US Citizens Kidnapped in Mexico; $50K Reward Offered and State Department Issues Travel Warning

On March 5, 2023, four US citizens from North Carolina crossed into Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, driving a white minivan with North Carolina license plates.[0] Soon after, unidentified gunmen fired upon the passengers in the vehicle, and the four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken away.[0] The FBI is now offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of those involved.[1]

The US State Department has issued an advisory at the highest alert level (Level 4: Do Not Travel) for US citizens planning to visit Tamaulipas due to the presence of crime and kidnapping.[2] The four Americans were traveling to Mexico for a medical procedure and were a tight-knit group of friends seeking care, according to two family members.[2]

Two of the four US citizens kidnapped were found dead, while one was wounded and the other unharmed, according to Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.[3] The incident highlights the ongoing violence in some Mexican cities and the growing business of medical tourism.[2]

US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said, “We have no greater priority than the safety of our citizens — this is the US government’s most fundamental role. US law enforcement officials from numerous agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to secure the safe return of our compatriots.”[4] An innocent Mexican bystander was also killed in the encounter.[5]

The State Department advisory warns that “criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.”[2] Mexican authorities are still searching for the missing Americans, who were shot and kidnapped shortly after crossing the border.[1] The whole government is working on it, according to President Lopez Obrador.[6]

0. “Abducted Americans stepped into ‘hot zone’ of cartel warfare” Border Report, 6 Mar. 2023,

1. “Two Americans dead, one injured in Mexico kidnapping: Official” Al Jazeera English, 7 Mar. 2023,

2. “Planning on traveling to Mexico? Here are the warnings issued by the State Department”, 7 Mar. 2023,

3. “Two of Four Americans Kidnapped and Shot in Mexico Confirmed Dead” TMZ, 7 Mar. 2023,

4. “Ambassador Salazar's Statement about kidnapping Incident in Matamoros” US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico, 6 Mar. 2023,

5. “Americans kidnapped in Mexico were traveling for medical procedure: reports” The Hill, 7 Mar. 2023,

6. “2 Matamoros kidnapping survivors transported to Brownsville hospital” Brownsville Herald, 7 Mar. 2023,