HomeUS News updateDeadly kidnapping of Americans in Mexico highlights dangers of cartel-run border towns,...

Deadly kidnapping of Americans in Mexico highlights dangers of cartel-run border towns, expert say

Retired FBI agents said Tuesday that it was nearly impossible to prevent the daylight kidnapping of a group of US citizens in Mexico and highlighted the dangers of crossing the southern border into areas run by drug cartels.

Two US citizens were killed, and two others returned to the US

Former FBI Special Agent Peter Yachmetz, who was a certified hostage negotiator, said, “The great thing is the border is completely open, and the drug cartels are operating and controlling the border.” “Don’t cross any of these borders. This is known as the ‘do not travel area’.

A law enforcement official has said the American group was attacked and kidnapped by cartel gunmen in a case of mistaken identity, and Mexican authorities hypothesize that “it was a ruse, not a direct attack,” state prosecutors he said.

A member of Mexican security forces stands next to a white minivan with North Carolina plates and multiple bullet holes at the crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four US citizens entering Mexico from Texas, Friday, March 3, 2023. took.  Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said four Americans were going to buy medicine and were caught in a crossfire between two armed groups after entering Matamoros from Brownsville, Texas, on Friday.  (AP Photo)
A member of Mexican security forces stands near a white minivan with North Carolina plates and multiple bullet holes at the crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four US citizens entering Mexico from Texas on Friday.AP

Four US citizens drive a minivan with North Carolina plates in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on Friday. The group was said to be in the country for a cosmetic procedure.

The city is just south of Brownsville, Texas.

The group came under gunfire after crossing the border, and video showed a gunman walking an American into the bed of a white pickup, then pulling up and loading three others. Frightened civilian motorists sat quietly in their cars hoping not to attract attention.

Martyrs Woodard, 33, and Zindell Brown, in their mid-20s, were killed, while Latavia Burgess and Robert Williams, who was shot in the leg, survived the attack.

US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement on Monday that “an innocent Mexican citizen has tragically died.”

‘Do not travel’ warning

Violence is not rare in the state of Tamaulipas, where the US State Department has issued a “Do Not Travel” warning, citing organized crime activity, gun battles, armed robberies and kidnappings.

Experts say that while abduction is a threat in the region, it manifested itself in a different way.

“It looks like it was potentially a random act of violence. And if that’s the case, it’s very difficult to stop,” said Tony Krabot, a retired FBI special agent who was a certified hostage negotiator.

“It appears that the family of one of the victims may have reported the kidnapping to the FBI, but it is unclear why the group was targeted. It does not appear to have been a kidnapping for ransom, and very All are unanswered questions.

the opposite of professional kidnapping

Don Aviv, president of Interfor International, a New York-based intelligence and security consulting firm that works to free people held for ransom, said that in general, kidnappings and negotiations are not often discussed publicly. Is.

He said it is in the mutual interest of the parties involved to try to avoid bad publicity.

“If it gets to the point where the FBI needs to get involved, you’ve already lost. The game is lost for safe return,” Aviv said. “When the FBI gets involved, that means someone reported it to the FBI – it’s messed up.”

Aviv said that often, “with professional kidnappers, people who know it’s a financial transaction, everything goes smoothly. If you’re dealing with a hot mind, and it has nothing to do with money.” … That’s when things don’t go right. Because it’s not about money, it’s about retribution or some kind of drug trafficking.”

Tamaulipas state governor, Americo Villarreal, speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Civil Defense in Mexico City on the kidnapping of four US citizens in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, two of whom have been killed.  March 7, 2023.  Two of four US citizens kidnapped in crime-ridden northeast Mexico were found dead on Tuesday, prompting Washington to pledge to bring the perpetrators to justice.  Mexican authorities said two others were found alive several days after the group was snatched at gunpoint in the city of Matamoros, having apparently crossed the border for medical reasons.
The governor of Tamaulipas state, Americo Villarreal, speaks about the kidnapping of four US citizens at the Ministry of Civil Defense in Mexico City on Tuesday.Alfredo Estrella / AFP – Getty Images

Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal said the Americans were found Tuesday morning in a wooden house near an area called La Laguna in Matamoros.

He said the kidnappers had taken the US citizens to various locations, including a clinic, “to create confusion and hinder rescue operations”.

A 24-year-old man from Tamaulipas was “found guarding the victims” and arrested, according to Villarreal, and authorities continued to search for others involved in the deadly kidnapping.

Ken Dilanian And The Associated Press Contribution,



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