What we know about the four Americans kidnapped in Mexico
four US citizens kidnapped A brazen attack by gunmen took place in the northern border city of Matamoros, according to the FBI.
US official confirmed on monday A Mexican man died in the incident.
CBS News learned that the Americans are Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shade Woodard, Eric James Williams, and Gindel Brown.
Zalandria Brown, of Florence, South Carolina, told the Associated Press that she had been in contact with the FBI and local authorities after learning that her brother Jindel Brown was one of the four victims. .
Zindel Brown, who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and two friends were with a third friend who was going to Mexico for “sagging tummy” cosmetic surgery, according to Zalandria Brown. A doctor advertising such an operation in Matamoros did not respond to a call from AP seeking comment.
Zalandia Brown said the four knew of the dangers of Mexico and continued to say that Jindel shouldn’t go.
The four Americans traveled Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, across from Brownsville, Texas, according to the FBI.
The agency’s San Antonio bureau said in a statement on Sunday that the vehicle opened fire shortly after it entered Mexico.
“All four Americans were put into a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” the office said.
The FBI is currently offering a $50,000 reward for returning victims and apprehending the perpetrators.
Here’s what we know about the incident so far:
What the footage and photos of the scene show
video Post to Twitter It appears to mark the moment the American was kidnapped on Friday, reports CBS News correspondent Christina Ruffini.
In the video, a woman is forced into the back of a white pickup truck by men armed with guns. The man then drags the two into the car.
The first lady is walking and sitting in the back of the truck. Her two others appear to be unresponsive, but their condition is unknown. The video appears to indicate that some of them may have been injured.
A photo of the scene seen by AP captured the driver’s side window of a white minivan, showing all the doors open. The van sits on the side of the road after colliding with an apparently red SUV.Photos show people lying on the street next to the van surrounded by men with rifles.
The photo seems to match the video posted online, taken from a different angle.
What U.S. officials said about the incident
Ken Salazar, US Ambassador to Mexico, said: statement An American was kidnapped at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican citizen died in the attack Monday. of law enforcement agencies said they were cooperating with their counterparts in Mexico.
White House spokeswoman Carine Jean-Pierre said on Monday that President Biden had informed her of the situation. She declined to answer other questions, citing her privacy concerns.
What the Americans were doing in Matamoros
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that an American crossed the border to buy drugs and was caught in a shootout between two armed groups.
It is different from the account Zalandia Brown provided to AP.
The FBI said the van the victims were driving had North Carolina license plates, but officials didn’t provide other details about who they were or where they were from.
of the U.S. Department of State Travel advisories for Tamaulipas It warns U.S. citizens not to travel. However, being a border city, US citizens living in Brownsville and elsewhere in Texas frequently cross to visit family, get medical care, or shop. It is also a transit point for people traveling to other parts of Mexico.
For years, a night out at Matamoros has also been part of the Spring Break “bilateral getaway” that flocks to Texas’ South Padre Island.
But the increase in cartel violence over the last 10 to 15 years has scared many of its businesses.
What’s Behind the Violence in Tamaulipas
Matamoros is home to the Cartel faction. on Friday, The US Consulate issued a warning Local authorities warned people to evacuate after the shooting. The warning also reminded US citizens that this particular part of Mexico is on a “Level 4: No Travel Ban”. This is the highest warning in the US Department of State’s travel advisory system.
The consulate in Matamoros has posted at least four security alerts since February 2020 warning of drug cartel violence, crime, kidnapping and clashes involving armed groups.
Three American brothers went missing near Matamoros in October 2014 and were later found shot and burned. They disappeared two weeks ago while visiting their father in Mexico. Their parents said they were kidnapped by men in police uniforms.
Victims of violence in Matamoros and other large border cities of Tamaulipas are often not counted due to the cartel’s history of erasing the bodies of its victims. People often avoid reporting such incidents.
— CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues contributed to the report.
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