On Tuesday, President Trump urged Mexico to “wage war” on drug cartels after the massacre of at least nine American citizens — three women and six of their children — in the Mexican state of Sonora.
“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday.
“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing [and] able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively,” he offered. “The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
“This is the 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,” the president concluded. “We merely await a call from your great new president!”
….monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
This is the 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. We merely await a call from your great new president!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
Members of the LeBarón and Langford families, related families with U.S. citizenship who are part of a religious community in Mexico, were ambushed by a cartel while traveling in a three-car caravan to a wedding on Monday.
Members of one of the Mexican drug cartels that have been terrorizing the region reportedly opened fire on the vehicles and burned them, resulting in the death a total of nine people and injuring at least three others. The families suspect that a cartel based in Chihuahua is responsible for the massacre.
“Maria Rhonita Miller and four of her children died on a road in northern Mexico, according to [Lafe Langford Jr.] and social media posts,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports. “The bodies of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and Christina Marie Langford, 31, were found later Monday, Lafe Langford Jr. said. The bodies of two of Dawna Ray Langford’s children, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 3, also were recovered Monday.”
Among the children who died were Rhonita’s twin 6-month-old babies and two children aged 10 and 12. The Tribune notes that an earlier report that Christina Marie’s baby daughter Faith Marie Johnson had died “turned out to be incorrect.”
In addition to the six children who tragically died, Late Langford Jr. says three other children suffered bullet wounds.
In a heartbreaking video posted on Facebook Monday, Langford showed footage of the burned vehicles. “This is for the record,” Langford says, choking back tears. “Nita and four of my grandchildren are burnt, shot up. Right out on the road …”
¡OJO! Atención a todo el mundo!!! Somos una comunidad de ciudadanos con doble nacionalidades, paisanos y estadounidenses, que viven y operan entre México y los Estados Unidos. Estamos bajo ataque mientras hablamos por los carteles en México … Hemos estado solicitando a las embajadas estadounidenses en México todo el día sin resultado … ¡Necesitamos que se compartan esto y que todo el mundo sea testigo de los atroces actos inhumanos y bárbaros que se cometieron contra nosotros hoy! Rhonita Miller y sus 4 hijos fueron asesinados a tiros en este vehículo y en este mismo momento hay DOS más Suburban con 2 de nuestras familias, con un total de 2 esposas y 10 niños desaparecidos y / o secuestrados por el cartel … ¡Necesitamos ayuda de inmediato! .. ¡Ayudenos!
Posted by Lafe Langford Jr on Monday, November 4, 2019
The massacre occurred near Bavispe in Sonoma, said Langford, who suspects that the gunmen are members of a Chihuahua-based cartel that appear to have “encroached on another cartel’s territory,” the Tribune reports.
In the text of the Facebook post, written in Spanish, Langford says that the vehicles were ambushed by the cartel. He later told the press that the gunmen appear to have mistaken the family’s SUVs for targets.
Langford said that a relative of one of the kidnapped victims received a call from her and heard screaming and men talking loudly. The family has also described one of the children trying to run away and being shot dead by the gunmen.
As reported by The New York Times, Kenny LeBarón, a cousin of one of the women killed, said in an interview that he fears the death toll will only continue to rise.
“When you know there are babies tied in a car seat that are burning because of some twisted evil that’s in this world, it’s just hard to cope with that,” said LeBarón.
According to Langford, doctors from across the Mexican state were coming to help the wounded, but he said the family would prefer to fly to the U.S. for help.
“The families are from La Mora, about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz,” the Tribune explains. “They are a mix of people who worship with the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and polygamous offshoots.” The Times describes the family as members of a “fundamentalist Mormon community” which has lived in the region for decades.
A spokesman for the Mormon Church, however, told CNN that the family appears to be “members of a polygamist sect, not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article described the families as Mormon. It has been revised to reflect that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not recognize them as members of the mainstream Mormon church.