Prosecutors in Mexico said Thursday they arrested two more men in the March 3 kidnapping of four Americans and the killing of two of them.
The Gulf drug cartel handed over five men to police soon after the kidnapping in the border city of Matamoros, and prosecutors said the two newly arrested suspects also appeared to be members of the same cartel.
The pair were arrested Sunday during raids in the northern border state of Tamaulipas and were flown to Mexico City on a military plane. It wasn’t immediately clear why the arrests weren’t announced at the time.
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Federal prosecutors have not provided the full names of the suspects, but the details and names match two men listed in a federal database as arrested that day in Tamaulipas. Those names — Axel Alfredo Cárdenas and Alan Alexis Cárdenas — suggest they are related to Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the captured Gulf Cartel leader in 2003.
Prosecutors confirmed that the two were sons of Osiel Cardenas’ nephew, José Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, who was arrested in 2022. They also said that the two assumed leadership roles in the cartel after their father’s arrest.
The two allegedly headed gangs of cartel gunmen known as the Scorpions and Cyclones. They were caught in a morning raid in which police found six guns and over a thousand doses of “synthetic drugs,” a term used in Mexico to refer to methamphetamines or fentanyl.
The statement did not specify the charges the men faced, but said they had been involved in drug and migrant trafficking, kidnapping and extortion in the Matamoros area.
In March, less than a week after the kidnappings, a letter claiming to be from the Scorpion faction of the Gulf Cartel condemned the violence and said the gang had turned over its responsible members to the authorities. A Mexican woman also died in the March 3 shooting.
“We have decided to hand over those directly involved and responsible for the events, who at all times acted on the basis of their decision-making power and lack of discipline,” the letter reads, adding that those people had gone against the rules of the cartel , which include “respect for the life and welfare of the innocent”.
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Five men were found tied up inside one of the vehicles authorities were looking for, along with the letter.
The four Americans entered Matamoros from Texas so that one of them could have cosmetic surgery. Around noon, they were shot in the center of Matamoros and then loaded onto a pickup truck.
Americans Zindell Brown and Shaeed Woodard died in the attack; Eric Williams and Latavia McGee survived. Most of them had grown up together in the small town of Lake City, South Carolina.
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A Mexican woman, Areli Pablo Servando, 33, was also killed, apparently by a stray bullet.