MEXICO CITY – Five men, lying face down and Tied handsthey were found Thursday by Mexican authorities along with a letter allegedly written by a powerful criminal cartel blaming them for a recent attack on four Americans, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
The note apologized for the assault, which killed two Americans and a Mexican, and said the sign offered to men who carried it out, according to photos reviewed by The New York Times.
The people who described the find were guaranteed anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
“We have decided to hand over the people directly involved and responsible for the events, who at all times acted of their own free will,” the letter reads.
The five men were found, alive, along with the note, in Matamoros, Mexico, the Rio Grande border town where the Americans were attacked.
It was unclear if the message was accurate or if it was written by the sign.
Mexican authorities will interrogate the five men to determine whether they actually participated in the kidnapping and murders.
In Mexico, messages have often appeared near bodies abandoned in public places where cartels take responsibility for crimes and issue warnings to rivals, security forces or the general public.
But the notes are not always reliable.
Sometimes a criminal group tries to blame its rivals for horrific violence, other times the messages present innocent victims like members of a cartel, security experts say.
“There is no doubt that there are doubts about the veracity of these messages,” says Cecilia Farfán Méndez, a Mexico security researcher at the University of California at San Diego.
But if true, it would be a remarkable twist on a crime that has become a major international incident, prompting Republican lawmakers to call on the United States to use military force to fight the Mexican cartels.
The four Americans, Latavia Washington McGee, 33; Shaeed Woodard, 33; Zindell Brown, 28; and Eric James Williams, 38, were kidnapped on Friday after gunmen shot at their car at an intersection in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state.
They had gone to Mexico to accompany McGee, who was due to undergo surgery that day. plastic surgery, according to their relatives.
On Tuesday, four days after the attack, Mexican authorities found the Americans.
McGee and Williams were alive and returned to the United States later that day.
Woodard and Brown were dead; their bodies were returned to US authorities on Thursday, Tamaulipas state attorney Irving Barrios said on Twitter.
Criminal groups in Mexico they usually don’t attack to the Americans, as they consider it a very risky action due to the enormous attention it garners from the media and law enforcement agencies.
Investigators have considered several explanations for the crime, including the theory that it could be an accident identity confusion.
The letter found Thursday claims to have been written by the faction scorpions of the powerful Gulf Cartel which controls Tamaulipas.
He attributed the attack to the “indiscipline” of people who acted “against the rules” by which the Gulf Cartel “has always operated”.
“The Gulf Cartel’s Scorpion Group strongly condemns the events that occurred on Friday, March 3, in which sadly an innocent working mother died and 4 US citizens were abducted, including 2 deaths,” the letter read.
Local media identified the murdered Mexican woman as Areli Pablo Servando, 33, who worked for a company that offers photocopying services.
The city of Matamoros, located across the border from Brownsville, Texas, is wracked by cartel violence.
Locals complain that they often go to sleep to the sound of gunshots echoing through the air.
The Gulf Cartel has managed to infiltrate nearly every aspect of life in the area, recruiting local youth into its ranks and becoming a major, if ruthless, employer.
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Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.