Head of the Mexican military’s joint chiefs of staff, Homero Mendoza, said today that authorities believe the Chihuahua based drug cartel ‘La Linea’ is to blame for Monday’s horrific massacre. Mendoza said “investigations indicated the group had sent a squadron to the lawless mountain region where the attack occurred to fend off potential incursions by a rival gang, Los Salazar.”
Reportedly there have been recent clashes between the two gangs. Does this statement by the Mexican military official insinuate the mormon families were a case of mistaken identity, simply at the wrong place at the wrong time? Relatives of the murdered women and children believe their family were deliberately targeted, reported AFP.
One family member, Lafe Langford Jr. told AFP “I have to emphasize there was no dueling cartels and there was no crossfire that our family were caught up in. They were murdered- massacred- solely by one acting cartel from Chihuaha.” Langford’s statement is a stark contrast to the statement of the Mexican official.
Another family member, Adran LeBaron, who is the father and grandfather of some of the victims also believes this was not a case of mistaken identity. LeBaron said two of the surviving children recounted their aunt exited the SUV with her arms raised to surrender before she was brutally gunned down. “So where is the mistaken identity? There was no mistake here” LeBaron told Mexican TV network Televisa.
There apparently is history between the families and the cartels which may provide insight and back up the families’ statements. According to AFP, the two families, “the LeBarons and Langfords, have been targeted by criminal groups in the past.” One family member, Benjamin LeBaron, founded a “crime-fighting group called SOS Chihuahua” and was “assassinated in 2009 after he led protests over the kidnapping of his 16-year-old brother, who was released after the family refused to pay a ransom.”