4 Americans Kidnapped in Mexico While Traveling for Medical Procedure; $50,000 Reward Offered

On Friday, March 05, 2021, four Americans were kidnapped in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico while traveling in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates.[0] The group was traveling so that one of them, Latavia “Tay” Washington McGee, 33, could undergo a medical procedure across the border.[1] The FBI is now requesting the public’s help in finding the Americans and identifying anyone involved in the incident, offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of those responsible.[2]

On Monday, Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated that the group had gone to the border to acquire medications and assured that the entire government is attempting to solve the situation.[3] Receipts found in the group’s vehicle indicated the Americans were in Mexico for medical procedures, a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN.[2]

CNN has been told by a U.S. official involved in the investigation that the Americans were likely believed to be Haitian drug smugglers by a Mexican cartel and incorrectly targeted.[2] Zalandria Brown, the sister of one of the missing Americans, told CNN that the group of missing individuals had grown up together in South Carolina and had a strong bond like that of glue.[1]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cautioned people considering travelling to Mexico for medical care, which is often cheaper than in the United States, and for treatments not approved or available in the US. This trend, known as “medical tourism,” can potentially result in infections or post-procedure complications depending on the destination and facility.[1]

The city of Matamoros, located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, has a population of more than 500,000 people and lies directly opposite Brownsville, Texas on the Rio Grande.[1] The US State Department has warned US citizens to not travel to Tamaulipas due to the high risk of crime and kidnapping, issuing a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory.[4]

The occurrence spotlights the perpetual brutality in certain Mexican urban communities, which have been beset by sorted out wrongdoing at any rate since the Mexican Drug War started in 2006, just as the developing business of what is known as “clinical tourism.”[2]

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar reported that a Mexican bystander who was not involved in the conflict was also fatally wounded.[2]

0. “4 Americans kidnapped in Mexico” CBS News, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/video/4-americans-kidnapped-in-mexico/

1. “2 Americans kidnapped in Mexico found dead and 2 found alive, Tamaulipas governor says” The Mercury News, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/03/07/4-americans-kidnapped-in-mexico-identified-as-south-carolina-mother-and-friends-traveling-for-a-medical-procedure

2. “FBI: 4 US citizens missing after being kidnapped in Mexico” WCVB Boston, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.wcvb.com/article/4-us-citizens-missing-mexico-fbi/43204041

3. “Americans kidnapped in Mexico were traveling for medical procedure: reports” The Hill, 7 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/international/3887455-americans-kidnapped-in-mexico-were-traveling-for-medical-procedure-reports

4. “4 US citizens were kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico in case of mistaken identity, US official says” CNN, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/06/americas/fbi-mexico-kidnapping-us-citizens/index.html

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