Mexican police arrest 3 in attack that killed 9 of family with Utah ties

Relatives attend a November 7 memorial to mourn nine victims of an Arizona family who were attacked by drug traffickers in Sonora state in Mexico. Photo by Luis Torres/EPA-EFE

Dec. 2 (UPI) — Mexico’s attorney general said authorities have arrested several suspects in connection with the shooting deaths last month of nine members of a U.S. family with Utah ties who’d traveled across the border to attend a wedding.

The family members were part of a decades old settlement founded by followers of a fundamentalist religious group called The Church of the Firstborn, an unauthorized offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The group has a compound called La Mora close to where the women and children were killed.

Three suspects were arrested following a joint operation by Mexico’s Prosecutor General, the National Guard and National Center for Intelligence, Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

The office of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation helped in obtaining “essential information and evidence.”

Mexican police arrested and charged one suspect immediately after the Nov. 4 shootings in Sonora state. Six children and three women were killed in the attack, which occurred as the family members were traveling to a relative’s wedding.

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The shootings of the LaBaron family, which held dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship, are suspected to be the work of persons involved with Mexican drug cartels and sparked outrage in the United States and Mexico. President Donald Trump last week said his administration would designate Mexican cartels foreign “terrorist” organizations to grant U.S. authorities more power to target them.

Mexican officials have criticized the move, fearing it would open the door for unabated U.S. action against the cartels.

Demonstrators protested in Mexico City on Sunday and called for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to take more action against Mexican cartels — including Julian LaBaron, who said his family expects to meet with Lopez Obrador this week.

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