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Mexico Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Apr 06, 2005

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the deterioration in recent weeks of local law enforcement in Cancun caused by a persistent shortage of municipal funds to pay for police and public services. Police responsiveness to emergency calls and investigation of crimes has been severely impaired, and the U.S. Consulate in Merida has received several reports of petty corruption and extortion aimed at U.S. travelers. This Public Announcement supplements the Announcement issued on January 26 and it expires on May 31.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun has received numerous allegations of tourists being extorted for money by taxi drivers and malfeasant police or individuals posing as police officers. In some cases, tourists have been taken to ATM machines for immediate payment of alleged infractions. In other cases, extortion attempts occur after a motorist (typically in a rental car) is stopped for an alleged moving violation. The motorist is threatened with imprisonment if a "fine" is not immediately paid, even though there is no proof that any infraction has been committed.

Visitors to Cancun should be aware that a written citation should be received before the payment of any fine. No money should be paid directly to a police officer. If you believe you are the victim of an extortion attempt, you should make a note of the officer's name and badge number, the time and location of the incident, and the number of the patrol car if applicable, and immediately call the U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun or the U.S. Consulate in Merida.

The U.S. Consular Agency is located on the second floor of Plaza Caracol, Boulevard Kukulcan, km. 8.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancun, and can be reached by telephone at (52) (998) 883-0272. The U.S. Consulate in Merida is located at Paseo Montejo No. 453, Col. Centro, Merida, Yucatan. The U.S. Consulate in Merida can be reached by e-mail at consularmerida@state.gov or by telephone at (52)(999) 925-5011 during working hours or (52)(999) 947-2285 after hours or on weekends.

Current information on travel and security in Mexico can be obtained from the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet, which can found at the Internet website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, http://travel.state.gov. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Consulate or through the Department of State's travel registration website: http://travelregistration.state.gov. For further information, U.S. citizens may also contact the Department of State toll-free at 1-888-407-4747. From outside the United States and Canada, call 202-501-4444. This is a toll call.

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