Mexican Federal Highway 101

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Federal Highway 101 shield

Federal Highway 101
Carretera Federal 101
Route information
Maintained by Secretariat of Communications and Transportation
Length: 492 km[1] (306 mi)
Major junctions
North end: Fed. 2 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas

Fed. 97 in General Francisco Villa[2]
Fed. 180 in La Coma
Fed. 107 in Jiménez
Fed. 83

Fed. 85 in Ciudad Victoria
South end: Fed. 80 in Tula Junction
Highway system

Mexican Federal Highways
List • Autopistas

Fed. 100 Fed. 102

Mexican Federal Highway 101 (Carretera Federal 101) connects Matamoros, Tamaulipas, to Mexican Federal Highway 80 in San Luis Potosí.[3] It passes through Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, and Tula. The route traverses the Sierra Madre Oriental cordillera.

'The Highway of Death'[edit]

The highway is known by local residents as the 'Highway of Death.'[4] Those who traveled through this highway in 2010 and 2011 used to see "burned vehicles, bullet-shot trucks on the side of the road, and dead bodies, often decapitated, that the cartels would leave behind."[5] Others who have traveled through this highway and have survived car hijackings and checkpoints the organized crime groups have installed from Padilla to San Fernando have confessed what happens on the highway.[4] A man who managed to survive a hijacking confesses on what he saw:

"There were four SUVs, all grey and with tinted windows. Everyone was armed."[6]

The violence and constant car hijackings have been so bad that buses lines avoid Mexican Federal Highway 101 by driving out miles away to avoid the road.[6] Another report from a woman who survived a hijacking said through El Universal newspaper that heavily armed men would stop buses at roadblocks, and then force women and young girls at gunpoint, "strip them naked, rape them," and then drive away in trucks, leaving the passengers traumatized.[6] One bus driver, "who said he had avoided being stopped thus far," claimed that another bus driver at the station had said that 12 people were pulled down of the passenger bus just 30 minutes before him.[6] Other witnesses claim that once the buses were stopped, gunmen would storm the bus and point at certain passengers and say "you, you're coming down," and take them at gunpoint.[4] The buses were then ordered to leave.[4]

During normal times, the Mexican Federal Highway 101 is the biggest and most important transportation system in the state of Tamaulipas, and it connects the state with Matamoros, Tamaulipas and Texas with the rest of Tamaulipas.[7] Local residents mention that there is only traffic on this highway during daylight.[5] As of 2012, they mention that the cartels "still kill people in San Fernando."[5] The United States has issued travel warnings south of the border.[8]


  1. ^ "Datos Viales de Tamaulipas" (PDF) (in Spanish). Dirección General de Servicios Técnicos, Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. 2011. pp. 5–6. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  2. ^ "Datos Viales de Tamaulipas" (PDF) (in Spanish). Dirección General de Servicios Técnicos, Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. 2011. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  3. ^ Mapa Nacional de Comunicaciones y Transportes
  4. ^ a b c d Torres, Alberto (13 April 2011). "Choferes eluden la "vía de la muerte"". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "San Fernando, donde el miedo no se ha ido". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 20 February 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Ramsey, Geoffrey (13 April 2011). "Video: 'Highway of Death' Runs Past Mass Graves in Northern Mexico". Insight Crime. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "La autopista de la muerte". Diario de Yucatán (in Spanish). 24 April 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "American consul speaks about dangerous San Fernando highway". KGBT-TV. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012.