Fate of 4 kidnapped Americans in Mexico still unknown
Officials from both countries reported Monday that four Americans traveling to Mexico to seek medical care were captured in a shootout and kidnapped.
They were travelling in a minivan white with North Carolina plates. The FBI released a statement Sunday stating that they were caught in the crossfire shortly after arriving in Matamoros, Texas, from Brownsville. It is located at the southernmost tip, near the Gulf coast.
The FBI stated that all four Americans were put in a vehicle and then taken away by armed men. For the return of the victims and for the arrest of the kidnappers, the FBI is offering $50,000 in reward.
Zalandria Brown from Florence, South Carolina said that she had been in touch with the FBI as well as local officials since learning that Zindell Brown is one of the victims.
She said that it was like waking up from a bad dream. It is amazing to see your family member being dragged behind a truck.
Zalandria Brown stated that her brother, who is from Myrtle Beach and two of her friends, had traveled with a third friend to Mexico for a tummy-tuck surgery. The Matamoros doctor that advertises these surgeries did not return calls.
Brown stated that the group was very close and that they made the trip together to split the driving duties. She said they were all aware of Mexico’s dangers and that her brother had expressed concerns.
Brown stated that Zindell kept repeating, “We shouldn’t fall,”
On Friday, a video was posted on social media showing four men carrying assault rifles and tan armor loading them into a pickup truck in broad daylight. One person was sitting up and one was still breathing, while the other two were either dead or injured. One person raised his head off the ground before being dragged towards the truck.
This scene shows the terror that has ruled Matamoros for many years. It is a city dominated and governed by the powerful Gulf drug cartel, who often fight each other. Thousands of Mexicans have gone missing in Tamaulipas alone, amid the violence.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Mexican president, stated Monday that there was “a confrontation between groups and they were detained”, but did not provide details. He initially stated that the four Americans arrived in Mexico to purchase medication.
Irving Barrios, Tamaulipas’ chief procuror, said to reporters that a Mexican lady was killed in Friday’s gunfight. He didn’t specify if she died in the gunfight that led to the kidnapping.
Matamoros woman driving by said that she saw what looked like the shooting and abduction. She asked not to be identified out of fear of reprisal.
A white minivan was struck by another vehicle at an intersection. The woman stated that gunfire then erupted. A second SUV pulled up and several armed men got out.
She said, “All of a sudden (the gunmen), were in front of me.” “I was in shock. Nobody honked their horn and nobody moved. Everyone must have thought the same thing: “If we move, they will see us or they might shot us.”
According to her, the gunmen forced a woman who could walk into a pickup truck. One other person was also carried to the truck, but he could not move his head.
She said, “The other two they dragged along the pavement, and we don’t know whether they were alive or deceased.”
Minutes later, Mexican authorities arrived.
Zindell Brown’s family requested that anyone with relevant information share it with the local authorities. O’dell William Brown, the father of his son, stated that the family continues to search for answers.
He said, “I don’t know which direction to go right now.” “We don’t know what’s what.”
The Matamoros shootouts were so severe that the U.S. Consulate sent out an alert and warned residents to seek shelter. It was unclear how abductions might have been linked to this violence.
U.S. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar stated Monday that the Americans were taken at gunpoint and that a Mexican citizen was killed in the attack. He stated that the United States had several justice agencies working together with Mexican counterparts in order to find missing persons.
Authorities have not provided any additional information about the victims.
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, stated Monday that President Joe Biden was informed about the situation. Due to privacy concerns, she declined to answer any other questions.
Many victims of violence in Matamoros or other large border towns of Tamaulipas are often not counted, as the cartels have a history of taking their own bodies with them. These episodes are often not covered by local media due to safety concerns. This creates an information vacuum.
The State Department advises Americans not to travel to Tamaulipas. U.S. citizens living in Brownsville, Texas or anywhere else in Texas often cross the border to visit relatives, go to medical appointments, or shop. It is also an entry point for those who wish to travel further into Mexico.
Matamoros, the headquarters of the Gulf cartel was once quite calm. A night out in the city was a part of the “two nation vacation” that spring breakers took to Texas’ South Padre Island for many years.
However, much of this business has been frightened by the increased violence in cartels over the past 10-15 years. Sometimes, American citizens get caught up in the fighting.
Three siblings from the United States disappeared while they were visiting their father in Matamoros, October 2014. They were later discovered dead and burned. Their parents claimed that they were abducted by two men wearing police gear, identifying themselves as “Hercules,” which is a tactical security unit within the city.