A letter purportedly from the Mexican cartel allegedly behind the kidnapping and subsequent killing of Americans last week claimed it has dealt with the members “involved and responsible” for the incident, handing them over for authorities to detain.
“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,” the letter from the Gulf Cartel, reviewed by The Associated Press, states.
A photograph of five men face down on the pavement and bound accompanied the letter. The letter also apologized to residents of Matamoros, where the kidnapping occurred, and for the death of an innocent Mexican woman during the incident.
The letter stressed the individuals responsible for the kidnapping and murder had gone against the cartel’s rules, which include “respecting the life and well-being of the innocent.”
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An unnamed state security official told The Associated Press five men had been found tied up inside one of the vehicles that authorities had been searching for, along with the letter.
The State Department did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment by the time of publication.
Members of a Mexican cartel kidnapped four Americans who traveled across the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, last week. Two of the Americans and an innocent Mexican bystander died during the incident, according to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.
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An internal government document reviewed by Reuters indicated Mexican law enforcement is pursuing an investigation into the possibility the kidnapping occurred because the cartel members believed the Americans had encroached on their turf.
The document includes details of the Americans, including drug-related convictions against two of the members, which the Mexican government allegedly argued makes it possible the Americans “could be directly linked to drug trafficking operations.”
The four Americans have been identified as LaTavia McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Eric Williams and Zindell Brown, all of South Carolina. The FBI has said it cannot identify the survivors, but McGee and Williams have been identified by their families as the survivors, and Mexican officials confirmed Woodward and Brown as the deceased.
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Woodward was convicted five times between 2007 and 2016 of drug crimes, nearly all of which were minor offenses, and Brown was convicted twice in 2015 for possessing small amounts of marijuana or concentrated cannabis, Reuters reported. Williams also had a 2017 conviction for the manufacture and distribution of cocaine.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press conference Thursday that officials have worked “diligently” and “around the clock” to get the remains of the deceased repatriated, noting that sometimes the details of the process can cause delays. He stressed that the U.S. will use “every tool” to pursue the cartels “to the fullest extent.”
Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal said authorities found the four in a wooden shack guarded by a man, whom they arrested. The cartel had moved the Americans to different locations, at one point taking them to a medical clinic “to create confusion and avoid efforts to rescue them,” according to WBTW.
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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday blamed the drug cartels for the incident, and he promised that the DEA and FBI “are doing everything possible to dismantle and disrupt and ultimately prosecute the leaders of the cartels and the entire networks that they depend on.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.