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World Mormon Massacre in Mexico May Be Tied to Gang War, Officials Say

05:40  07 november  2019
05:40  07 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

At least five dead, including infants, following attack in Mexico

  At least five dead, including infants, following attack in Mexico At least five dead, including infants, following attack in MexicoMexican media reported that the victims belonged to the LeBaron family, associated with a break-away Mormon community that settled in northern Mexico decades ago, and that the dead as well as additional missing family members may all be U.S. citizens.

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican authorities said Wednesday that they were focusing their investigation into the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family on the possibility that it was related to a conflict between two criminal groups fighting for control of a region in northern Mexico . Gen.

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican authorities said Wednesday that they were focusing their investigation into the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family on the possibility that it was related to a conflict between two criminal groups fighting for control of a region in northern Mexico .

MEXICO CITY — A conflict between two criminal groups fighting for control of a region in northern Mexico is a focus of the authorities in their investigation into the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family, officials said Wednesday.

a man standing in a rocky area: One of the three vehicles that carried members of a family that was attacked in Sonora.© Herika Martinez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images One of the three vehicles that carried members of a family that was attacked in Sonora.

Gen. Homero Mendoza Ruiz, Mexico’s chief of staff for national defense, said that before the family was attacked on Monday, the groups had a shootout in the town of Agua Prieta, on the border with the United States. At least one person died and another was wounded.

Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans

  Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans President Trump said Tuesday the U.S. is willing to aid Mexico in "cleaning out these monsters," after at least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family were killed in an ambush attack near the border between the two countries. © Getty Trump: US ready to help in 'cleaning out' the 'monsters' who killed Americans The dead included three women and seven children, including two infants, according to a report by the Arizona Republic."If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively," Trump tweeted.....

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican authorities said Wednesday that they were focusing their investigation into the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family on the possibility that it was related to a conflict between two criminal groups fighting for control of a region in northern Mexico .

When asked who might be responsible, Mr Lebaron said the attack took place in a "war zone", home to drug cartels and "thugs". Many Mormons in Mexico enjoy dual Mexican and American citizenship and - according to Mexican media - the Lebaron family asked for the help of the US embassy.

The authorities identified the groups as Los Salazar, based in the state of Sonora, and La Línea, based in the neighboring state of Chihuahua. After the gang shootout Monday morning, they said, La Línea dispatched gunmen to a region that straddles the two states to try to prevent their rivals from entering Chihuahua.

The attack on the Mormons as they drove through Sonora, toward the border with Chihuahua, General Mendoza said, is being attributed to this clash between the rival gangs. It remained unclear, however, whether the family was somehow involved in the rivalry or whether the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

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The SUV model that two of the victims were driving, a Suburban, is commonly used in the area by criminal gangs, the general said. He added that investigators believed that the children in one of the Suburbans were allowed to flee, contributing to the hypothesis that the attack was not directed at the family.

US victims in Mexico massacre were tied to family with long history of violence

  US victims in Mexico massacre were tied to family with long history of violence The roadside killings of nine U.S. citizens in northern Mexico has brought renewed attention to the scattered communities of Mormons who settled in the country more than a century ago to escape persecution. The six women and three children whom assailants ambushed Monday as they drove toward Arizona from the town of Bavispe in Sonora state included descendants of a fundamentalist Mormon community that has lived in the country for decades. The Mexican government has not identified suspects in the crime or a motive, though a Mexican official said the killers may have mistaken the family for members of a rival drug cartel.

On early November 6, Mexican officials announced that an unidentified suspect has been arrested in connection with the massacre . A Mormon Family Was Brutally Murdered in Mexico . What Happened? Three mothers and six children were killed while traveling in northern Mexico .

Mormons murdered in Mexican cartel shootout were victims of a hit or a mix-up: cops. A suspect holding two bound and tied hostages in a vehicle has been arrested in the massacre of nine US The attackers may have mistaken the doomed group’s SUVs for those of a rival gang as the three families

The family members, all women and children who were dual American and Mexican citizens, were ambushed while driving in three sport utility vehicles in a rural area of Sonora where Mormon groups that splintered from the main United States church began settling in the early 20th century.

Six children and three women were killed.

The attack terrified communities that had learned to coexist with violence in the remote, rural area, said a human-rights activist who lives and works in the region and who did not give his name out of fear of reprisal from the gangs.

The criminals showed “no mercy even with children and babies,” he said. “This only adds to the fear that we already felt, which is now maximized.”

At a news conference on Wednesday, Mexican government officials offered few new details about the ambush and its motivations, saying that the investigation was continuing. But they determined that the ammunition used in the attack were .223 caliber cartridges manufactured in the United States by Remington and associated with AR-15 and M16 rifles.

Mexico Mormon attack: Family and authorities piece together what happened to mothers and children in massacre

  Mexico Mormon attack: Family and authorities piece together what happened to mothers and children in massacre All that was left for family members to sift through when they arrived at the scene of a massacre in Mexico on Monday were ash, bones and a car -- ablaze and riddled with bullet holes. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Just that morning, they had seen the three women and their 14 children off to visit family, traveling together for safety. Now, loved ones and investigators are piecing together what happened in the remote mountains where the women and six of their children were killed.

Mormons of Germanic origin settled in northern Mexico in the 1920s from the United States. The group broke away from the mainstream Mormon church when it abandoned polygamous marriages. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau, who travelled to Sonora earlier on Monday for

While officials said the toll was at least five, family members said it was higher, with one putting it at The massacre came a decade after two other members of the LeBarón family were kidnapped and Family members took to social media to implore the governments of Mexico and the United States to

Some 200,000 American guns cross the border into Mexico illegally each year, according to some estimates, landing in the hands of the criminal organizations that fight to control the multibillion drug trade to the United States and helping fuel much of the violence overwhelming Mexico. Mexico has been lobbying the United States for more than a decade to stop the flow.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister, also said that because the victims were from families that have dual nationality and move frequently between the two countries, Mexican officials would provide their American counterparts with full access to their files as the investigation progressed and would seek the collaboration of United States law enforcement, including the F.B.I., if necessary.

a close up of a desert field with a mountain in the background: A remote stretch of land near Agua Prieta, where rival gangs are said to have had a shootout.© Bryan Denton for The New York Times A remote stretch of land near Agua Prieta, where rival gangs are said to have had a shootout.

Officials also provided some clarification about the timeline of events on Monday.

General Mendoza said the ambush began with an attack at about 9:40 a.m. on a Tahoe sport utility vehicle that was traveling well behind the other two vehicles and carrying one woman and four children. The Tahoe appeared to have caught fire from the impact of the bullets, he said, and all five passengers were killed.

Mexico's security strategy called into question after Mormon killings and other violence

  Mexico's security strategy called into question after Mormon killings and other violence After three women and six children were slaughtered on a remote dirt road in Mexico, relatives and members of their small religious community stood around the smoldering carnage for hours before local authorities arrived. © CNN CNN's Matt Rivers visits the site where a family of Mormons were massacred in Mexico. The horrific broad-daylight crime stunned even a country long ravaged by drug violence and on pace for a record high number of homicides this year. A convoy carrying women and children -- dual US-Mexican citizens -- ambushed and sprayed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Mexican officials said six children were also wounded and another girl was missing after the attack, which left the family's three cars riddled Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the family may have been mistakenly targeted or caught in the crossfire in turf wars between rival drug cartels.

Mexico 's leader wants to talk to Trump about help on Mormon massacre . Three women and six children were killed, including two twin babies, said relatives and Mexican officials . Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the family may have been mistakenly targeted or caught in the

The second attack, on the two Suburban SUVs that were traveling together, occurred at about 11 a.m., some 11 miles farther along the road. One of the vehicles carried six children, two of whom were killed, and one woman, who was also killed. The other four children escaped.

The other Suburban carried a woman, who was killed, and four children, all of whom managed to escape.

On Tuesday, President Trump wrote in a tweet that this is “time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”

Since then, American senators from both parties have criticized Mexico’s failure to control the violence and called for its government to step up its fight against the criminal organizations that control swaths of the country and fuel its record-high homicide rate.

“This is what happens when Mexico’s politicians look the other way and let drug cartels bribe their way to power,” Senator Ben Sasse said in a statement on Tuesday. “Enough. Mexico’s president hasn’t taken the threat seriously.”

But on Wednesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico defended his security strategy, which has focused on combating the poverty he sees as the root of violence.

“It hurts a lot,” Mr. López Obrador said of the attack. “But are we going to want to solve the problem in the same way? Declaring war? That, in the case of our country, has been shown not to work. That was a failure, that caused more violence, acting like this.”

American families fleeing Mexico arrive in Arizona days after cartel massacre

  American families fleeing Mexico arrive in Arizona days after cartel massacre A caravan of Mormon families fleeing Mexico following this week's drug cartel ambush that killed nine Americans crossed into Arizona on Saturday.The Arizona Daily Star reported that 18 vehicles carrying about 100 people entered the U.S. via the port of entry in Douglas, Ariz.

'It was a massacre ,' said Julian Lebaron, a relative and activist who has denounced criminal groups in the area, told Formula Radio. Many of the church's members were born in Mexico and thus have dual citizenship. Relatives posted on social media said that Christina had been killed while saving her

DONALD Trump has vowed to "wage war" on Mexican drug cartel "monsters" who allegedly killed a The President tweeted that it was time for Mexico and the US to end the gangs and "wipe them off the It's feared that of the victims - including babies - may then have been burned alive and relatives

It remained unclear what the criminal organizations might have been fighting over, analysts said, though control of lucrative drug trafficking routes was a possibility.

In recent years, La Línea has been active in the mountainous regions of southern Chihuahua state and in the northwest section of the state, analysts said, and has diversified into a wide range of criminal enterprises, including drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping

Across the state border, in neighboring Sonora, Los Salazar has operated mostly in the southern part of the state and has been associated with what Alejandro Hope, a security analyst in Mexico City, called “a significant rise in violence in the past two years.” The group has also been a regional ally of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Mr. Hope said that a significant transit route for illegal drugs runs through the area of Agua Prieta, the border town where Monday’s clash took place.

But analysts also pointed out that a history of tension between the Mormon communities and the criminal organizations they have spoken out against also allows for the possibility that the families were targeted.

“These are pretty brutal groups,” said Tony Payan of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “They would not stop at killing children.”

Elisabeth Malkin and Paulina Villegas contributed reporting.

FBI investigating killing of US women and children in Mexico .
MEXICO CITY (AP) — FBI agents are in Mexico helping investigate the fatal shootings of nine American women and children in northern Mexico last week. FBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee said Tuesday that agents are "providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican Government." "The FBI remains committed to working alongside our international partners to help bring justice to the perpetrators of this heinous act of violence," Hagee said in aFBI spokeswoman Lauren Hagee said Tuesday that agents are "providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican Government.

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