Cartel mistakes explain Mexico kidnappings

Last week, four Americans were kidnapped by armed men shortly after entering the Mexican border city of Matamoros. Two of his died and two survived the ordeal.

So far, the Mexican government has remained tight-lipped about the motives for the attack. But the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office said there was a “growing theory” that this was due to a mistaken identity.

Officials did not comment on two specific allegations that the drug cartel was confused with either a US-based rival, a member of a Haitian drug cartel, or a smuggler. However, they said there were multiple “diverse” lines of inquiry and none had been left out at this stage.

The Matamoros are sandwiched between opposing factions of the Gulf Cartel, fighting for control of the so-called Plaza. The drug smuggling route is north, to the United States.

Apparently unwittingly, a group of friends in North Carolina drove a minivan headfirst into that maelstrom. Their ordeal lasted four days.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling for their immediate release as U.S. citizens were being moved between safehouses to prevent detection. Mexican cartels, or even general criminal gangs operating along the border, pose problems.

Armed groups would have quickly realized that the full force of joint operations by US and Mexican federal law enforcement agencies would be directed in their direction. If the motive was a ransom, they would find that the chances of the ransom being paid are very low, as is often the case in Mexico.

That way, it’s much easier to flip the Americans and deflect some of the intense heat that’s befalling their gangs.

Mexico’s drug war analyst Alejandro Hope said, “My guess is that’s the most reasonable explanation for what happened.” I just told my contacts where their hideout was.”

Map of major locations in Matamoros, Mexico

Map of major locations in Matamoros, Mexico

Kidnappings in Mexico are disturbingly common. Last year in Mexico he reached the alarming figure of 100,000 people missing or missing in the country. Most kidnappings are carried out with complete impunity, especially when illegal immigrants make their way north into the United States.

In comparison, this case was resolved incredibly quickly. Some Mexicans have expressed frustration on social media at the speed with which such crimes are solved when foreigners are involved.

“In less than a week. Thousands and thousands of Mexicans kidnapped?” wrote one Twitter user.

“That’s not true,” Hope says. “The Mexican agency has a limited set of functions.

“It’s about visibility and political influence,” he says.

Clearly, Mexico’s political will to find a solution in this case has never been higher.

US Ambassador Ken Salazar met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and said the US State Department had a “higher priority” than the well-being of its own citizens abroad.

The case was closed within 24 hours.