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4 kidnapped Americans crossed into Mexico to purchase medicine, Mexican president says

March 7, 2023

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said in a statement the Americans were kidnapped at gunpoint and an “innocent” Mexican citizen died in the attack. He said various U.S. justice agencies were working with their Mexican counterparts to recover the missing persons.

Authorities have provided no other details about the victims.

Victims drove white minivan with North Carolina plates

The Americans came under gunfire from the men shortly after crossing the border on Friday through the city of Matamoros, in the Tamaulipas state, across from Brownsville, Texas, Special Agent Oliver Rich, who is in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio Division, announced Sunday.

The victims crossed into Mexico driving a white minivan with North Carolina license plates, the FBI said. Shortly after, the gunmen fired upon the passengers in the vehicle, and the four Americans were placed in another vehicle and taken from the scene by the men.

Tamaulipas’ chief prosecutor, Irving Barrios, said a Mexican woman died in the attack but did not specify whether she was killed in the same gunfight where the kidnapping took place.

President Joe Biden had been informed of the situation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. She declined to answer other questions, citing privacy concerns.

Law enforcement has not released the names of those who they said were kidnapped but Zalandria Brown of Florence, South Carolina, said she has been in contact with the FBI and local officials after learning that her younger brother, Zindell Brown, is one of the four victims.

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A member of the Mexican security forces stands next to a white minivan with North Carolina plates and several bullet holes, at the crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four U.S. citizens who crossed into Mexico from Texas, Friday, March 3, 2023. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the four Americans were going to buy medicine and were caught in the crossfire between two armed groups after they had entered Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, on Friday.

‘This is like a bad dream’

Brown said her brother, who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and two friends had accompanied a third friend who was going to Mexico for a tummy tuck surgery.

The four friends, according to Brown, were extremely close and had planned to split up driving duties for the trip. They were aware of the dangers in Mexico, she added, and her brother had expressed some misgivings.

“Zindell kept saying, ‘We shouldn’t go down,'” Brown said. “This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from. To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable.”

Zindell Brown’s family asked people to share any relevant information with local authorities.

USA Today

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Americans kidnapped in Mexico crossed border for medicine: President

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