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U.S. government employees in Tijuana, Mexico are being instructed to shelter in place after a sudden outbreak of violent crime.
Mexican law enforcement is investigating a series of vehicle fires and reports of violence in the area. The sudden outbreak of apparent arson has spooked officials and raised questions on the motive.
The U.S. government has ordered employees to stay sheltered and out of public places as a precaution.
“The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada and Tecate,” the consulate said. “U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice.”
The consulate recommended U.S. government employees “avoid the area, seek secure shelter if in the area, monitor local media for updates, be aware of surroundings and notify friends and family of [their] safety.”
Mayor Montserrat Caballero Ramírez told the press that at least 10 vehicle fires had been reported and that both police reserves and national guard units were ready to deploy if necessary, according to NBC 7 San Diego.
Tijuana has long been embroiled in domestic and international investigations of violent crime and drug trafficking.
Earlier this year, U.S. authorities announced the discovery of a massive tunnel stretching under the U.S.-Mexico border that was likely used to transport drugs undetected.
The “fully operational” tunnel, more than 1,700 feet long, runs from Tijuana to an industrial warehouse in San Diego.
Authorities said it contains a “sophisticated” structural system that was likely used to smuggle heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl into the U.S.