OAN Geraldyn Berry
11:15 AM PT – Monday, March 6, 2023
Four American citizens are missing after being assaulted and kidnapped from a vehicle by unidentified armed men in Mexico.
On March 3rd, four Americans crossed into Matamoros, Tamaulipas in a white minivan with North Carolina plates. Shortly after crossing into Mexico, the individuals were met with gunfire by unidentified shooters. According to the FBI, the four Americans were then “herded into another car and fled the area with them.”
United States ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, has said that the incident has left a Mexican citizen dead.
On Monday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held press conference affirming that the Americans did not cross the border for any criminal purpose but to buy medicine.
“They are people from the United States who crossed the border to buy medicines and there was a confrontation between groups. The matter is looked into. I think it will be resolved,” López Obrador said.
The Mexican president’s statement as well as the identities of the kidnapped individuals have not been confirmed by U.S. senior officials.
Tamaulipas, located across the border, south of Brownsville, Texas, is one of six states in Mexico that the U.S. State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning to travelers due to “crime and kidnapping”.
According to the State Department, organized crime “including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border,” including in the state of Tamaulipas.
“Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments,” the warning states.
The FBI is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying those responsible for the assault and kidnapping and is offering a reward of $50,000 for the return of the victims and the arrest of those involved.
According to officials, the FBI, federal partners, and Mexican law enforcement agencies investigations are still ongoing.
“Officials from various U.S. law enforcement agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to achieve the safe return of our compatriots.”
The incident highlights the ongoing violence in some Mexican cities, which have been wracked by organized crime at least since the Mexican Drug War began in 2006.