Following the violent kidnappings last week of four Americans in Mexico that left three dead, the Mexican Gulf Cartel has apologized for the ordeal. In the handwritten letter, the cartel apologized to “…the society of Matamoros, the relatives of Ms. Areli, and the affected American people and families”. Alongside the letter, it is believed that the cartel has turned in five of its members to authorities, according to sources, although not fully confirmed by officials. Both the letter and the possible turning in of members add more uncertainty to the unraveling case.
Before the horrific events of the kidnapping unfolded, LaTavia Washington McGee, Eric Williams, Shaeed Woodard, and Zindell Brown were visiting Mexico to assist Washington McGee through a medical procedure. The group was also in Mexico to celebrate Woodard’s 34th birthday. Unfortunately, the group was mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers and were kidnapped at gunpoint from their vehicle and held hostage. Only two of the four victims would survive, with a Mexican citizen also being fatally injured due to the incident.
Prior to being rescued, the victims claim they were transported to multiple sites before being found in a house in Matamoros this past Tuesday. Prosecutors were also able to locate an ambulance that was used to shuttle the victims to clinics for treatment.
Currently, Washington McGee and Williams returned to the U.S. last Tuesday to be treated in a hospital. Williams was reportedly shot three times in the leg and has undergone two surgeries, and had rods placed in his legs. The bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were delivered to U.S. diplomatic authorities, which will then be turned over to their respective families.
According to investigators regarding the letter from the cartel group, although the letter is deemed to be authentic, the letter is judged to be inauthentic in sentiment. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University who studies cartels, claims that it is common for cartels to send out messages to opposing cartel groups or authorities while in the midst of or conclusion of a highly covered incident.
As the story unfolds, officials will continue to investigate the full details of how this incident occurred and track down the culprits of this crime. The five members that the cartel turned over will also be investigated for their participation in the crime, and U.S. officials will undoubtedly continue to be involved in both this case and immigration issues relating to Mexico.
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