Latavia McGee and Eric Williams were yesterday found alive in a stash house near Matamoros, a border town in the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas. McGee’s cousin Shaeed Woodard and friend Zindell Brown were both shot dead.
Their kidnapping is still being investigated, but US and Mexican authorities believe they were mistaken for a rival human trafficking gang and were taken by members of the Gulf Cartel.
Tamaulipas is among six Mexican states that are currently the subjects of do not travel advisories from the US government.
The others are Sinalola, Zacatecas, Michoacan, Colima and Guerrero. Thirty of Mexico’s 32 states are currently the subject of some kind of warning or advisory by the US government.
The only two states that are free of them are Yucatan and Campeche, near Cancun. The advice for Quintana Roo, which takes in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, is to exercise increased caution.
National Guard and military vehicles take part in an operation to transfer two of the four US citizens kidnapped in Mexico’s crime-ridden northeast, back to Brownsville in the US. Former government officials are warning that nowhere in Mexico is safe for Americans because of the cartels’ control over the country
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes told NewsNation that even what look like ‘safe’ resorts may not be as secure as many Americans think.
‘While you’re on the highway, you’re vulnerable. Now, in this case, it sounds like the cartels had set up a checkpoint, basically like a tollgate, that you had to go through them.
‘And it sounds like the van tried to run past that. And that’s when the cartels opened fire,’ he said.
Nayyera Haq, a former national security adviser, added: ‘The majority of Mexico is actually in the control of cartels. The government does not control all the territory there.
‘In fact, the government of Mexico for decades has been complicit in ceding control. It is wonderful to travel overseas. It is not the same as traveling in the United States, no matter what the bargain, or what the deal is that you can get.
‘You have to understand what life is like for people in the country.’
Retired FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko warned US tourists against driving into Mexico, and advised dressing inconspicuously once they are there.
‘Do not drive across the border if you want to go to Mexico. Certainly go to Mexico, but be careful. Fly in. Go to the tourist areas. That’s where you’re going to be the safest. Carry that cell phone.
‘Let people know where you are. Don’t wear jewelry. Don’t flash cash.
‘Don’t dress so much like an American wearing uniforms from baseball teams or football teams,’ he said.
Six states are currently under a ‘do not travel’ advisory. 30 are under some kind of warning
Lucky to be alive: Latavia McGee and Eric Williams were rescued from a stash house in Mexico yesterday after being kidnapped. Their two friends were murdered
Senator Lindsey Graham is now championing a bill that would allow the American military to enter Mexico and ‘stabilize’ the ongoing unrest.
‘I would follow Bill Barr’s advice and get tough on Mexico. It’s not just the hostages.
‘Number one, I’d do everything I could to get them back. I’d do what Trump did. I’d put Mexico on notice.
‘If you continue to give safe haven to fentanyl drug dealers, then you’re an enemy of the United States.
Senator Lindsey Graham is championing a bill that would allow the US military to enter Mexico and take action
‘I would tell [the] Mexican government, ‘If you don’t clean up your act, we’re gonna clean it up for you,’ he said in an interview with Fox News last night.
Military action across the border would require an Authorization for Use of Military Force, which can only be secured if it passes through Congress and is signed into law by the President.
Congress would need a two-thirds majority to overrule the president.
Others, including the mayors of border towns, support Graham’s proposal.
‘It’s going to be up the Mexican government to stabilize or let us help them stabilize,’ McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos told NewsNation.
Others have called for the US to finally ‘declare war’ on the cartels.
Robert Almonte, a former US Marshal, told FOX News yesterday: ‘We need to get angry and I’m waiting for more people to get angry.
‘I’m waiting for our White House to get angry because the Mexican government has failed its people, it is failing the United States, and our citizens as well.
‘And it’s time for us to do something.’