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US State Department Issues “Do Not Travel” Warning for Tamaulipas Amid Kidnapping of US Citizens in Matamoros

On March 03, 2023, four US citizens were violently kidnapped at gunpoint while in Matamoros, Mexico.[0] The four had crossed into the city via a white minivan with North Carolina license plates when they were fired upon by unidentified gunmen. Two of the four were found dead, while one was wounded and the other unharmed. The two who survived were taken to a Texas hospital for treatment and observation.[1]

The US State Department has classified the state of Tamaulipas, where Matamoros is located, as a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” due to crime and kidnapping.[2] The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has since offered a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of those involved.[3]

The violence in Matamoros is a testament to the power of the powerful Gulf drug cartel that dominates the city.[4] Thousands of Mexicans have been reported missing in the state of Tamaulipas alone, indicating the power of the cartels, as well as their ability to disappear people so that they go uncounted.[4] The US State Department has also warned citizens not to travel to the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, due to crime and the potential for kidnapping.

US law enforcement officials from numerous agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to secure the safe return of the US citizens.[5] US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that the US government has “no greater priority than the safety of our citizens”, and that they are doing everything they can to achieve their safe return.[5]

0. “Planning on traveling to Mexico? Here are the warnings issued by the State Department” KIIITV.com, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.kiiitv.com/article/travel/mexico-travel-warnings/503-0964f047-49d5-46ae-9347-0c769e96ae73

1. “4 Americans kidnapped in Mexico identified as South Carolina mother and friends traveling for a medical procedure” CNN, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/07/americas/mexico-matamoros-us-citizens-kidnapping-tuesday

2. “Group of 4 Americans in deadly Mexico trip were childhood friends” NBC News, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/victims-mexico-kidnapping-childhood-friends-rcna73904

3. “FBI Seeks Public's Help in Locating U.S. Citizens” US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico, 6 Mar. 2023, https://mx.usembassy.gov/fbi-seeks-publics-help-in-locating-u-s-citizens

4. “Deadly American kidnapping in Mexico: What you need to know” Al Jazeera English, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/8/deadly-american-kidnapping-in-mexico-what-you-need-to-know

5. “Ambassador Salazar's Statement about kidnapping Incident in Matamoros” US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico, 6 Mar. 2023, https://mx.usembassy.gov/ambassador-salazars-statement-about-kidnapping-incident-in-matamoros

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