Things That Matter

Mexican Authorities Think The Mormon Family Was Murdered Because A Drug Lord Thought They Were A Rival Gang

This week, nine members of a prominent Mormon family were killed by heavily armed men while on their way to a wedding in Chihuahua, Mexico. Six of the victims were children. The children that survived hid beneath branches by the road until help arrived. The LeBarón family are dual Mexican and American citizens who have lived in the northern state of Sonora for decades. Three mothers and their children were driving from their fundamentalist Mormon community in the mountains in a convoy of three SUVs when they were attacked, for reasons still unknown. Mexico’s top security official, Alfonso Durazo, suspects the cartel involved may have thought the SUV convoy appeared as a threat from a rival gang.

Mexican police have arrested a suspected drug lord believed to be responsible for the massacre. The case is still under investigation.

Rhonita Maria LeBarón, 30, and her four children were all murdered.

Credit: Tiffany Langford / Facebook

Rhonita was driving to Phoenix that day to pick her husband up from a work trip, but her car blew a tire. Rhonita went back home to get another car and set out again, this time with two families ahead of her, heading to a wedding. Family member Kendra Miller posted to Facebook the horrifying outcome: “Nita and the four of her seven children she had taken on the trip were burned to mostly ashes and only a few charred bones left to identify that all five had been inside. It appeared that one tried to escape as the front passenger door was open and the remains were partially in and out of the vehicle.”

Rhonita LeBarón, her six-month old twins, Titus and Tiana, Krystal, 10, and Howard, 12, were all killed.

Christina Langford, 31, died saving her seven-month-old baby, Faith.

Credit: Kenny LeBaron / Facebook

Ten miles ahead of Rhonita’s family, Christina and baby Faith were in one car, with a family of ten in another car. According to family member Kendra Miller, “Christina jumped out waving her arms to let the attackers know that it was women and children in the vehicles. She gave her life to try and save the rest.” Before she died, Langford quickly threw baby Faith to the floor of the SUV, saving her life. Later, Miller says armed family members arrived at the scene to find “Christina’s baby Faith with the vehicle around her riddled with bullet holes. Somehow she had remained untouched, and alive. She was in her car seat, which looked to have been hurriedly placed on the floor of the vehicle by her mother for protection.”

Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and two of her children perished in the other vehicle.

Credit: Tiffany Langford / Facebook

Dawna Langford, 43, and her two children, Trevor Harvey, 11, and Rogan Jay, 3, were killed. Seven of her children survived, but several suffered gunshot wounds.

After witnessing his mother and brothers being shot dead, Dawna’s son Devin hid his 6 other siblings in the bushes and covered them with branches to keep them safe while he went for help,” Kendra Miller shared in a Facebook post. “When he took too long to return, his 9-year-old sister left the remaining five to try again.”

Six hours after the ambush, young Devin had hiked 14 miles to alert the rest of the family to the dire news. Devin’s uncles called for help, and armed themselves, arriving an hour later to the site of the massacre. They found the children, who were still hiding, and baby Faith alive. 

Five of Dawna’s children were injured and are being treated at a U.S. hospital.

Credit: Kenny LeBaron / Facebook

Miller shared that they were treated at a local hospital until the Mexican military transported them by helicopter to another hospital. From there, their father, David accompanied them as they were transported to a U.S. hospital. McKenzie, 9, was found by soldiers after she went looking for help, and got lost hiking for 4 hours. Kyle, 14, was shot in the foot. Cody, 8, was shot in the jaw, and leg. Xander, who is just 4 years old, was shot in the back. Brixon, who is just 8 months old, was grazed across the chest and wrist. 

Trump wants to wage a “war,” but Mexico’s President doesn’t feel that’s the answer.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters,” Trump tweeted. “The United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

In a follow-up tweet, Trump suggested waging “war,” saying, “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!” During a daily press briefing, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rebuffed Trump’s suggestion, saying, “It’s not in agreement with our convictions. The worst thing is war.”

READ: They Discovered Mass Graves And Now These Grieving Mothers Are Being Threatened By Drug Cartels

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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Things That Matter

Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the historic role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico after a former Mexican army chief was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on drug charges at the request of the DEA.

The former Mexican Defense Minister was arrested by the DEA on drug charges.

Salvador Cienfuegos Zepedas was the secretary of National Defense in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018. President Lopez Obrador claims that the arrest is proof of corruption from past governments.

President Lopez Obrador used the arrest to criticize the U.S. government and the DEA.

President Lopez Obrador, speaking at a press conference in Oaxaca, claimed that there is a double standard. While Cienfuegos Zepedas has been arrested by the DEA, the president claims U.S. officials have not been held accountable for trafficking arms into Mexico to track them to the cartels. According to the president, Mexican officials are being held at a higher and harsher standard than U.S. officials.

“Why is it that it’s just the people in Mexico who took part in these acts being accused or implicated, and (the DEA) aren’t criticizing themselves, reflecting on the meddling by all these agencies in Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said at the press conference. “They came into the country with complete freedom, they did whatever they wanted.”

The former defense minister’s arrest sent shockwaves through Mexico.

Cienfuegos Zepedas was the first high-ranking Mexican military official to be arrested in the U.S. with drug-related corruption. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be facing drug and money-laundering charges. It’s been less than a year since Genaro Garcia Luna was charged with taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Lopez Obrador wants to protect the military’s reputation.

Lopez Obrador also said he hopes that the armed forces aren’t blamed for this scandal and that Mexico must take care of institutions as important as the Secretary of National Defense. Mexico does not currently have an ongoing investigation of the retired general and will await the result of the U.S. investigation, according to the president of Mexico. 

Cienfuegos Zepedas is due to make a court appearance related to four charges in California on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

READ: This Is What Mexico’s AMLO Wants From The Pope For The Churches Crimes Against Indigenous Mexicans

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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