A North Dakota federal court judge has ordered a Mexican cartel to pay more than $4.6 billion in connection with accusations that members killed nine women and children from an offshoot Mormon community in 2019.
The Juarez cartel was ordered to pay $1.5 billion to the victims’ families, who filed a lawsuit accusing the crime group of carrying out the November 2019 attack in Mexico as retribution for their public criticism and protests against the cartel.
Three American women and six children, including infants, were killed in the northern Mexico state of Sonora on Nov. 4, 2019.
Cartel members fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition into vehicles and then set them on fire. Mexican authorities said in 2020 that the mastermind of the attack was one of 17 people arrested.
According to The Associated Press, most bilingual American-Mexicans had lived in northern Mexico for decades and considered themselves Mormons, though they were not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In their 2020 lawsuit, the grieving families accused the Juarez cartel of coordinating the attack as part of a decades-long effort to intimidate and coerce the local population and influence the Mexican government. At the time, they called it one of the most ruthless attacks to date.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Clare Hochhalter ordered the cartel last week to pay $1.5 billion – an amount that will be automatically tripled under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act to $4.6 billion.
After the news of the judgment, David Langford, who lost his wife Dawna and his two kids, said the “horror” that his children experienced and that his family had since endured at the hands of the Juarez cartel “will never, ever be made right,” according to The Bismarck Tribune.
The Chihuahua Post