- Four Americans were kidnapped in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and later located in El Tecolote, where two of them were found dead, and two were alive.
- The criminal records of the kidnapped Americans were revealed, showing they all had records related to crimes against health, including drug distribution and possession.
- The kidnapping has generated controversy and criticism, with some accusing the authorities of not putting the same effort into resolving cases of missing Mexicans and others suspecting an alleged frame-up.
According to information reported in foreign media, the four Americans kidnapped in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, reportedly have criminal records related to crimes against health.
On March 7, Mexican authorities announced from the National Palace that the victims had been located in El Tecolote, several kilometers from where the events occurred: two had died, and two were alive.
A day later, the criminal records of the Americans who came to Mexico, according to the first versions, so that the woman could undergo cosmetic surgery on her abdomen in a clinic in Matamoros came to light.
Allegedly, the U.S. citizens were mistaken for Haitian criminals, with whom members of an armed wing of the Gulf Cartel have conflicts over territory.
Latavia McGee, Eric Williams, Zindell Brown, and Shaeed Woodard had been traveling to Matamoros in a white van when armed men suddenly intercepted them, allegedly hitmen for Los Escorpiones. Following the violent events, Brown and Woodard died.
According to the British media DailyMail, Eric Williams had previously been arrested in the United States for distributing crack and cocaine near a school.
On the other hand, Latavia McGee had been arrested several times in recent years. The last one occurred on January 20, 2022, concerning the offense of unlawful conduct toward a minor when her eight-year-old daughter tested positive for amphetamine use.
Shaeed Woodard had been arrested for manufacturing and possessing drugs and pleaded guilty to the offenses in a U.S. court. Finally, Zindell Brown had been charged with possession of marijuana or hashish. In addition, he had also been charged with first-degree domestic violence in July 2019.
All of them would have been arrested in Lake City, South Carolina, a U.S. entity going through a serious problem of consumption and trafficking of “rainbow fentanyl.”
The arrest records of U.S. citizens appear on the Arrests.org website and have been circulated on social networks. Internet users have expressed surprise to learn that all of them had a record for crimes against health and because it had been reported that they were mistaken for “Haitian drug traffickers.”
The four were located on March 7 in a safe house in El Tecolote, on the road to the beach, approximately 10 kilometers from where they were deprived of their freedom in Matamoros.
“Then they were going to Tamaulipas to have surgeries? They were mules? Traffickers?”; “The story goes that they were supplying fentanyl and crystal meth to various points in the city, they took the soup out of the points (there is a video), their names came out, and they were told not to do it anymore. It was enough, and the rest we already know (sic)”, some users suspected.
The State Attorney General’s Office (FGJE) of Tamaulipas stated that the bodies of the deceased Americans are still at the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo) in Matamoros, waiting to be repatriated according to the law, while the two survivors are already in the United States.
This case has generated multiple comments, from suspicions of an alleged frame-up to complaints against the authorities for not putting the same effort into resolving the thousands of cases of missing Mexicans, accusing them of paying more attention when the victims are foreigners.
The Searching Mothers is one of the groups that have shown their discomfort. While they celebrate that the Americans have been located, they regret that not all cases are investigated equally.