Gang violence in Mexico has some border residents on edge

Cartel violence on the border

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Cochise County Sheriffs Office is advising those traveling to Mexico to take extra precautions following gang-related shootings along the border on Monday that left at least 10 people dead.

A post on their Facebook page has 2,000 shares.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office has been advised of significant violence occurring in Mexico in the towns of Agua...

Posted by Cochise County Sheriff's Office - Mark J. Dannels Sheriff on Monday, June 10, 2019

According to the CCSO, six were killed in Agua Prieta, while another four were killed in Naco, Mexico.

Officials say internal gang violence is to blame.

“I crossed through the border yesterday and I don’t want to go back,” said Manuel Leyva, who has a property on both sides of the border. “I’m not going to go back now, in two or three days maybe. We will see what happens."

”I have been living in Agua Prieta all of my life, so to me that’s just kind of normal," said Avelardo Gonzalez, who splits his time on both sides of the border. He says gang violence flares up every few years, and he will continue to cross without hesitation.

“We come and go everyday,” Gonzalez said. “It is not a problem for us.”

His wife, Elizabeth, was not so calm.

“As soon as you cross the border, you feel safer,” she said.

The spike in violence comes as Mexican officials announce they are sending 6,000 national guards troops to their southern and northern borders to bolster immigration enforcement.

“People don’t want to just be going about their day and be caught in some retaliatory conflict,” said Ken Peace, who crossed with a friend to buy cigarettes and liquor. He says the violence won’t stop them from crossing, but he believes it could keep some potential tourists north of the border.

“There might be people who are a little bit dodgy and might spend a little bit more money buying things in the small town (Douglas) instead of popping over.”

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada says he spoke with Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels about the shootings Monday night, but says none of the violence has made its way to Nogales.

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