by “Socalj” for Borderland Beat
The five men handed over by the Grupo Escorpiones faction of the Gulf Cartel reportedly have confessed to their responsibility for the deadly kidnapping of Americans on March 4 in Matamoros. Mexico’s attorney general, the Fiscalía General de la República (FGR), reportedly has indicted the five men.
The Americans who survived the ordeal said they went to Mexico so one of them could have a “tummy tuck” cosmetic surgery procedure. The kidnapped Americans are Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, and Eric James Williams. Two of the Americans – McGhee and Williams – were rescued from a cartel stash house, while their two companions were killed. Mexican national Arely Servando, 33, was killed by a stray bullet.
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The arrested men were handed over last week by the Gulf Cartel, specifically by the Grupo Escorpiones faction, which is held responsible. The alleged perpetrators were left tied up in the middle of the street in Matamoros, next to a truck with a narco manta apologizing for the events that occurred, assuring that the gunmen “at all times they acted under their own determination and indiscipline.”
The Scorpions left tactical vests and firearms alongside the five men.
Conflicting comments have emerged over the process by which the men were placed in the street.
During the pre-dawn hours of March 9, 2023, rumors began spreading online that the Gulf Cartel – Matamoros faction had left a group of their own hitmen, tied up, for police. A tweet posted hours earlier, warning that Primera Street and Lauro Villar Avenue were being closed off by law enforcement, hinted that the rumors might be true because that was the location of the fateful kidnapping.
The Tamaulipas Public Ministry, however, indicated that it had no advance knowledge of the handover.
“Due to the conditions in which five men were found in Matamoros, along with a vehicle and a piece of cardboard, they were initially treated as crime victims, but this quality changed to defendants when they began to report their participation in the events of last March 3, when four American citizens were deprived of their liberty and a young Mexican woman died,” reads a statement from the Tamaulipas Public Ministry.
Observers who monitor events involving the cartels have questioned whether others were involved in the deadly kidnaps.
“It has been pointed out that one of the sicarios seen in the video of the aftermath of the shooting and the kidnapping of the two survivors might not be among those handed over to authorities,” notes a writer for Borderland Beat. “Seen in a white shirt and tactical vest, a heavy-set man does not match the body type of any of the five men who have confessed to the attack.”
The Scorpions’ gesture was aimed at restoring status quo to the territory, according to analysis by Borderland Beat. Anything that brings “heat” to an area where a cartel group operates is bad for business, as far as the cartel is concerned.
Based on reporting by “Socalj” for Borderland Beat