Two US citizens kidnapped in Mexico found dead, two survive

MATAMOROS: Two American citizens kidnapped by suspects Mexican drug dealers were found dead on Tuesday while two others survived, in what officials said was a tragic case of mistaken identity.
Washington has pledged to do everything in its power to ensure justice for the victims, who crossed the border into the crime-ridden city of Matamoros to Tamaulipas state on Friday for medical reasons.
Early indications were that the kidnapping was the result of a “confusion” rather than a targeted attack, Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios told reporters.
The two survivors were returned to the United States via a land border crossing between Matamoros and Brownsville, Texas, officials said.
American media named them Latavia Washington McGee and Eric James Williams.
One was shot in the leg and the other is unharmed, according to the governor of Tamaulipas, Americo Villarreal.
The victims traveled to Mexico because one of them was considering having cosmetic surgery, he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the two deaths occurred before or during the rescue operation, but Villarreal said preliminary investigations suggested all four were alive until at least Monday.
“During the three days following the criminal act, the four people deprived of their liberty were transferred to various locations, including a clinic, in order to confuse and avoid rescue efforts,” he said. he declares.
The bodies of the two US citizens who lost their lives are expected to be repatriated within hours of completing forensic studies in Mexico, Villarreal added.
The victims had traveled to Matamoros on Friday in a white pickup truck with North Carolina plates, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in an earlier statement.
He offered a $50,000 reward for assistance leading to the return of the unidentified victims and the arrest of the perpetrators.
“Shortly after crossing into Mexico, unidentified gunmen fired on the passengers of the (minivan). The four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken away from the scene by gunmen,” the FBI said.
A 33-year-old Mexican woman died near the scene, possibly from a stray bullet, Mexican officials said.
The White House has denounced the kidnappings as “unacceptable” and offered its condolences to the families of the victims.
“We will work closely with the Mexican government to ensure justice is served in this case,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will be “relentless” in pursuing justice on behalf of victims.
“We will do everything in our power to identify, find and hold accountable the individuals responsible for this attack on American citizens,” he added.
Mexican authorities said they arrested a suspect who was guarding the abductees at a home in Matamoros.
“We are truly sorry that this is happening in our country,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters, offering his condolences to the families of the victims.
“Those responsible will be found. They will be punished,” he added.
Tamaulipas is one of the Mexican states most affected by drug trafficking and other organized crimes.
US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said the kidnapping was “a tragic reminder” that the two countries must “strengthen the fight against criminal organizations” along their shared border.
The Latin American country has been plagued by cartel-linked bloodshed that has seen more than 340,000 people murdered since the government deployed the military in the war on drugs in 2006.
The US State Department advises against traveling to Tamaulipas due to dangers such as “shootings, murders, armed robberies, carjackings, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, extortion and sexual assaults “.
Despite the risks, Matamoros, located on the banks of the Rio Grande River separating the two countries, is a major stopover for irregular migrants heading to the United States.


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