Mexican cartel ‘apologizes’ for deaths of two Americans
A faction of the drug-trafficking Gulf Cartel on Thursday apologized for what they called a rogue operation, which resulted in the deaths of one Mexican and two US citizens near the city of Matamoros. Mexican police found five handcuffed men in a vehicle, along with a note explaining the situation.
“We have decided to turn over those who were directly involved and responsible in the events, who at all times acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline,” said the note, provided to media by a police source in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The five men broke the cartel’s rules, which included “respecting the life and well-being of the innocent,” it added.
The letter was signed by the ‘Scorpions’ cartel faction, which controls drug distribution in Matamoros, right across the Rio Grande from the US state of Texas.
Four Americans who traveled to Matamoros last Friday were taken captive by the cartel, after a firefight that killed a local woman. They were identified as Latavia McGee, Zindell Brown, Eric Williams, and Shaeed Woodard. Another woman, Cheryl Orange, was denied entry because she did not have the proper documents, according to local media reports.
Orange told AP that the group traveled from South Carolina to Mexico so that McGee could have a “tummy tuck” cosmetic surgery procedure. However the Daily Mail reported on Thursday that the four who entered Mexico had a history of drug charges.
When Tamaulipas authorities tracked them down on Tuesday morning, in the nearby town of El Tecolote, Brown and Woodard were dead, McGee was “barefoot and covered in dirt,” while Williams had a gunshot wound in the left leg.
Police arrested a 24-year-old Mexican they say was guarding the prisoners. He was identified only as “Jose N.”
Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios thanked the public for sharing the images of the abduction online, saying that they helped with the investigation. He added that the authorities initially did not know the victims were Americans, but reached out to the US once they identified the license plates on their minivan.