Mexican authorities suspect drug gang in Mormon massacre

World Today

Bullet-riddled vehicles that members of the extended LeBaron family were traveling in sit parked on a dirt road near Bavispe, at the Sonora-Chihuahua state border, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Three women and six of their children, related to the extended LeBaron family, were gunned down in an attack while traveling here Monday. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

Authorities in Mexico think they know who was behind this week’s massacre near the U.S. border.

The victims were three women and six children all dual U.S. and Mexican citizens.

Investigators say a drug cartel was involved.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras has more from Mexico City.

At a Wednesday morning news conference, Homero Mendoza, general secretary of the defense, which often deals with high-profile crimes, told reporters the government believes a criminal group belonging to the Juarez Cartel ordered the massacre in northern Mexico.

“We assume it is a criminal organization called La Linea. We believe they carried out these aggression’s against the LeBaron family,” said Homero Mendoza the General Defense Secretary.

The LeBaron family are U.S.-born Mormons living in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state. They have been known to denounce drug trafficking organizations, and their family has been targeted in previous years with kidnappings and other murders. This attack was especially violent.

“Six children, three mothers. There should be ethics, I don’t know, there needs to be justice here. Today, I heard the government, the Mexican president saying this is a free and sovereign state. Where is the freedom in this It’s tough,” said Omar LeBaron a family member of the victims.

Seven children survived the shootings. Some were taken to this hospital in Tucson, Arizona for emergency care. Mexico’s foreign secretary says because the victims were dual U.S. Mexican citizens, the FBI will be allowed to follow-up on aspects of the investigation. Marcelo Ebrard says the incident will not affect U.S.-Mexico relations.

“I would not expect this issue to become a focus or a point of disagreement between Mexico and the United States. It is a binational community, and we are going to act together,” said Marcelo Ebrard the Mexican Foreign Minister

Meantime, Mexican security forces have set up checkpoints in the northern states of Sonora and Chihuahua, and their hunt for the gunmen who killed the nine members of the LeBaron family continues.