FBI Offers $50,000 Reward for Return of Missing U.S. Citizens in Mexico

The FBI is asking for the public's help in finding four U.S. citizens who were kidnapped in the Mexican city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas on March 3, 2023, and in identifying anyone involved in the incident.[0] The agency has announced a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of those responsible.[1]

The incident occurred when the Americans crossed into Mexico in a white minivan.[2] Unidentified gunmen then fired upon the passengers and placed the four U.S. citizens into another vehicle and fled the scene.[0] An innocent Mexican bystander was killed in the encounter.[3]

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during a press conference that the Americans had crossed the border to buy medicine.[4] Receipts found in the group's vehicle also indicated they were in Mexico for medical procedures.

Investigators believe the Americans were mistakenly targeted by a Mexican cartel that likely mistook them for Haitian drug smugglers.[1]

The photos of the incident show a woman looking and then sitting next to three people lying on the ground outside a white minivan.[3] All the doors of the van were open and it is unclear whether the four people in the photos were the U.S. citizens.[1]

The U.S. State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for US citizens thinking of going to Tamaulipas, citing crime and kidnapping.[5] The advisory states that “criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.”[6]

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a news briefing that the incident was “unacceptable” and that the U.S. government stands ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.[6]

The FBI is urging anyone with information related to the incident to call the FBI San Antonio Division at 210-225-6741 or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov.[3] Those who supply data can choose to remain unidentified.[7]

0. “FBI: Four U.S. citizens kidnapped in Matamoros” KRGV, 6 Mar. 2023, http://www.krgv.com/news/fbi-four-u-s-citizens-kidnapped-in-matamoros

1. “FBI: 4 US citizens missing after being kidnapped in Mexico” WCVB Boston, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.wcvb.com/article/4-us-citizens-missing-mexico-fbi/43204041

2. “GOP erupts after Americans missing in Mexico: ‘Cartels couldn't ask for a better partner in crime than' Biden” Yahoo Life, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/gop-erupts-americans-missing-mexico-000051375.html

3. “FBI: 4 US citizens missing after being kidnapped in Mexico” WGAL Susquehanna Valley Pa., 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.wgal.com/article/4-us-citizens-missing-mexico-fbi/43204041

4. “Search under way for four US citizens kidnapped at gunpoint after crossing Mexico border to buy medicine” Sky News, 6 Mar. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/search-under-way-for-four-us-citizens-kidnapped-at-gunpoint-after-crossing-mexico-border-to-buy-medicine-12827542

5. “4 Americans Were Kidnapped in Mexico: Latest Updates | Time” TIME, 6 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6260511/americans-kidnapped-in-mexico

6. “U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen across border in Matamoros, Mexico” The Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/06/americans-kidnapped-mexico-matamoros

7. “FBI Seeks Public's Help in Locating U.S. Citizens” US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico, 6 Mar. 2023, https://mx.usembassy.gov/fbi-seeks-publics-help-in-locating-u-s-citizens