U.S. Citizens Kidnapped in Mexico: FBI Offers $50K Reward

The FBI reported on Sunday evening that four American citizens had been abducted not long after they passed the U.S./Mexico boundary into Matamoros.[0] The kidnapping occurred Friday when the four people drove into Matamoros in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates, the bureau said in a statement.[1] The statement continued, saying that shortly after entering Mexico, a group of unidentified gunmen shot at the people in the car. Armed men transported the four Americans away from the location in a vehicle.

In response, the FBI is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects and is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the victims’ safe return and arrests of the suspects involved.[1] Matamoros is situated on the U.S.-Mexico boundary, directly opposite Brownsville, TX.[2] Due to the high crime rate, the U.S. State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning for the region.[2] Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the four Americans had crossed the border to purchase medicine.[3]

On Monday, Ken Salazar, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, declared that a kidnapping had led to the death of an “uninvolved Mexican citizen.”[4] On Monday, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House Press Secretary, reported that President Joe Biden has been apprised of the circumstances.[5] She added that the president was “aware and has been informed” of the four missing U.S. citizens.[5]

It is thought that the Americans were mistakenly targeted and were not the intended recipients of the attack, according to a source.[4] Receipts found in the car indicated that they had gone to Matamoros, a border city, for medical treatment, the official stated.[4] This highlights the ongoing violence in some Mexican cities, which have been wracked by organized crime at least since the Mexican Drug War began in 2006, as well as the growing business of what’s known as “medical tourism.”[4]

CNN has contacted the FBI for additional details about the victims and has also requested a statement from the Tamaulipas government, the Tamaulipas Secretary of Public Security, and the Mexican Attorney General's Office.[4] CNN has verified the accuracy of the photographs and footage with a US official possessing information regarding the inquiry, though the FBI declined to confirm the validity of the images.[4]

0. “1 of 4 people kidnapped in Mexico is Myrtle Beach resident, family spokesperson says” WMBF, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.wmbfnews.com/2023/03/06/1-4-people-kidnapped-mexico-is-myrtle-beach-resident-family-spokesperson-says/

1. “Four U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by Gunmen After Driving Into Mexico” The Daily Beast, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/four-us-citizens-kidnapped-by-gunmen-after-driving-into-mexico

2. “4 Americans Were Kidnapped in Mexico: Latest Updates | Time” TIME, 6 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6260511/americans-kidnapped-in-mexico

3. “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

4. “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

5. “4 US citizens kidnapped in Mexico ID, crossed border to buy medicine” WLS-TV, 6 Mar. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/4-us-citizens-kidnapped-in-mexico-id-crossed-border-to-buy-medicine/12918955/