United States Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will do everything in its power to hold the individuals responsible for the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens in Mexico accountable. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
March 9 (UPI) -- A Mexican cartel appears to have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico earlier this week, issuing an apology for the incident and leaving five beaten and bound men to take responsibility.
The five men were found tied up near a truck near the site where the kidnapping took place on Thursday, ABC News reports. On the windshield of the truck was a note purportedly written by members of the Gulf Cartel that claimed the men were responsible for the kidnapping.
"The men responsible for these actions acted under their own will and lack of discipline against the [Gulf Cartel] rules. We apologize to the family of Miss Arely and the rest of the American families," the note said, according to Vice.
Vice reports that the men were badly beaten. A video of them, the note and the location was reportedly sent to law enforcement officials. They were taken into custody by the Tamaulipas State Police.
Investigators are working to confirm the identities of the men, whether they are tied to the kidnappings, and the validity of the note, though the note is believed to be real according to ABC.
The Gulf Cartel, or Cartel Del Golfo, is a powerful crime syndicate based in Matamoros that operates throughout the northeastern region of Mexico, according to Vice.
The kidnapping occurred Friday morning when Eric James Williams, Zindell Brown, Latavia McGee, and Shaeed Woodard crossed the border from the United States into Mexico seeking lower-cost cosmetic surgery, which the FBI said is common. After arriving in Matamoros, unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle then put the four into another vehicle.
Brown and Woodard were found dead at a home where the four were later found and rescued. Williams was shot in both legs. The survivors were sent to a hospital for treatment and the deceased remain in a morgue in Matamoros, according to ABC.
"I want to offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of this heinous attack. The Justice Department will be relentless in pursuing justice on their behalf," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "We will do everything in our power to identify, find, and hold accountable the individuals responsible for this attack on American citizens."