A suspect in the 2019 killing of nine Americans who were traveling through Mexico has been arrested, according to the attorney general’s office. The family had been traveling in Northern Mexico to the town of Bavispe, which is roughly 100 miles south of the border with Arizona. According to police reports, there have already been twelve arrests in connection with the case, but only two of the suspects have been charged with murder.
The family lived in a Mormon community in Northern Mexico, and were en route to a wedding when they were ambushed and killed. They were traveling in an SUV convoy, likely in order to increase their safety, but they were ambushed along the road. The man arrested on Wednesday in connection with the case is being identified only as “Alfredo L.”
Alfredo has been described by authorities as a member of a criminal organization that is operating in Northern Mexico. The victims were ambushed by a group, likely a criminal organization, and their SUV convoy was sprayed with gunfire. Investigators told reporters that so many bullets were fired that one of the SUVs exploded.
Victims included Christina Marie Langford Johnson, Dawna Langford, Trevor Langford, Rogan Langford, Rhonita Miller, Howard Miller, Krystal Miller, and infant twins, Titus and Tiana Miller. The group included adults and children, all of whom were caught by bullets in the hail of gunfire. Shockingly, eight of the children survived the attack, including a nine-month-old and a four-year-old who survived gunshot wounds.
Mexican authorities have theorized that the SUV convoy might have been mistaken for a rival criminal enterprise. Two factions have been warring for control of lucrative drug and weapons trafficking routes through the region that lead toward the US border. Tragically, Northern Mexico is often the site of gang-related violence, due to the lucrative drug trade with illicit markets within the United States.
This has resulted in a tense scenario that is hard to manage in the region. Rival drug cartels can make otherwise peaceful towns and roads into warzones, where they battle for control of shipping routes. Mexico’s government has tried to confront the organizations with mixed success, while the US has offered assistance in combating them on occasion.
A GoFundMe page set up for the survivors of the attack has attracted some $200,000 in donations. It is unclear, at the time of this writing, if the arrested suspect has legal representation.