On Monday the White House said authorities were coordinating with Mexican authorities, following news that four Americans had been assaulted and kidnapped at gunpoint on the Mexican side of the border.
“These sorts of attacks are unacceptable,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during Monday’s daily briefing. “Our thoughts are with the families of these individuals and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
She added that U.S. law enforcement has been in touch with Mexican law enforcement, and that the Departments of State and Homeland Security were also coordinating with Mexican authorities. “We will continue to coordinate with Mexico and push them to bring those responsible to justice,” she stated.
When asked about early efforts to try to locate the American victims, Jean-Pierre replied, “Don’t have anything to share outside of what I just laid out.” Citing privacy concerns she stressed, “Clearly, we want to be really careful here.”
A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that the Americans are believed to have been targeted by mistake when they traveled to the border city of Matamoros, Mexico for medical treatments.
“The information we have is that they crossed the border to buy medicines in Mexico, there was a confrontation between groups and they were detained,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “The whole government is working on it.”
The missing Americans have not yet been identified. According to the FBI, they had traveled to Matamoros Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina plates. After being fired upon, they were placed in a vehicle and taken away by armed men.
One innocent Mexican bystander was killed in the attack, according to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.
Matomoros is in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The State Department has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for American citizens thinking of going to Tamaulipas, citing crime and kidnapping in the area.
The FBI is seeking the public’s help in tracking down the kidnapped Americans. The Agency has posted a $50,000 reward for their return and the arrest of those involved in the crime.