Suspects Arrested in Cartel Killings of Nine American Citizens in Mexico

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Several suspects were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the brutal cartel killings of nine American citizens in Mexico.

Mexican’s general prosecutor said on Dec. 1 that the Mexican Army and federal police officers arrested suspects in the killings of the LeBarón family.

The arrests came after authorities uncovered evidence and other information leading to the identification of multiple suspects.

The FBI is assisting Mexican law enforcement in the investigation.

While the office didn’t say how many suspects were arrested, El Universal reported that at least three were taken into custody. The paper, citing unnamed federal sources, said the suspects were found close to the Arizona border in the state of Sonora. One of those detained was a man known as “El Mayo,” leader of the group La Linea, which is affiliated with the Juarez cartel, according to media outlets in Mexico.

Mexican officials have announced twice previously that arrests were made in the case.

Authorities said that the first suspect arrested was not actually connected with the massacre. In mid-November, authorities said they made multiple arrests of suspects believed to be linked to the killings.

A general view of the entrance to the community of LeBaron on Nov. 8, 2019. (Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Members of local Mormon communities and relatives of the extended Le Baron family attend the funeral held for victims of cartel killings, in Le Baron, Mexico, on Nov. 9, 2019. (Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Peace activist Julian LeBaron (R) takes part in a march against Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s policies, on his first year in office, in Mexico City, on Dec. 1, 2019. (Claudio Cruz/AFP via Getty Images)

All nine people killed on Nov. 4 were women and children. Two of the children were infants.

The group was in a convoy traveling from La Mora, a Mormon community of less than 1,000 people in northern Mexico, mostly dual U.S.-Mexican citizens. The convoy was hit with rounds of gunfire and at least one vehicle was set on fire after the killings.

The victims were all part of the LeBaron clan. A number of people from the community have moved to the United States after the shocking murders.

President Donald Trump offered Mexico assistance in decimating cartels after the killings were reported on, but Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has resisted battles with cartels, telling reporters that “war is not an option.”

Trump stepped up his rhetoric last week, saying that he intends to designate Mexican cartels as terrorists, empowering American law enforcement and military members to take broader actions against cartel members, including on Mexican soil.

“They will be designated,” Trump said in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that aired on Nov. 26. “I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

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