Home World News Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico found dead

Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico found dead

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Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday after they drove into northeast Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, the local government said on Tuesday.

“Of the four, two of them have died, there’s one person injured, and the other person is alive,” Americo Villarreal, governor of the border state of Tamaulipas where the four crossed into, said on a call with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the latter held a daily news conference.

Later, Tamaulipas’ Attorney General Irving Barrios said on Twitter that the two surviving Americans had been handed over to U.S. officials at the border with Texas. A Mexican official told Reuters the lone woman in the group was not injured.

The kidnappings have put a harsh spotlight on U.S. concerns over widespread gang violence in Mexico.

Republicans, in particular, have been pushing for the U.S. government to take a tougher line on organized crime south of the border amid rising overdose deaths caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid trafficked by Mexican cartels.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday said it was time to “put Mexico on notice,” and advocated introducing legislation to classify some Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist groups”, and set the stage to use military force if necessary.

“I would tell the Mexican government if you don’t clean up your act, we’re going to clean it up for you,” he told Fox News.

ABC News on Monday named the four Americans as Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, Latavia “Tay” McGee and Eric James Williams – with the last two named by a Tamaulipas official as the survivors.

Williams was receiving treatment in hospital in Brownsville, Texas, which is across the border from Matamoros, the city in Tamaulipas where the four had entered Mexico, the official said. CNN said one of the four Americans was seriously injured.

The four were in a white minivan when they entered Matamoros on Friday. Gunmen fired on them shortly after they crossed into Mexico and then herded them into another vehicle before fleeing the scene, the U.S. embassy in Mexico said. A Mexican bystander was also killed when the abduction took place, authorities said.

U.S. media have reported that McGee was traveling with the group to Mexico to get cosmetic surgery.

The U.S. government was working with Mexican officials to find out more about the kidnapping and to get the victims home, White House spokesman John Kirby said.

“Attacks on U.S. citizens are unacceptable, no matter where,” he told a news briefing.

Lopez Obrador expressed his “sincere condolences” and said one person was in custody over the kidnapping in Tamaulipas, which has long been one of the most violent, gang-ridden states in Mexico. He pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.

But he lashed out at what he cast as “tabloid” coverage of the incident, and accused the media of not giving the same attention to killings of Mexicans in the United States.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland also offered his condolences and said he had been briefed by the FBI on the matter. He did not comment on reports of the deaths.


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