Two of the four Americans kidnapped at gunpoint at the US-Mexico border on Friday were killed
The bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were found along the road to Playa Baghdad on Tuesday,
Two others – Latavia ‘Tay’ McGee and Eric James Williams – were recovered alive, with James nursing injuries
The American quartet were reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint in the Mexican border town of Matamoros by the violent Gulf cartel led by notorious gangster Jose Alberto Garcia Vilano, aka La Kena
Hostages reportedly were moved throughout the city multiple times, while in captivity, to evade authorities before they were tracked down to a wooden shack in Ejido Tecolote, on Tuesday
One suspect, Jose Guadalupe, 24, who was guarding the hostages at the storage shed, has been arrested
Mexican authorities have been hunting La Kena for months and are offering a reward of 2.5million pesos for any information that could lead to his arrest
Two Americans who survived being kidnapped at gunpoint at the US-Mexico border city of Matamoros by ‘Gulf Cartel’ have been transported back to Texas n the back of an ambulance.
Two of their traveling companions were found dead along a road to a beach, local news outlets reported. At least one person has been arrested.
The quartet of Latavia ‘Tay’ McGee, 35, her cousin Shaeed Woodard and their friends Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams were said to be traveling from South Carolina to Mexico so McGee could get a budget tummy tuck when they got caught in gunfire between two gangs on March 3.
A witness to the kidnapping said a vehicle crashed into the group’s mini van at an intersection before shots were fired at it, and they were taken hostage by the gunmen.
A Mexican woman, believed to be a bystander, was killed in last Friday’s incident.
McGee who was scheduled to have the surgery on Friday and James survived the attack and were rushed Tuesday to Brownsville, Texas in a convoy of ambulances and SUVs escorted by Mexican military Humvees and National Guard trucks with mounted guns.
Mexican outlet El Universal had reported that a woman believed to be McGee, was not injured, and one of her male companions also identified were found in a stash house in the rural town of El Tecolote, six and half miles from Matamoros.
The hostages reportedly were moved throughout the city multiple times, while in captivity, to evade authorities before they were tracked down to a storage shed in rural Ejido Tecolote, east of Matamoros, on the way to the Gulf coast known as Playa Baghdad [Baghdad Beach], on Tuesday.
A 24-year-old Mexican national, Jose Guadalupe N., who was guarding the shack when police arrived, was arrested.
The Governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal Anaya, confirmed the condition of the four Americans over a phone call during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s press conference on Tuesday.
Governor Américo Villarreal said that there has been close attention on the incident and medical support is being provided to surviving victims while the president vowed those responsible will be ‘punished.’
‘There is no impunity, there is someone under arrest’ President López Obrador said.
‘Those responsible are going to be found, they are going to be punished, as was done when they murdered women and children, in Bavispe, from the LeBarón, Miller, Langford family.
‘All involved were arrested.’
The Tamaulipas State Attorney General’s Office said that the four American citizens ‘deprived of their liberty last Friday’ were found at about 7.30 am Tuesday.
‘Unfortunately two are dead. Investigation and intelligence work continues to capture those responsible. Details will be given later.’
‘Following your joint work instructions, we have not stopped paying attention to this problem since Friday and approximately an hour ago today we were notified that there were indications of having seen the four American citizens and 35 minutes ago it was fully confirmed by the prosecutor.
‘Of the four, two of them are deceased, one person injured and the other is alive.
‘The ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are on their way to give corresponding support for [their] transfer and [any] medical support that can be [given].’
A gunman acted as a lookout for his cohorts moments after they attacked a mini van with four American occupants and kidnapped them in the northeastern Mexican border city of Matamoros on Friday.
Mexican newspaper Milenio cites law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether the group was kidnapped by members of the Gulf Cartel, a notoriously violent gang run by Jose Alberto Garcia Vilano, also known as ‘La Kena’.
The four had traveled from Lake City, South Carolina to the border town of Matamoros for McGee to undergo a discounted tummy tuck, according to a sister of one of the kidnapped, when they got caught in the crossfire of a gunfight on Friday.
Video from the kidnapping incident show the group being thrown in the back of a van.
The group of four were driving through Matamoros, located directly across the border from the Texas town of Brownsville – in a white minivan when their vehicle was rammed at an intersection by another vehicle. Armed men arrived in another SUV immediately and opened fire according to the FBI.
Video shows them being loaded into a pickup truck by heavily armed men.
One is manhandled onto the vehicle while others appear to be unconscious and are dragged to the truck.
A Mexican woman, believed to be a bystander, was killed at the scene.
Matamoros is in the state of Tamaupilas, which is among six states that are currently under travel warnings.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the incident said the American abductees were in Mexico for a medical procedure, when the cartel henchmen confused the group with Haitian smugglers.
Le Kena leads the Gulf Cartel and is also known as Ciclon 19. Mexican authorities have been hunting him for months and are offering a reward of 2.5million pesos for any information that could lead to his arrest.
Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, said on Monday she has been in contact with the FBI and local officials after learning that her younger brother, Zindell, is one of the four victims.
Zalandria said her brother, who lives in Myrtle Beach, and two friends had accompanied McGee and that the group was extremely close – making the trip in part to help split up the driving duties.
They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, Zalandria noted, and her brother had even expressed some misgivings before the trip.
The FBI had offered a $50,000 reward for the return of the Americans.
Matamoros is in Tamaulipas state, one of six Mexican states that the US State Department advises travelers not to visit because of “crime and kidnapping”.
Medical tourism is common, particularly among people living in US border states.
But Matamoros is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, as drug cartels control large swathes of the state of Tamaulipas and can hold more power than local law enforcement.