The FBI is looking for four US citizens, kidnapped on Friday in Tamaulipas

Four people on the ground during the shooting in Matamoros last Friday, in a photograph released on social networks.RR SS

It all started on Friday, from the videos that began to circulate on social networks. In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, armed men, dressed in tactical gear, loaded the bodies of other men, apparently unconscious, into the bed of a white pickup truck, after a shootout. It was the umpteenth example of the power of organized crime in the country, capable of acting in the heart of a city, with the sun at its zenith, as if they were managing the consequences of a road accident.

In the first hours, even in the first days, the matter was taken literally, another example of the low-intensity war that some regions of the country are experiencing. In a statement, the Tamaulipas police gave some details. “During the last hour there have been two armed incidents between unidentified civilians, lamenting loss of life and injuries,” the text read. Not even the police themselves knew how many victims there were or how many were injured, much less where they were. Later it was learned that a woman had died as a result of a stray bullet.

There was a detail that I missed. The videos showed that the armed men, in addition to carrying the unconscious bodies of other men, had forced a woman into the bed of the truck. She was a black woman, with long hair of light colored dreadlocks. In some media there was speculation that they were Haitians, given the number of citizens of the Caribbean country that have arrived at the border in recent years. But everything changed on Sunday night, when the United States authorities reported that the four abducted people are from that country.

In the video, the moment when US citizens are kidnapped by an armed group.Video: RR SS

In a statement released Sunday, the FBI reported that four US citizens crossed the border between Brownsville and Matamoros on Friday in a “white minivan” with North Carolina license plates. “Shortly after crossing, unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle, taking all four.” This Monday, the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, also released a statement: “Officials from various US law enforcement agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to achieve the safe return of our compatriots. ”.

A source close to the Tamaulipas Prosecutor’s Office has indicated that “the state authorities have been in contact with their counterparts in the US, to establish search groups. The State Search Commission, the Armed Forces, etc. participate. Today started a strong group. Then there is the expert route. Fingerprints have been taken from these people’s trucks, shell casings have been recovered, and more.”

Faced with a high-profile case like this, in which the ambassador intervenes and the FBI offers rewards for data that helps find the missing persons, the collaboration framework in security matters between the two countries appears again on the scene. At the end of 2020, the Chamber of Deputies, with a majority of Morena, approved a law that limited the presence and movements of foreign agents in Mexico. This occurred after the arrest, months before, of the former Secretary of Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos, in the United States.

The Mexican government was annoyed by the ways of the neighboring government, then in the hands of Donald Trump. In the face of protests over the interference of the US Executive, the State Department of that country withdrew the charges against the general and sent him back to Mexico, together with the evidence gathered against him, so that the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) assess whether to proceed against him or not. Months later, the FGR decided not to do it. The result in the medium term was also the approval of the law that limited the work of agencies such as the FBI or the DEA in the country.

Thus, it is difficult to say what kind of collaboration has been established in the case of the four citizens kidnapped on Friday. EL PAÍS has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of registering and controlling foreign agents in the country, to find out if FBI officials or another agency have crossed into Matamoros to help in the investigations. So far, there has been no response.

The White House’s response

This Monday afternoon, during a press conference, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House spokeswoman, assured that President Joe Biden is keeping abreast of the situation and that they are collaborating closely with the relatives of the four US citizens to give them the necessary consular assistance. “These kinds of attacks are unacceptable,” she has said.

In addition, the official has confirmed that the authorities of her country are in contact with Mexican authorities to give a prompt solution to the facts. “We will continue to coordinate with Mexico and press them to bring those responsible to justice,” Jean-Pierre said.

subscribe here to the newsletter from EL PAÍS México and receive all the key information on current affairs in this country

Source link

Leave a Comment