U.S. Gov't to Workers: Get Families Out of TJ - NBC Bay Area

U.S. Gov't to Workers: Get Families Out of TJ

After deaths in Juarez, State Department authorizes family leave



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    AP/Denis Poroy
    Police in Tijuana are being threatened by name over police radios, then the threats are being made good on, according to a published report.

    The State Department authorized U.S. government employees in Tijuana and six other Mexico cities to send their family members out of the area because of concerns about rising drug-related violence.

    The decisions comes after three people with ties to the American consulate, including two U.S. citizens, were killed in a drive-by shooting Juarez, a drug-plagued Mexican city, a U.S. official said Sunday.

    The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has advised American citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of the Mexican states of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua.

    Two American citizens and a spouse of a Mexican employee were killed Saturday afternoon, a U.S. official said. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

    The White House said President Barack Obama was "deeply saddened and outraged" by the killings of those linked to the U.S. mission in Ciudad Juarez.

    "He extends his condolences to the families and condemns these attacks on consular and diplomatic personnel serving at our foreign missions," the White House said in a statement. "In concert with Mexican authorities, we will work tirelessly to bring their killers to justice."

    U.S. government employees at six U.S. consulates in northern Mexico were advised by the U.S. State Department to send their family members out of the area. The State Department said it would allow family members of diplomatic staff to leave border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

    State Department spokesman Fred Lash said the decision to authorize consular employees' family members to leave the area was based not only on Saturday's killings but also on a wider pattern of violence and threats in northern Mexico in recent weeks.

    At least 18,000 people have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug traffickers in December 2006.

    The bloody drug war in has plagued the 200-mile U.S.-Mexican border for years, and once-busy streets are empty after dark. More than 45,000 soldiers have been dispatched to fight cartels since Calderon took office in late 2006, but the U.S. has been critical of Mexican efforts to fight the drug trade amid complaints of human rights abuses.