’s real and it’s not going to improve in the short term,” said travel safety expert Lloyd Figgins.
The State Department also highlighted several criminal and terrorist organizations driving crime in Colombia. U.S. pressure on Mexican cartels has shifted some operations south to Colombia, a Drug Enforcement Administration official told NewsNation.
“The Mexican cartels are running their organization like a global enterprise. They’re continuing to look for other jurisdictions to operate. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure right now from the US government on Mexico to do more against the cartels. And obviously, a good businessman is going to continue to identify areas to operate and so going to Colombia, going to other areas in South America or Central America is nothing new,” retired DEA officer Derek Maltz says.
In March, the Colombian president announced the arrest of several members of the Sinaloa cartel, caught trying to outsource their production of fentanyl to Colombia.
As a result, the State Department is also warning American tourists to completely avoid the border of Venezuela and Colombia, an area known for high crime and armed drug trafficking
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