What We Know About Americans Abducted in Mexico

4 people in van with North Carolina plates are missing, reportedly went there to buy medicine
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2023 11:57 AM CST
What We Know About Americans Abducted in Mexico
A police officer stands in front of the prosecutor's office in Mexico City in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Details remain scant Monday about the fate of four Americans who were abducted in Mexico late last week. A look at what's currently known:

  • Victims: The FBI did not release details about who they are or where they were going. However, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday the Americans entered Mexico to buy medicine and got caught in the crossfire of rival gangs, reports the AP. They crossed from Brownsville, Texas, into Matamoros, Mexico, on Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina plates, reports CNN.
  • Abduction: In Matamoros, gunmen "herded the four US citizens into another vehicle and fled the scene with them," said the FBI, per NBC News. The US Consulate in Mexico put out an alert on Friday about a person being shot in what appears to be the same incident, reports CBS News. The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, said Monday that an "innocent" Mexican was killed in the attack. There's a lot of confusion about the attack itself at the moment and about who was injured or worse. It took place in broad daylight.

  • Danger zone: Matamoros is in Tamaulipas state, and it's one of six states the State Department warns Americans to steer clear of, reports the Washington Post. "Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments," says the official guidance. Much of the violence in Matamoros is attributed to the Gulf drug cartel, which has split into warring factions.
  • Context: Despite the explicit "do not travel" warning, Americans frequently cross from Brownsville into Tamaulipas state to visit family, shop, or begin a longer journey into Mexico, per the AP. "For years, a night out in Matamoros was also part of the 'two-nation vacation' for spring breakers flocking to Texas' South Padre Island," the outlet notes. "But increased violence there over the past 10 to 15 years frightened away much of that business."
  • Reward: The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of their abductors. Those with information are asked to call the FBI's San Antonio division at (210) 225-6741.
(More Mexico stories.)

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