ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A simple road trip to Mexico for an Arlington couple turned into a nightmare just after they crossed the border.
The couple set out on the 1,000 mile drive to Leon, Mexico on Monday, packed into a truck with a week’s worth of luggage and gifts for their family.
Just two miles into Nuevo Laredo, the trip ended unexpectedly. “I saw this car kind-of toward the end of this little ramp,” said the wife, who did not want to be identified. “Then two guys come out of the back of the car with guns.”
“It was huge, really. It was two inches from my head” she said, visibly shaken by the memory.
There have been warnings from the U.S. State Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety about violence in Nuevo Laredo, but the woman says it was never clear how dangerous the trip actually was.
She says the Mexican Consulate in Dallas gave them a driving permit before they left, and they asked if their planned route throught the country was a dangerous drive. She says the Consulate told them “oh no, everything is just fine.”
She says Mexican Army soldiers, which have replaced police in the city, helped the couple to the border, but she says they found little help beyond that. “No one, No Mexican official, No U.S. official, basically could do anything.”
She says the only way they were able to get anyone’s attention was to cause a scene at the border, urging others not to cross. Only then did the process to get them back over the border speed up.
The couple spent four hours at the border before walking back into the United States. They then made their way to a Wells Fargo, convincing the bank to let them access their account to get money for a bus ride home.
When asked by CBS 11 if there is any help for an American who is a victim of crime in Mexico, the Mexican Consulate, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Border Patrol all said the U.S. State Department might be the only agency that can help.
The couple says the violence they experienced first hand changed their outlook on Mexico, immigration, and the role Texas plays into the situation. “These people are coming here by the thousands because they’re afraid for their lives, on a daily basis.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety says they will reach out to the couple to offer what help they can, possibly with some victim advocate services.