Mexican officials have arrested one person allegedly tied to the violent kidnapping of four US citizens that left two dead.
Jose Guadalupe N., a 24-year-old Mexican national, was guarding the house where cartel members held captive for days and tortured the American friends Latavia “Tay” McGee, Eric James Williams, Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown.
Authorities have not yet said whether Guadalupe is part of the violent Gulf Cartel — the gang suspected of kidnapping the group — that operates in the region.
The captives were found Tuesday in a wooden shack in a rural area east of Matamoros called Ejido Tecolote on the way to the Gulf coast known as “Bagdad Beach,” according to Tamaulipas state chief prosecutor Irving Barrios.
By the time the group was discovered, Woodward, 33, and Brown, in his mid-20s, had been killed.
The survivors, McGee, 35, and Williams, 38, were rushed to Brownsville, Texas. Williams had been shot in the left leg, but his injury was not life threatening, Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal said.
The four pals from South Carolina had traveled across the southern border so McGee could undergo a tummy tuck operation, relatives have said.
Shortly after entering the crime-ridden city of Matamoros, they found themselves in the crosshairs of a shootout between rival cartel gangs.
Their kidnappers held them at gunpoint and forced them into the back of a pickup truck in a violent, caught-on-camera abduction.
The group was moved multiple times throughout Tamaulipas in order to evade authorities. They were even taken to a medical clinic at one point “to create confusion and avoid efforts to rescue them,” Villarreal said.
Police are still working to uncover a motive for the kidnapping, but theorize the friends were confused with Haitian drug smugglers.
Guadalupe is the only person arrested so far in the case — investigators are still on the lookout for other assailants.
The FBI had offered a $50,000 reward for the victims’ return and the arrest of the abductors.
With Post wires