Latin America and Caribbean

Data: Hundreds of 'malicious homicides' in Mexico's Tamaulipas state

Government data shows hundreds of "malicious homicides" happened last year in Mexican state where 4 Americans were recently kidnapped.

Crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four U.S. citizens who crossed into Mexico from Texas, Friday, March 3, 2023.
Crime scene where gunmen kidnapped four U.S. citizens who crossed into Mexico from Texas.

Two of the four Americans who were shot at and kidnapped by gunmen as they crossed into Matamoros, Mexico, on March 3 are now back in the United States and receiving medical care.

The two other Americans in the group were found dead, according to Mexican and U.S. officials. Officials said the two survivors experienced "serious" injuries.

Authorities in Tamaulipas state have confirmed that at least one Mexican citizen was also killed in the shooting. The woman was 33 years old and reportedly died after being hit by a stray bullet, Reuters reported.

Law enforcement officials in Mexico said they have started an investigation, including ballistics testing of casings and other details from the scene, to search for clues to try and find those responsible for the killings and kidnappings.

Tamaulipas State Governor Américo Villarreal said police had arrested a man in his early 20s who was found guarding over the victims. It was unclear what charges the man faced. He was identified as "Jose Guadalupe N."

A Red Cross worker closes the door of an ambulance carrying two Americans found alive after their abduction in Mexico

Analyzing where and how Tamaulipas kidnappings took place

Footage of kidnapped Americans in Mexico carry clues that show exactly where and how it happened.


Neither the FBI nor the Mexican Department of Justice in Tamaulipas state immediately responded to a request for information on the suspect and his potential charges.

As the case of the kidnapped Americans receives national and international attention, some journalists in Mexico point out that killings of Mexican nationals in Mexico often don't spark the same kind of attention.

Mexican journalist Oscar Lopez, citing data from Mexico's Security Secretary, reported that 380 "malicious homicides" occurred last year in Northern Mexico's Tamaulipas state alone, situated along a large portion of the southern border with Texas. 18 kidnappings were recorded there in that same time period.

As Lopez and other journalists point out, across Mexico in 2021 alone, over 35,000 homicides occurred, according to government data. That's more than 90 Mexicans murdered each day.

The U.S. Department of State has warned against traveling to Tamaulipas because of "organized crime activity."

According to the U.S. government, murders, extortion, sexual assaults and gun battles are all "common" occurrences along Mexico's northern border.