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5 arrested in connection to kidnapped Americans in Mexico

The four Americans had crossed into Matamoros from Texas last Friday and video of their abduction quickly spread online.

WASHINGTON — Five people have been arrested in connection to the kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico last Friday, according to the Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica.

Barrios Mojica shared the news of the arrests via his Twitter account on Friday, saying five people were arrested for crimes of aggravated kidnapping and homicide. Barrios Mojica said an additional person, arrested in recent days, was linked to the kidnappings. 

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press through a Tamaulipas state law enforcement official, the Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel apologized to the residents of Matamoros where the Americans were kidnapped, the Mexican woman who died in the cartel shootout, and the four Americans and their families.

The letter attributed to the cartel condemned last week's violence and said the gang turned over to authorities its own members who were responsible.

A photograph of five bound men face-down on the pavement accompanied the letter, which was shared with The Associated Press by the official on condition that they remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share the document.  

A separate state security official said that five men had been found tied up inside one of the vehicles that authorities had been searching for, along with the letter. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the case.

On Thursday, the families of the abducted Americans told reporters that the apology letter issued from the Mexican cartel has done little to dull the pain of their loved ones being killed or wounded.

The father of Shaeed Woodard, one of the two Americans who died, said he was speechless upon hearing that the cartel had apologized for the violent abduction captured in video which quickly spread online.

“I’ve just been trying to make sense out of it for a whole week. Just restless, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. It’s just crazy to see your own child taken from you in such a way, in a violent way like that. He didn’t deserve it,” James Woodard told reporters Thursday, referring to his son's death. 

The cousin of Eric Williams, who was shot in the left leg during the kidnapping, said his family feels “great” knowing he's alive but does not accept any apologies from the cartel.

“It ain’t gonna change nothing about the suffering that we went through,” Jerry Wallace told the AP on Thursday. Wallace, 62, called for the American and Mexican governments to better address cartel violence.  

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