Opinion: 4 Americans kidnapped in Mexico had extensive history of drug charges

Jenifer Knighton

After multi-agency investigations, American politicians lashing out and threatening to invade Mexico, Mexican sources reveal the truth about the 4 Americans that were kidnapped in Mexico on March 3.

The March 3 kidnapping of 4 Americans who possibly traveled to Mexico for the purpose of smuggling drugs back into the United States, resulted in the death of an innocent Mexican woman of Matamoros who was caught in the crossfire.

According to Mexican officials and Special Agent Oliver Rich, who is in charge of the FBI's San Antonio Division, the four U.S. citizens Latavia "Tay" McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, and Eric Williams crossed into the Mexico border city of Matamoros in a rented minivan with North Carolina license plates. Unidentified gunmen then opened fire on the occupants of the vehicle, and the group was placed in a pickup truck and driven away. McGee and Williams were discovered alive in a shack, but Woodard and Brown were killed during the ordeal.

Michelle Williams, Eric Williams' wife, told WBTW that she had no idea her husband was even traveling to Mexico.

The group was aware of the alleged dangers in Mexico, but they decided to go anyway. Cheryl Orange, who accompanied the group all the way to the border in Brownsville, Texas insisted that surgery was the only reason for the group's trip. She was dropped off at a Motel 6 on the U.S. side of the border to wait for the group because she allegedly forgot proper documentation, whatever that means. The rest of the group had planned to return to the motel in time to check out on Saturday, according to the police report.

Authorities have been unable to confirm any cosmetic procedure appointment.

Authorities are looking into the possibility that the kidnapping was actually linked to drug-trafficking, according to court documents obtained by The Washington Post. It is strange that a Mexican cartel would openly shoot at and kidnap Americans," an American law enforcement source said.

Interesting facts: According to U.S. court records, all four individuals had extensive criminal histories.

Photo byWPDE

In 2016, Latavia "Tay" Washington McGee (who was allegedly on her way to Mexico for surgery) was arrested after her six-year-old, two eight-year-olds, and eleven-year-old children tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

Woodard and two co-defendants broke into a clothing store by climbing through the air ducts from the roof in one incident. Woodard was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana again in September 2015. According to court documents, Woodard was frisked in the yard of a residence at 345 Scott St. in Lake City and discovered to be in possession of one or more ounces of "prepackaged marijuana."

On his rap sheet, Zindell Brown had marijuana possession charges. Brown also had breach of the peace, and domestic violence charges.

According to court records, Williams, 38, previously pleaded guilty to felony burglary charges. In March 2016, he sold crack and Adderall to a police informant near an elementary school, and he was arrested in the yard of the 345 Scott St. home. Police discovered crack and illegal Adderall on his person at the time of his arrest. Williams pleaded guilty to distribution charges and was sentenced to prison.

The Scott Street address was listed as McGee's children's residence at the time of her arrest in 2016. The address is described in the criminal complaint for Woodard as "a residence where officers have received numerous complaints of drug activity and prostitution."

Photo byThe Washington Post

The Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel apologize to the residents of Matamoros and Americans

Drug cartels have been known to engage in public relations work. An apology letter from cartel members condemned the March 3 violence and at least 5 of the responsible individuals were handed over to authorities.

Photo byAP News
“We have decided to turn over those who were directly involved and responsible in the events, who at all times acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline,” the letter reads, adding that those individuals had gone against the cartel’s rules, which include “respecting the life and well-being of the innocent.”
Photo byGoTravel

Mexico is one of the top destinations that millions of Americans choose to either visit or reside in. In recent weeks, The United States State Department had issued several Do Not Travel advisory for American citizens traveling to Mexico, citing high crime and kidnapping. The alert level is the same as that assigned to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Photo byGoTravel
Opinion: People are worried about traveling to Mexico, they should be questioning the motives of American politicians and the media that downplayed the fact that an innocent Mexican woman was killed in the crossfire of a possible drug deal gone bad with 4 American citizens that traveled across the border into Mexico on their own free will.
Photo byDan Crenshaw
Texas Activist Jenifer Knighton says the recent attack of the 4 American citizens may raise concerns among U.S. visitors traveling to Mexico, what about the innocent woman that was killed in her own country. If you aren’t involved in criminal activity and you respect the citizens of a country that you are a foreigner in, the chances of something terrible happening to you are no greater than what could happen to you in the United States. Mexico is not a third world country and Mexicans are not evil beings.
Why are they expected to bow down to threats from foreigners of their country? It is not Mexico that is putting Americans in danger, it is the ideology of superiority of American officials like Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw that think other countries are going to cater to their demands. America should be apologizing to Mexico for the scaremongering and smear campaigns of Mexico. All of this really boils down to American greed and white supremacy, let’s instill fear into Americans so they cancel their travel plans to Mexico and spend that money in the U.S. American officials continuously criticize other countries, especially Mexico, when our country is filled with high crime, sex trafficking, drug trafficking, hate, greed, and corruption. Thats called hypocrisy.
Photo byAOL
Mexico has the cartel; America has pimps that are sex trafficking our kids throughout the country; and child protective services that places kids with child molesters and abusers.
My heart truly goes out to the family of the innocent woman that was killed in her home country as a result of 4 Americans with an extensive criminal history, that willingly crossed into Mexico to possibly engage in illegal activity. Americans need to do their research instead of automatically believing propaganda. Where is the outrage? Was the innocent Mexican woman's life any less important? This situation proves that the ideology of superiority is still very well existent in Americans. It's fairly simple though, if you have a problem with Mexico, don’t go there. Leave Mexico alone! - Jenifer Knighton
Photo byJK
Another issue here is that Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) isn't a pushover, American politicians don’t like that. The actions and words of Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw towards Mexico and AMLO were utterly disrespectful and uncalled for. I urge you to call Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw +1 (202) 225-6565 and demand that he publicly apologize to Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). A Mexico se respeta!

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Jenifer Knighton is a Community Activist, Journalist, Counselor, and DWI-Education and Intervention Instructor focused on social justice and change. Her mission is to build stronger communities through Hope, Empowerment, Advocacy and Outreach, Resources, and Support.

Houston, TX

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