- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2012

NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — The State Department consul assigned to Nogales and Puerto Penasco, Mexico, says the recent travel warning issued by the federal government is not meant to discourage Americans from visiting Mexico.

Chad Cummins said that while some areas of Sonora should be avoided, the State Department is merely advising U.S. citizens to “exercise caution” while visiting the border city of Nogales and the beach resort of Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point.

Exercising caution is the same thing someone does when crossing the street or when going out at night in a big city, Cummins told the Nogales International (https://bit.ly/wyX4rS ).

The federal government is not telling people to stay out of Mexico, Cummins said. “That is not the purpose of this travel alert,” he said.

Instead, the warning is meant to share the travel rules for consular personnel in Mexico with the general public, and offer a look at conditions on the ground as seen by State Department representatives there, Cummins said.

The travel warning was issued Feb. 8 and expands previous State Department warnings for Mexico to include advisories for all 31 states and the federal district of Mexico City.

The section on Sonora notes that Nogales and Puerto Penasco are the state’s major travel destinations in Sonora. It advises Americans to “exercise caution when visiting the coastal town of Puerto Penasco” and recommends that travelers access the beach town from the border crossing at Lukeville, Ariz.

The new State Department warning tells travelers that “Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and can be extremely dangerous for travelers.”

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