Mexican security officials leading the investigation into the mass murder of nine Mormons in Sonora say the victims were likely mistaken for a rival cartel convoy. They also believe the Juarez Cartel–not the Sinaloa Cartel–is now to blame.
On Monday, a group of cartel gunmen shot and killed three women and six children as they were driving in the mountainous region between the Mexican border states of Sonora and Chihuahua, just south of the New Mexico boot heel. Authorities revealed they collected more than 200 rounds of spent .223 ammunition casings at the scene of the attack.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mexican Army General Homero Mendoza said that earlier in the day of the incident, gunmen from the Sinaloa Cartel faction “Gente Nueva de Los Los Salazar” clashed with rivals from “La Linea,” the enforcement wing of the Juarez Cartel, based in the border state of Chihuahua.
The clashes took place in Agua Prieta, Sonora, when authorities received information on various skirmishes between La Linea and Los Salazar shortly after 3:15am local time. Three hours later, authorities responded to another incident at a funeral home in Agua Prieta.
After attacking the Sinaloa Cartel turf, La Linea took a series of defensive measures to keep rivals from entering Chihuahua for payback, Mendoza said in reference to a working theory on the case.
“[La Linea] placed a cell between the towns of Janos and Bavispe in the border of both states (Sonora and Chihuahua). It is assumed they sent it to stop any penetration by Los Salazar and it is assumed that this group is the one that took part in the aggression against the LeBaron family,” the general added.
The working theory is that since members of the LeBaron family were moving in four large SUVs, gunmen mistook them for a rival convoy, the general said.
“The types of vehicles they used, Suburbans, are commonly used by organized crime members moving along the mountain region,” Mendoza said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chihuahua Attorney General Cesar Augusto Peniche claimed the likely suspects were the “Jaguares” cell within the Sinaloa Cartel since they control Agua Prieta. He said the Jaguares were at odds with La Linea and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.