U.S.-Mexico border

A Border Patrol unit keeps watch on a hilltop opposite the Buenos Aires neighborhood in Nogales, Sonora, in 2016.

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for its employees and  U.S. citizens to reconsider their travels to Sonora, Mexico.

On Aug. 22, an advisory was issued due to crime, noting parts of the state are frequently used for drug trade and human trafficking. 

Sonora was given a level three rating, which is one level before "do not travel" advisories are issued.

The state department highlighted three specific areas in Sonora.

Employees visiting Puerto Peñasco — often called Rocky Point — can use the Lukeville, Ariz. crossing. The alternate route on Federal Highway 8 should only be used during the daytime.

Eastern Sonora, which borders Chihuahua, and all points along the border east of Federal Highway 45 are prohibited from travel, the advisory says.

In Nogales, government employees are not permitted to use taxi services, but travel by bus is encouraged. A vehicle should be the only mode of transportation used at night.

Employees should also avoid El Centro and all night clubs after 10 p.m.

However, the department noted that "northern Sonora experiences much lower levels of crime than cities closer to Sinaloa and other parts of Mexico."

A "do not travel" advisory was designated to San Carlos, Guaymas, Empalme, and all points south of Hermosillo by Federal Highway 15, the advisory says.

U.S. government employees may travel between Nogales and Hermosillo only during the daytime. Travelers should use Federal Highway 15 through Imuris, Magdalena, and Santa Ana.

The region "west of the Mariposa Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar," are designated as "do not travel" areas.

While there are specific advisories for travel, "conditions in any country may change at any time," the department says.

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or sdavis@tucson.com

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1