In a surreal turn of events, the notoriously violent Gulf Cartel has apologized (yes, apologized) for its role in a highly publicized kidnapping of four American citizens that left two dead and the other two wounded.
Thursday morning, five purported Gulf Cartel soldiers were found tied up in a truck -- along with a note from the infamous cartel. The note offered an apology and claimed the five men were directly responsible for the kidnappings and acted on their own.
Tamaulipas State Police took the men into custody. The note left behind was also believed to be credible.
Last Friday, the four kidnapped Americans entered Matamoros from Texas allegedly in search of a "tummy tuck" medical procedure. After crossing the border, they reportedly got lost. They were fired at by Gulf Cartel henchmen shortly after. The victims were then removed from their vehicle and placed in a truck driven by cartel members.
Three days passed before the two surviving victims were found in a shed that was being watched by a single cartel soldier. It's unclear if the two deceased American victims died when their vehicle was initially shot at or if their deaths occurred after.
Why they were shot at in the first place remains a mystery, though it's believed that a case of mistaken identity was most likely.
The sincerity of the Gulf Cartel's "apology?" Dubious. At best. Cartels aren't in the habit of issuing apologies. Tens of thousands have died at the hands of the cartels and continue to do so.
Maybe the cartels have turned a new leaf and suddenly feel empathy for the victims they leave behind in their barbaric wake.
Don't count on it.
Very few things exist on this planet that strikes fear in the hearts of the drug cartels. However, one of those few things they do fear is the US government. And heat from US agencies such as the DEA.
The mere thought of US extradition makes them shudder. These fears have haunted cartels going all the way back to the days of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin and Cali Cartels.
Extradition to the US means extradited cartel bosses (like El Chapo) would live the remainder of their days withering away in US maximum security prisons. Or, in Escobar's case, relentlessly hunted down until he was running shoeless and riddled with bullets on a Colombian rooftop.
The Gulf Cartel isn't really sorry about anything. It's PR. Damage control. Desperation.
In 1985, there was another highly publicized case. This time involving a DEA agent named Kiki Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately killed. The case sparked outrage nationally in the US and began the downfall and systematic dismantling of the Guadalajara Cartel.
They fear the level of US media attention on the kidnappings and resulting deaths from last week could lead to a similar fate.
The Gulf Cartel already has enough problems. Like dealing with their long list of rivals -- starting with the powerful Sinaloa Cartel. The last thing they need is for the US to turn up the heat on them.
But it could already be too late for that, "apology" or not.
Associated Press (https://apnews.com/article/mexico-missing-americans-cartel-e35e8c6fcda926e5c2fb8f896aa91f4e)
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