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Mexico violence claims two more US citizens on increasingly perilous border

The Monitor's bureau chief in Mexico recalls when Americans thought nothing of crossing the border for a taco or inexpensive dental work. Those days are over.

By Staff writer / April 5, 2011



Mexico City

Back in 2005, when our former Latin America bureau chief visited Matamoros on the US-Mexico border, she found Americans unfazed by increasing violence. US citizens still opted to ignore US advisories in favor of cheese enchiladas, Mexican trinkets, and cheap prescription drugs.

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By the time I came onto the job, just about a year later, border life was still bustling, but people were starting to question whether getting something like a cheap root canal in Mexico was actually worth the risks of crossing into the country.

Now comes news that two Americans have been shot at the border in Tijuana on their way to work. The incident is not a rarity: foreigners get killed along the border, and throughout Mexico, each year.

It is unclear what the motive was in this case. Details will be forthcoming. But at face value, the idea of two US citizens killed during their morning commute will only make more Americans reticent to seek a “Mexican” experience south of the border.

Sergio Salcido Luna and Kevin Joel Romero were reportedly shot several times in the pickup truck they were driving. The US press is reporting that the two had opted to live on the Mexican side of the border for personal reasons, including saving money on housing.

Their employer told the San Diego Union-Tribune that both men had worked at a Californian beverage company for about 1 and 1/2 years. “They were good guys,” he said. “I don’t think they were dealing drugs, selling drugs, or anything to do with drugs. They were both very hardworking individuals. They had a zest for life.”

Reporter Sandra Dibble offers more details about the case, including a statement by Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez who said one of the victims had a small packet of drugs on him and that his office was investigating whether the homicides were drug-related.

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