A member of Mexican security forces stands next to a white minivan with North Carolina plates and multiple bullet holes at the crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four US citizens entering Mexico from Texas, Friday, March 3, 2023. took. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said four Americans were going to buy medicine and were caught in a crossfire between two armed groups after entering Matamoros from Brownsville, Texas, on Friday.
of two Four Americans shot and abducted by gunmen The victims died shortly after crossing the border into northern Mexico for a medical procedure last week, according to the governor of Tamaulipas state.
Gov. Americo Villarreal made the announcement Tuesday morning by phone at a presidential news conference, noting that other Americans are alive. However, one of the surviving victims has been injured, he said. The person’s condition was not disclosed.
The governor said Tuesday morning the details were confirmed by prosecutors. He said ambulances and security personnel were on their way to provide assistance to the victims.
It is not clear where they were found.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said further details would be released later.
“We are very sorry that this happened in our country and we express our condolences to the families, friends and to the United States government of the victims, and we will continue to do our part to guarantee peace and tranquility,” he said.
Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica tweeted on tuesday The four US citizens were found by “joint search operations”. He said that the work is on to nab those involved in the abduction.
The FBI was offering a $50,000 reward for the safe return of American citizens. The group was abducted on Friday after driving from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, south of Brownsville, Texas.
Dramatic video showing a gunman dragging people into a white pickup truck captured the kidnapping, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the matter confirmed.
Authorities have not yet identified the four men.
But one of the victims was identified as Latavia Washington McGee by her cousin, Aliyah McLeod, who is serving as a family spokeswoman.
McLeod identified another member of the group as Martyr Woodard.
McCleod said the group is from South Carolina, and they were traveling in a rental vehicle with North Carolina license plates when they entered Matamoros. The FBI confirmed that the group was traveling in a white minivan with North Carolina plates.
McCludt said that the group had traveled to Mexico for a “medical procedure”. He said that his family is pleading for his safe return.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter said one of the women in the group was seeking a cosmetic medical procedure. The official said the gang’s gunmen had targeted the group in a case of mistaken identity.
Mexican Natioanla guards prepare a search mission for four US citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, March 6, 2023. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the four Americans were going to buy medicine and were caught in a crossfire between two armed men. Groups after entering Matamoros from Brownsville, Texas, on Friday.
Zalandria Brown from Florence, South Carolina said The Associated Press His younger brother, Zindel, was one of the four victims. She said she was in contact with the FBI and local authorities when she learned that her brother had been kidnapped.
“It’s like a nightmare you wish you could wake up to,” she told the news agency. “To see a member of my family being thrown and dragged behind a truck, it’s unbelievable.”
Brown said her brother, who lives in Myrtle Beach, went on a trip with a friend who was also traveling to Mexico for a procedure.
She also said that her brother had some reservations about traveling because of the potential dangers in Mexico.
“Zindel said, ‘We shouldn’t go down,'” Brown told the AP.
At a news briefing in Washington on Monday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration was “closely following the attack and kidnapping of four American citizens.”
“Such attacks are unacceptable,” he said.
“We will continue to coordinate with Mexico and press them to bring those responsible to justice,” Jean-Pierre said.
US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement on Monday that an “innocent Mexican citizen tragically died” during the abduction.
President López Obrador told a news conference that the Americans were in Mexico to buy the drug, a common practice for people seeking cheaper drugs. across the southern border,
The FBI and Mexican law enforcement are investigating, with the bureau asking the public for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is urged to call the San Antonio Division of the FBI at 210-225-6741.
to the State Departmentdo not travelAlert for the state of Tamaulipas due to “crime and kidnapping”. It said organized crime activity including gun battles, armed robberies and kidnappings is common along the border and in Ciudad Victoria.
“Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often carrying passengers and making ransom demands,” the alert said.
— Matteo Moschela and Rima Abdelkader contributed.