Former FBI Assistant Director Warns Mexico Not Safe for Spring Breakers

( – Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes told Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” on Wednesday that he would not send his kids to Mexico for spring break, because they could be attacked and kidnapped on their way to the resort.

This comes after four Americans were kidnapped and two of them killed by Mexican drug cartels in the Mexican city of Matamoros, which the State Department categorized as four on the travel advisory. Other parts of Mexico have a range of travel advisory levels from #1: “Exercise normal precautions,” #2: “Exercise increased caution,” #3: “Reconsider travel,” and #4: “Do not travel.”

“No. Absolutely not. The problem with these self-contained resorts, and they have all kinds of security and protection and everything, but you have to get to the resort, and so the danger is getting off the plane or the bus or the train and getting from the transportation hub to the actual resort, which there you have protection,” he said.

“En route you are in danger just like these Americans that were killed in Matamoros, because once they crossed the border they were on their own. Now they might have gone on their way to a medical facility that had security guards or any of that. We don’t know for sure, but, certainly once they crossed the border they were on their own,” Fuentes said.

Host Jesse Watters asked, “Let’s just say the college spring breakers they land at the airport, and they have transportation arranged, maybe through the hotel or they just go outside with their bags and flag down any taxi driver they can see, and let’s say it’s a 10, 15, 20, 30 minute ride to the resort. What kind of risk factor are you looking at in a ride like that?” 


FUENTES: Well, basically, it would be like playing golf in a very heavy lightning storm. Not everybody is going to get killed, but somebody is going to, and you want it to be you.

So that would be the problem with that is that as the traveler, you are taking a chance that it might be you, and if it’s going to be you, there is going to be very little anybody is going to do about it, especially if you go to a place like Cancun in the far southeast end of Mexico in the Yucatan, that’s a whole different story.

That’s nowhere near the United States border, and U.S. resources are a long way from being able to do anything to rescue you or anything else down there.

WATTERS: What if they target some rich daughter of some banker here in Manhattan? And they pick her up on the ride to the resort? You are looking at a hostage situation? What kind of money are they looking at here? 

FUENTES: Oh, it could be a lot of money. I was going to add when I ran FBI international operations my last five years and was in charge of all the offices around the world, including the half a dozen that we had in Mexico, we had in 2007, 2008 in that time frame, we were averaging about 300 cases a year of Americans that had gone into Mexico and at that time were taken hostage for ransom. 

In some of those cases, the cartel members wanted a million dollars to pay off, you know, to free the Americans and then later said okay, we will take 10,000. That’s wonderful. They negotiated it down to 10,000, but a number of those cases the people paid the 10,000 and were killed anyway. So there was no guarantee– paying the ransom was no guarantee that you would survive. 

WATTERS: And when the cartel says don’t get the FBI involved, are the parents supposed to get the FBI involved? 

FUENTES: Well, at that point there’s not a lot the FBI is going to be able to do, because they are on foreign soil, so they have to have the permission of the Mexican authorities and get the Mexicans to work with them to go after these guys. 

Fuentes said that President Biden doesn’t seem to have a strategy to deal with the Mexican drug cartels, and he warned that sending the U.S. military after them is problematic also.

Jesse, it doesn’t appear that they have one or, if they have, they have failed to articulate it in any kind of sensible manner that sounds like it’s going to be sensible. If they are going to have a strategy, it’s going to have to start with closing the border. That’s number one, and until they do that, they are not serious about any of this. 

So the idea that suddenly we are going to be able to unleash the U.S. military in Mexico, that was actually done 100 years ago to go after Pancho Villa. General Jack Pershing and a contingent from Fort Bliss were sent to track him down after he and his people shot up a new Mexico City and killed U.S. soldiers and American citizens. 

They spent 18 months in Mexico trying to chase him in the mountains unsuccessfully and then the president Woodrow Wilson brought them back to send them to France for World War I. So that expedition failed and it’s not too popular to this day with the Mexicans that know we did that. 

The problem also with, you know we’ve had officials saying that we can go after them like we did ISIS? Well, the advantage with ISIS and al-Qaeda was that much of their resources were out in the middle of the desert. They were isolated from major cities. So there was minimal collateral damage to bomb them, rocket them, send the military after them. 

These cartel members are living in cities. They are living amongst the people of Mexico. To surgically remove them, using the military would be quite a challenge to do. 

As previously reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is proposing designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and authorizing military action to go after them and especially drug labs producing deadly fentanyl.


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