The FBI is searching for four U.S. citizens who were abducted by armed gunmen in Mexico. People reports that the embassy in the country’s capital confirmed it.
As detailed by the embassy on Sunday (March 5), the group of U.S. citizens traveled into Matamoros in a white minivan with North Carolina plates last week. Upon crossing the border into Mexico, a group of unidentified attackers shot at the vehicle’s passengers. One of the individuals in the attack then moved the four to another vehicle and fled the scene. As reported by the Associated Press, Tamaulipas state police said that multiple people had been killed and injured on Friday.
“All four Americans were placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” said the FBI San Antonio Division. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for the safe return of U.S. citizens, and the arrest of the suspects involved in their kidnapping. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, in a statement released on Monday, said the Americans were taken at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican bystander died in the attack. No further details on the abduction were given.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador added that two armed groups exchanged fire, and the Americans crossed the border to buy medicine when they were caught in the crossfire. The city of Matamoros is in the middle of a conflict between warring factions of drug cartels, and the U.S. consulate even issued a shelter-in-place alert about the shootouts on Friday.
“There have been two armed incidents between unidentified civilians,” the state police said. “The exact number of the fallen is being corroborated.” The identities of the kidnapped Americans have not been released by authorities.