Mexican troops rescued a Texas woman after cartel gunmen had kidnapped her during a cross-country drive toward Belize. The kidnapping comes as the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas continues to be one of the most dangerous places in Mexico.
The kidnapping took place over the weekend, when 47-year-old Liz Middleton from Henderson, Texas, crossed into Tamaulipas from Texas. The Texas woman crossed the border to drive cross-country to Belize.
According to information shared with Breitbart Texas by members of Mexico’s National Guard who carried out the rescue, on the night of November 25, Middleton was driving her SUV along the Loop in San Fernando when a group of three gunmen in a four-door truck pulled alongside her and forced her to stop by pointing weapons at her.
The gunmen took the woman and her vehicle and drove to a local motel. The men entered a room at the hotel while the woman slept in one of the vehicles. From the vehicle, Middleton managed to get her phone and called for help to an emergency number in the U.S. The dispatchers then patched the call to Mexican authorities.
Members of Mexico’s National Guard and detectives with the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office responded to the scene the following day and were able to find Middleton. It remains unclear if authorities arrested the gunmen. Investigators interviewed the staff at the hotel, who claimed that the men had gotten a room and did not appear suspicious at the time.
The border state of Tamaulipas has become a hotspot of violence as rival drug cartels continue to wage fierce turf wars over control of lucrative drug and human trafficking routes into Texas with minimal interference from corrupt government officials.
In June, a group of Gulf Cartel gunmen kidnapped five U.S. tourists who were originally from the Dominican Republic, Breitbart Texas reported. The men were driving in a luxury vehicle and two SUVs as they tried to make their way to the state of Veracruz. When the group reached the city of Soto La Marina, Gulf Cartel gunmen kidnapped them and stole their vehicles.
In March, the Gulf Cartel kidnapped four U.S. citizens who crossed into the border city of Matamoros. At the time of the kidnapping, cartel gunmen shot at the group, eventually killing two of them. Breitbart Texas reported on how Matamoros city officials at the highest levels had worked with the Gulf Cartel to cover up the case and the fact that they had used city ambulances to move the kidnap victims. An exclusive report by Breitbart Texas revealed that one of the top officials who was in charge of the ambulances was a convicted cartel hitman and a former state police officer.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Francisco Morales from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles contributed to this report.