Matamoros, Mexico (EFE).- The bodies of two Americans killed in a violent kidnapping in the Mexican city of Matamoros were repatriated on Thursday amid reports a cartel had handed over five of its members it said were involved.
The bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were released to US officials and transported under Mexican security to the Ignacio Zaragoza international bridge, where they crossed back into the United States.
The Americans were part of a group of four who were reported missing on Friday after crossing the border from Brownsville, Texas, into Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where the vehicle in which they were traveling came under fire from unidentified gunmen.
On Tuesday, the authorities announced they had found two survivors and two bodies in a wooden house in Tecolote village on the outskirts of Matamoros. Survivors Eric Williams and Latavia McGee were transferred back to Brownsville.
A man identified as Jose Guadalupe “N,” 23, was arrested.
Meanwhile, five men purported to be responsible for the incident were found dumped in a street in the border city with a letter signed by the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo, CDG), local media reported Thursday.
Photos showed the men lying face-down with their hands tied and shirts over their heads, and also smiling during their arrest.
The letter, which could not be independently verified, “strongly” condemned the events and apologized for the deaths of two of the Americans and of a 33-year-old Mexican woman who was hit by a stray bullet at the time of the kidnapping.
The note signed by the Gulf Cartel’s Scorpions Group said “we have decided to hand over those involved and directly responsible for the actions of people who at all times acted under their own determination and indiscipline and against the rules that ‘The CDG’ has always operated, respecting the life and integrity of the innocent.”
In Matamoros Thursday, officers from the Secretariat of National Defense, the National Guard and the National Anti-kidnapping Coordination increased their presence on the streets and carried out searches on public roads.
The case has raised pressure in Washington for Mexico City to act against drug cartels, including a proposal by Republicans to declare war on Mexican organized crime, which Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Thursday dismissed as interventionism. EFE