Two Americans who survived being kidnapped at gunpoint at the US-Mexico border by ‘Gulf Cartel’ have been pictured in the back of an ambulance before being transported to Texas.
Two others traveling with them were found dead along a road to a beach, local news outlets reported. At least one person has been arrested.
Latavia ‘Tay’ McGee, her cousin Shaeed Woodard and their friends Zindell Brown and Eric Williams were said to be traveling south so McGee could get a budget tummy tuck when they got caught in gunfire between two gangs March 3.
El Universal reported that a woman believed to be McGee and a man she was with were found in a stash house in the rural town of El Tecolote, six and half miles from Matamoros.
The Governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal Anaya, confirmed the condition of the four Americans over a phone call during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s press conference on Tuesday.
Two Americans who survived being kidnapped at gunpoint at the US-Mexico border by ‘Gulf Cartel’ have been pictured in the back of an ambulance before being transported to Texas
The woman, believed to be Latavia McGee can be seen wiping her eyes with a tissue as another survivor is treated in the back of an ambulance
Latavia ‘Tay’ McGee had traveled down to Mexico on Wednesday for a tummy tuck procedure before she was kidnapped at gunpoint by a drug cartel on Friday
McGee was joined by her cousin, Shaeed Woodard, (left) and friends Eric Williams (right) and Zindell Brown
Governor Américo Villarreal said that there has been close attention on the incident and medical support is being provided to surviving victims while the president vowed those responsible will be ‘punished.’
‘There is no impunity, there is someone under arrest’ President López Obrador said.
‘Those responsible are going to be found, they are going to be punished, as was done when they murdered women and children, in Bavispe, from the LeBarón, Miller, Langford family. All involved were arrested.’
The Tamaulipas State Attorney General’s Office said that the four American citizens ‘deprived of their liberty last Friday’ were found at about 7.30 am Tuesday.
‘Unfortunately two are dead. Investigation and intelligence work continues to capture those responsible. Details will be given later.’
‘Following your joint work instructions, we have not stopped paying attention to this problem since Friday and approximately an hour ago today we were notified that there were indications of having seen the four American citizens and 35 minutes ago it was fully confirmed by the prosecutor.
‘Of the four, two of them are deceased, one person injured and the other is alive.
‘The ambulances and the rest of the security personnel are on their way to give corresponding support for [their] transfer and [any] medical support that can be [given].’
Republican representatives Dan Crenshaw, of Texas, and Michael Waltz, of Florida, recently introduced a bill that would give Biden ‘authority to use the U.S. military against these cartels in Mexico.’
In response, Ricardo Monreal tweeted the following yesterday: ‘My response to the representative from Texas @DanCrenshawTX is direct and clear: I reject all foreign interference in the internal affairs of Mexico, and also the claim to apply United States laws in our country. It’s called ‘Sovereignty.’ Even if Crenshaw doesn’t get it.’
A gunman acted as a lookout for his cohorts moments after they attacked a mini van with four American occupants and kidnapped them in the northeastern Mexican border city of Matamoros on Friday
Pictures from the moment of their capture have started to circulate online showing the group at the back of a vehicle
Mexican newspaper Milenio cites law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether the group was kidnapped by members of the Gulf Cartel, a notoriously violent gang run by a feared leader known as La Kena.
The four had traveled from Lake City, South Carolina to the border town of Matamoros for McGee to undergo a discounted tummy tuck, according to a sister of one of the kidnapped, when they got caught in the crossfire of a gunfight on Friday.
It remains unclear who out of the four were murdered – although pictures from an ambulance show McGee and a man with one another.
Details of the murders also remain unclear at this time.
Video from the kidnapping incident show the group being thrown in the back of a van.
La Kena or Ciclon 19, the leader of the Gulf Cartel
Matamoros is in the state of Tamaupilas, which is among six states that are currently under travel warnings.
They were taken on Friday, after becoming caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between two gangs.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr said the US authorities should treat the gangs the same way they do ISIS when negotiating for Americans’ release.
‘They are terrorists,’ he said during an appearance on Fox News last night.
‘The Mexican government is being held hostage by tens of thousands of paramilitary members of terrorist organizations that effectively control Mexico.
‘It’s pretty close at this stage to a failed narco-state.
‘They can use violence and oceans of cash to corrupt the government. The government has no will, and it doesn’t have the ability to deal with the cartels,’ he said.
Le Kena leads the Gulf Cartel and is also known as Ciclon 19. His real name is Alberto García Vilano.
Mexican authorities have been hunting him for months and are offering a reward of 2.5million pesos for any information that could lead to his arrest.
Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, said on Monday she has been in contact with the FBI and local officials after learning that her younger brother, Zindell, is one of the four victims.
The Governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal Anaya, confirmed the condition of four kidnapped Americans over a phone call during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s press conference on Tuesday. Two are dead, two alive – one wounded
A map highlighting the six of 32 Mexican states that the US State Department currently has listed under its most severe ‘do not travel’ category, due to local cartels that may rob and/or kidnap American tourists
Mexican authorities are seen here investigating the white SUV McGee and her friends drove to the country in
‘This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from,’ she said in a phone interview with the Associated Press.
‘To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.’
Zalandria said her brother, who lives in Myrtle Beach, and two friends had accompanied McGee and that the group was extremely close – making the trip in part to help split up the driving duties.
They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, Zalandria noted, and her brother had even expressed some misgivings before the trip.