Cartel kingpin arrested over massacre of nine mothers and children from Mormon family on the way to a wedding in Mexico

A MAN alleged to be a drug cartel boss has been arrested in connection with the massacre of a Mormon family in Mexico.

The three mums and six kids were in a convoy of 17 members of a US family who were ambushed as they drove to a wedding in the border state of Sonora.

Roberto Gonzalez Montes is allegedly the leader of a cell of La Linea – or Juarez – cartel in the northern province of Chihuahua, has now been arrested, El Diario reports.

Rhonita Miller LeBaron, 30, was killed with her son, 13, daughter, 11, and seven-month-old baby twins.

Christina and Dawna Langford, 43, and two of Dawna's children, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, three, were also killed.

Survivors told how gunmen riddled their cars with bullets, burned babies alive and shot one boy in the back as he fled.

Montes' arrest was carried out by personnel from the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime Investigation the Secretary of National Defense the Navy and the National Intelligence Center.

According to local media reports Montes – who is known by the aliases El Mudo or El 32 -has been taken to the capital Mexico City, where he will be formally charged.

His arrest comes José Lara was captured by security forces in Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican city on the Rio Grande, earlier this month – on the first anniversary of the massacre.

The Attorney General's Office announced the arrest of the suspect, who is accused of being "a member of a criminal organisation with a presence in the north of the country".

Lara, believed to be a member of a gang working with the Juárez Cartel, was busted on Wednesday in connection to the massacre of the families on a remote road in Bavispe, Sonora, on November 4 last year.

Community members said Christina was killed after she jumped out of her vehicle and waved her hands to show she was no threat to the gunmen, but was shot twice in the heart.

Her daughter Faith Marie Johnson, who was six months old at the time of the attack, was found unharmed in her car seat.

Some of the victims – including babies – were then reportedly burned alive and its feared female victims were raped.

Alex LeBaron, who said he lost family members in the attack, told CNN at the time: "Women and children were massacred, burnt alive. Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop."

Lara is reportedly the 13th person to have been arrested by Mexican authorities following last year's attack.

Before Lara's arrest, Jesús Parra was apprehended in June and indicted on a homicide charge in September.

Police have reportedly issued arrest warrants for ten more people for charges of homicide but none of the suspects have been convicted yet.

One victim's father said he had mixed emotions because he did not want to place all of his hopes on Mexico's court system.

Lara is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and involvement "with organised crime for the purpose of committing crimes against health."

The victims were all US citizens who lived in La Mora, a decades-old settlement in Sonora near the US border, about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.

They are understood to have family ties to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – a Mormon religious group that believes in polygamy.

Family members describe themselves as part of a Mormon community of about 3,000 members, living in their own agricultural community in Mexico.

After the killings last year, community members branded the alleged cartel members as "worse than ISIS".

Rosa LeBaron, 65, whose cousins, nieces and nephews died in the attacks, said: “I really believe that the cartels in Mexico have moved to another level of barbarity, they are as bad or worse than ISIS.

“These sicarios (hitmen), why are they doing it? Out of greed and pure evil.”

She said Mexico needed to overcome pride, and accept outside help from a neighbouring country or international coalition, like the United Nations, to stamp out the evil cartels once and for all.

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