Authorities in Mexico have announced that they have arrested a number of cartel members in connection with a brutal ambush that claimed the lives of several American citizens.
Three women and six children were killed after gunmen opened fire on the LeBaron family as they traveled through Sonora state.
In a statement released Sunday, Mexico’s federal prosecutor’s office revealed that intelligence officials, along with military personnel, had detained several suspects after launching a raid at an undisclosed location.
According to USA Today, three suspects were arrested just south of the Arizona border in Sonora state, right near where the vicious attack took place.
Despite the Mexican authorities heralding the arrests as a great move forward in the investigation, members of the grieving LeBaron family reacted with skepticism.
“I would imagine these are low-level people,” relative Julián LeBaron told the outlet. “We want to know who gave the order and who is responsible.”
LeBaron has previously suggested that the FBI is in possession of further evidence regarding the attack.
“There’s a video that the FBI has of 12 guys dressed in black with helmets, like special forces, coming down the hill, opening fire on my cousin’s vehicle,” he said. “When they got to the vehicle, they got her purse … I don’t think anyone questions the fact that it was targeted.”
Many in the extended LeBaron family have called on the president to designate the cartels a “terrorist group,” and to intervene in the relentless, bloody drug war.
Trump told Bill O’Reilly last week that he would be making the designation, but the Mexican government sees this as meddling.
“We recognize … President Trump has offered us help and respect. That’s to say, he was respectful and offered help and at the same time respected our sovereign right to decide with independence,” President López Obrador told his supporters Sunday. “The government of Mexico will fulfill its responsibility to do justice.”
On Monday, relatives of the slain family met with the President to address how exactly the cartels will be combatted moving forward.
Obrador has been criticized for tackling the crisis not with the military, but with social programs. His strategy has been dubbed “hugs, not bullets.”
“The problem of violence is enormous, it is immensely large,” Julian LeBaron told reporters following the meeting, according to the Washington Post. “There are thousands, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, but millions of hit men, and the only way to stop it is to put all the differences we have — political, cultural, religious and everything else — aside and to say, ‘Hey, we have to reach a level of minimal civilization where life is respected.’”
LeBaron urged that he wanted more high-level arrests to be carried out in due course.
Over the weekend, at least 20 people were killed when the Cartel of the Northeast clashed with security forces in the town of Villa Union, just 40 miles from Eagle Pass, Texas.