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Mexico ambush: Arrest over Mormon massacre Mexico ambush: Arrest over Mormon massacre
(about 7 hours later)
Dawna Langford and her sons were killedDawna Langford and her sons were killed
A suspect in the killing of nine members of a Mormon community in northern Mexico last year has been arrested, local media report. Federal prosecutors in Mexico have arrested a suspect in the killing of nine members of a Mormon community in northern Mexico last year.
Mexico's Secretary for State Public Security, Emilio García Ruiz, announced the detention. Three women and six children, all dual US-Mexican citizens, were driving through the Sonoran desert when they were killed in an ambush.
Local media say the detainee, thought to be an ex-policeman, is suspected of links to the La Línea drug cartel. Mexican security officials said the man, identified only as Roberto N, was a former police officer.
Three women and six children, all dual US-Mexican citizens, were killed in the attack a year ago. Known as The Mute, he is suspected of being a leader of the La Línea cartel.
La Línea is a faction of the Juárez cartel and engages in arms and drug smuggling between northern Chihuahua state and the United States.
Many of its members are believed to be former police officers who were "bought off" by the Juárez cartel, switched sides and became "enforcers" for the cartel, protecting drug shipments and attacking rival gangs.
Lethal ambush
The victims were part of the LeBarón family, a community which broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church and settled in Mexico nearly a century ago.The victims were part of the LeBarón family, a community which broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church and settled in Mexico nearly a century ago.
Paradise Lost: The families left behind after the massacre in the desertParadise Lost: The families left behind after the massacre in the desert
How a US Mormon family ended up dead in MexicoHow a US Mormon family ended up dead in Mexico
The Americans killed in the Mexico ambushThe Americans killed in the Mexico ambush
Mr García Ruiz said Monday's arrest had been carried out by members of the attorney-general's office, who had worked independently of the state to avoid leaks in the case, according to Mexican media. The three women and their 14 children were travelling on a remote road between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua when their vehicles were shot at by gunmen on 4 November 2019. Eight of the children survived the attack.
The suspect has reportedly been transferred to the country's capital, Mexico City, where he will face charges.
According to some media outlets, two other men were also arrested on the same day.
A further two suspects are already in custody in connection with the case.
Three women and their 14 children were travelling on a remote road between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua when their vehicles were ambushed by gunmen on 4 November 2019.
It is unclear why the families were attacked, but one theory is that they were mistaken by La Línea as members of a rival cartel, Los Chapos.
Brother-in-law of victim describes the ambush in local radio interviewBrother-in-law of victim describes the ambush in local radio interview
It is unclear why the families were attacked, but one theory is that they were mistaken by La Línea for members of a rival cartel.
Roberto N was captured along with two other men in Nuevo Casa Grandes, a city in Chihuahua state.
Monday's arrest was carried out by federal prosecutors who had worked independently of officials at state level to avoid leaks in the case.
The three detainees have been transferred to the capital, Mexico City, where they are expected to be charged later on Tuesday.
A further two suspects are already in custody in connection with the case.