MEXICO CITY — prosecutors in Mexico said Thursday they arrested two other men in the kidnapping of four Americans and the killing of two of them on March 3.
The Gulf drug cartel turned five men over to police shortly after the kidnapping in the border town of Matamoros, and prosecutors said the two newly arrested suspects also appeared to be members of the same cartel.
The two were arrested Sunday during raids in the northern border state of Tamaulipas and flown to Mexico City on a military plane. It was not immediately clear why the arrests were not disclosed at the time.
Federal prosecutors did not release the suspects’ full names, but the details and first names match two men listed in a federal database as men arrested in Tamaulipas that day. Those names — Axel Alfredo Cárdenas and Alan Alexis Cárdenas — suggest they are related to Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the Gulf cartel leader captured in 2003.
Prosecutors confirmed that the two were sons of Osiel Cardenas’ nephew, José Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, who was arrested in 2022. They also said that after their father’s arrest, the couple assumed leadership roles in the cartel.
The two are said to have led the gangs of cartel gunmen known as the Scorpions and Cyclones. They were caught in an early-morning raid in which police found six guns and over a thousand cans of “synthetic drugs,” a term used in Mexico for either methamphetamine or fentanyl.
The statement didn’t say what charges the men would face, but said they were involved in drug and migrant smuggling, kidnapping and extortion in the Matamoros area.
In March, less than a week after the kidnappings, a letter said to have come from the Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel condemned the violence and said the gang had turned its own responsible members over to authorities. A Mexican woman also died in the shooting on March 3.
“We have decided to extradite those who were directly involved in and responsible for the events and who at all times acted with their own discretion and lack of discipline,” the letter reads, adding that these individuals are in violation of the cartel’s rules had. This includes “respect for the life and well-being of innocent people”.
Five men were found tied up with the letter in one of the vehicles that authorities were looking for.
The four Americans traveled from Texas to Matamoros so one of them could have cosmetic surgery. Around noon they were fired upon in downtown Matamoros and then loaded into a pickup truck.
Americans Zindell Brown and Shaeed Woodard died in the attack; Eric Williams and Latavia McGee survived. Most of them had grown up together in the small town of Lake City, South Carolina.
A Mexican woman, Areli Pablo Servando, 33, was also killed, apparently by a stray bullet.