Mexico: 40 suspects identified in killing of 9 Americans

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Mexico Border Killings

Adrian LeBaron, who lost relatives and friends in a Nov. 4, 2019 ambush in northern Mexico, talks with reporters after meeting with authorities at the office of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime Investigation in Mexico City, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Prosecutors said Tuesday more than 40 suspects have been identified in connection with the slaughter of the nine U.S. dual-national women and children. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — More than 40 suspects have now been identified in connection with the Nov. 4 slaughter of nine U.S. dual-national women and children in northern Mexico, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors met with members of the extended LeBaron family who have lived in northern Mexico for decades. They consider themselves Mormon but are not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many have dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship.

The prosecutors' office did not offer any further details on the 40 suspects, many of whom are apparently known only by their nicknames.

Last week, prosecutors reported that three men were arrested and charged with organized crime for drug offenses, though none apparently yet faces homicide charges in the case.

They said four other suspects are being held under a form of house arrest. The name of one suspect announced by federal prosecutors Monday partially matches the police chief of the town of Janos, Chihuahua, near where the killings occurred. Local media reported the police chief had been in the pay of the La Linea drug gang.

Julian LeBaron, who lost relatives and friends in the ambush, confirmed the police chief had been arrested, and added, “That should be very worrying to everyone.”

“Who vets them?" LeBaron asked. “He (the police chief) was there for 13 years", he said, questioning how state authorities could not have known the man was working for a drug cartel.

Many members of the extended family have questioned why Mexico's strict gun laws prevent them from having firepower equal to the cartels'.

“The police have a local monopoly on weapons and they participate in the murder of women and children,” LeBaron said.

Authorities have suggested a drug gang was responsible for the ambush.