Designate Mexican Cartels as Terrorists, Says Family of Massacred Mormons

Members of the LeBaron family protest the murders of their nine family members at the hands of a ruthless Mexican cartel. (AP File Photo: Ginnette)Riquelme)
AP File Photo: Ginnette Riquelme

Family members of the Mormon family massacred in Mexico called for Mexican cartels to be designated as terrorists. The renewed call for the designation comes just a month after nine women in children — all U.S. citizens — were murdered in Mexico by members of a Mexican cartel.

Members of the LeBaron family want the U.S. government to proceed with plans to designate drug cartels in Mexico as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, NPR reported on Friday. Members of the family are in the nation’s capital this week to lobby members of Congress to support such proposals.

“It’s hard for the Mexican government to compete with that kind of finance, that kind of firepower,” Bryan LeBaron, a cousin of the victims told NPR. “This is going to take an international response or we have no hope.”

A group of cartel gunmen ambushed and murdered three women and six children on a road in northern Mexico near the New Mexico border, Breitbart Texas reported. Three women, members of the LeBaron family, a group of U.S. citizen Mormons living in Mexico, were driving 14 children from the town of Bavispe, Sonora, to La Mora. Rhonita Miller LeBaron reportedly drove one of the vehicles.

After having a flat tire, members of a Mexican cartel attacked the family and ultimately killed three women and six children. At least six other children sustained injuries in the brutal attack.

“Facedown, crunched up in fetal position because she was so afraid,” Shalom LeBaron, father of Rhonita LeBaron, tearfully told the NPR reporter “That’s how her bones were found.”

On November 24, other members of the LeBaron family expressed support for the designation, USA Today reported. Julian LeBaron, a family spokesperson told the newspaper their family filed an online White House petition asking the president to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

Two days later, President Donald Trump told Bill O’Reilly that he would designate some Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The president’s comments came during an exclusive interview with O’Reilly on November 26, Breitbart Texas reported.

“The Mexican drug cartels kill more than 100,000 Americans every year by the importation of dangerous narcotics,” O’Reilly said to President Trump during the interview aired on O’Reilly.com. “Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups?”

“They will be designated … I have offered him (the Mexican president) to let us go in and clean it out,” President Trump responded. “He, so far, has rejected the offer. But at some point, something has to be done.”

“I’ve been working on that for the last 90 days,” Trump stated. “You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”

The President told Breitbart News earlier this year that he was thinking about the designation. “We’re thinking about doing it very seriously. In fact, we’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” he said during an Oval Office interview.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) told reporters that he would not accept a move to designate cartels as FTOs, Breitbart Texas reported. “We will never accept that, we are not ‘vendepatrias’ (nation sellers),” the Mexican president stated.

On December 6, President Trump reversed course and said he would “temporarily hold off this designation,” Breitbart News reported. “All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations. Statutorily we are ready to do so.”

Now, the LeBaron family will address members of Congress and lobby for their support of legislation to designate some Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

In March, U.S. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced legislation to direct the U.S. State Department to designate certain factions of Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Breitbart Texas reported at the time.

“Cartels are the problem and it is time we started acting like it,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said in a written statement. “My colleague Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) and I are asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to conduct a review in order to designate these specific Mexican drug cartels Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).”

The bill from the Republican representatives calls for the designation of the following cartel factions as FTOs:

  • The Reynosa/Los Metros faction of the Gulf Cartel
  • The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG)
  • The Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of Los Zetas

The LeBaron family told NPR they saw the escalating violence carried out by the Mexican cartels but could not have been prepared for what eventually happened to them.

“There was this idea that our innocence would protect us. That somehow, because we were so completely uninvolved in any of it, that we were safe,” Rhonita’s sister Adriana Jones told NPR. “Yes stuff was going on around us. But no, we never could have imagined the brutality of what happened to my sister and her four children. Never in a thousand years.”

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