Matamoros, Mexico — Four Americans were assaulted and kidnapped after crossing the border into northeastern Mexico on Friday, according to the FBI, which is trying to locate the missing Americans.
A US citizen was set on fire by an unidentified gunman shortly after driving into the Mexican border city of Matamoros on Friday, according to a release from the FBI in San Antonio.
“All four Americans were placed in a vehicle and removed from the scene by armed men,” the release said.
The FBI said the US citizen was driving a white minivan with a North Carolina license plate.
The FBI is seeking help from the public to locate the American and identify those responsible for the kidnapping. The agency has announced a $50,000 reward for the return of victims and the arrest of those involved.
The FBI said it was working with other federal partners and Mexican law enforcement to investigate the kidnapping.
CNN has reached out to the FBI for more information about the victim, and has also sought comment from the Tamaulipas state government, the Tamaulipas Public Security Office, and the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico.
The border city of more than half a million people in Tamaulipas, Mexico, just across from Brownsville, Texas, has been ravaged by violence and organized crime since at least the Mexican drug war began in 2006. The cartel, a once-powerful smuggling ring, has split into smaller, competing gangs, according to the Congressional Research Service.
For example, on the same day as the kidnapping, there were two shootings in the city, prompting police to warn parents to keep their children out of school.
The US State Department has issued a “Level 4: No Travel” advisory to US citizens considering going to Tamaulipas, citing crime and kidnapping.
“Criminal groups often target public and private passenger buses and private vehicles passing through Tamaulipas, robbing passengers and demanding ransoms,” the State Department advisory said.
Matamoros was also the site of a large tent camp for immigrants (mainly Venezuelans and Haitians) seeking to cross to the United States to claim asylum.
If you have information related to the incident, please call the FBI San Antonio Division or submit your tip online.
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https://abc7ny.com/missing-us-citizens-4-kidnapped-mexico-kidnapping-fbi/12920719/ Four US citizens missing after assault and kidnapping in Matamoros, Mexico, according to FBI