Notre Dame fans heading for the Sun Bowl have been warned to avoid Juarez across the border from El Pas.,

Juarez is a center of the drug smuggling region in Mexico and scenes of violent shootouts between drug gangs. (pictured)

Sun Bowl officials are warning fans that Juarez is one of the most violent cities on earth with 3,000 slayings last year.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has also issued a strong warning. "Don't go over the border, or you may not come back," said the Notre Dame football head coach

"Now I know El Paso is the safest city in the country. But it's serious. This isn't, 'Hey, let's give it a shot, guy, and jump in the car and see what it's like.'"

Kelly is especially worried some of his players might seek a night out across in Mexico and has imposed a strict curfew.

Part of the Sun Bowl experience used to be a "twin-nation vacation," said Bernie Olivas, executive director of the bowl.

Not any more. A quarter of the population of Juarez has fled, many across the border

Olivas, born in El Paso, said he has not crossed to Juarez since the 2007 Sun Bowl week. "I had a lot of relatives in Juarez, and we used to cross all the time. We never even thought about it," he said.

The State Department has issued travel warnings against going there also.