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Five men arrested in Mexico over killings of Americans

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Soldiers stand guard outside the Forensic Medical Service morgue building ahead of the transfer of the bodies of two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen to the U.S. border, in Matamoros, Mexico, March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Five purported Mexican drug cartel members have been arrested over the recent kidnapping and killing of Americans in the border state of Tamaulipas, authorities said on Friday.

Two Americans and a Mexican woman died after gunmen opened fire in broad daylight on a group of four U.S. citizens soon after they had driven into the city of Matamoros from Texas on March 3. All four Americans were subsequently abducted. By the time officials found the Americans on Monday, two were dead.

On Thursday, five men were handed over, left on the street in Matamoros with their hands tied, along with a letter of apology for what had happened.

The letter, which was signed by a group claiming to represent a faction of the Gulf Cartel, said the five were responsible for the attack on the Americans.

The Tamaulipas attorney general’s office said in a statement that five men had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the kidnapping and killings. An official at the office said they were the same five men who turned up on Thursday.

The attack on the Americans sparked recriminations from U.S. politicians, particularly among Republicans.

Some used it to step up calls for military action to be taken against the cartels in Mexico, a suggestion that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vigorously rejected.

Ken Salazar, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, also dismissed the idea of any military intervention.

“Some proposals have been put on the table, talk about a military force in Mexico. It’s not going to bring us the solutions that we need,” he told reporters on Friday.

Law enforcement officials in Mexico are investigating the possibility that members of the Gulf Cartel kidnapped the four foreigners, believing that they were encroaching on their turf, according to a government document seen by Reuters.

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