- Five people believed to be responsible for the kidnapping and murder of four American citizens in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, were found alive and handcuffed on March 8th, along with a poster that condemned their actions and asked for apologies from society.
- The message was allegedly left by the Gulf Cartel’s Grupo Escorpión and stated that the perpetrators acted against the cartel’s rules and that the cartel was committed to ensuring that these errors would not be repeated.
- Mexican authorities are investigating the case and considering the possibility that the Americans were mistaken for someone else and that the motive behind the kidnapping and murder could be drug-related, as two of the American victims had prior drug-related convictions.
Five people handcuffed – alive – were found this Wednesday night, March 8, in the streets of downtown Matamoros, Tamaulipas, along with a poster that pointed to them as responsible for the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens and the murder of two of them.
The Gulf Cartel’s Grupo Escorpión allegedly left the message to condemn what their men did and ask for “apologies” from society.
“They update information on the events in Matamoros: several men were abandoned, alive and tied up, next to a poster in which the Grupo Escorpión of the Gulf Cartel condemns what they did and ‘apologizes’ to society,” journalist Héctor de Mauleón wrote on his social networks.
“Five members of the Gulf Cartel of the Escorpion group were found tied up in downtown Matamoros with a poster in which they apologized for having kidnapped four Americans and murdered two of them,” reported Ciro Gomez Leyva.
Authorities in the border city are investigating the facts, and the five alleged perpetrators have not yet been presented to the Tamaulipas State Attorney General’s Office.
The bodies of the Americans executed by members of Grupo Escorpión are still in Mexico and have not yet been transferred to the United States.
“The Gulf Cartel, Grupo Escorpiones, energetically repudiates the events of Friday, March 3, where unfortunately, an innocent working mother died, and four American citizens were kidnapped, two of whom died, and for this reason, we have decided to hand over those involved and directly responsible for the events, who at all times acted under their determination and indiscipline,” read the first part of the message found next to the five men tied up.
According to the message, signed by the initials “CDG Grupo Escorpiones,” those responsible acted “against the rules in which the ‘CDG’ has always operated, respecting the life and integrity of the innocent. The CDG apologizes to the Matamoros society, the relatives of Mrs. Arely, and the affected American families. The CDG asks society to remain calm because we are committed to ensuring that these errors caused by indiscipline are not repeated and that those responsible pay, whoever they may be!!!” concluded the letter.
Two Americans, identified by Mexican authorities as Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown, were found dead Monday in a log cabin southeast of Matamoros. With them were their surviving companions, identified as Latavia McGee and Eric James Williams.
Mexico investigating possible drug motive
Mexican security forces are investigating the possibility that members of a drug cartel kidnapped four Americans last week, thinking they were trespassing on their territory, according to an internal government document reviewed by Reuters.
Mexican authorities, who say they are pursuing several lines of investigation, produced a brief document summarizing the kidnapping of the Americans and providing biographical details about them. The metadata in the digital document suggests it was created on Wednesday.
It includes their names, dates of birth, and addresses, as well as data on their criminal records. Among them were convictions for drug-related offenses against Brown and Woodard.
Because of the previous convictions, “it is not excluded that the attack against them (the Americans) could be directly related to drug trafficking operations,” which their assailants believed their assailants might be carrying out.
A Reuters review of South Carolina state records found that Woodard was convicted five times between 2007 and 2016 for drug offenses. Nearly all were misdemeanors but included one manufacturing prohibited narcotics intended to distribute.
Brown was convicted twice in 2015 for possession of small amounts of marijuana or concentrated cannabis, records show.
The data also showed that Williams was convicted in 2017 of manufacturing and distributing cocaine, although this was not mentioned in the Mexican document seen by Reuters.
During a press conference on Monday, Americo Villarreal, governor of Tamaulipas, said that the group had gone to Matamoros because McGee planned to have cosmetic surgery, citing family members and U.S. officials.
The northern state’s attorney general, Irving Barrios, said at the same press conference that the four were likely mistaken for someone else while stressing that other lines of the investigation remained open.