By Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
After spokespersons for the Lebaron family vowed to stay in Mexico, others had second thoughts. In the past few days more reports came from the group that some strongly felt the attack against women and children from the Mormon group, that left 9 dead, was not happenstance but a targeted attack.
They are Fortunate, they are Mexican citizens with dual U.S. citizenship, which gives them options to escape the cartel violence, they believe they would confront additional attacks by cartels.
The members are from the La Mora community, one of two Mormon settlements in northeast Sonora, the other is the Labaron Colonia. La Mora is the much smaller community of the two and where the victims of the cartel attack were from.
Bryce Langford said the community has learned more about cartel activity in the area in recent months, compelling people to consider moving for safety. However, it was after Monday’s deadly ambush that they decided they had to move for safety.
Bryce stated he was raised in La Mora but had moved to North Dakota where is now is.
When asked about leaving long gained assets behind Bryce replied; “The assets that they’ve acquired down there are tremendous.” he said.
“And to have to up and leave your home from one day to the next and leave everything behind, there’s definitely a lot of sad people here.”
The La Mora colonia settled in the 1950s. Lebaron colonia is over 100 years old.
Mainstream Mexican news outlets are not yet reporting the exodus story.
Reason for the attack Mexico’s theory
What has been reported in Mexican press is about the long time dispute going back decades, regarding irrigation wells.
Some farmers claim LeBarons have been accuse the family of illegal tapping of water from rivers and vital aquifers, for the commercial farming, leaving nearby farms without enough water for farming.
The family surmises that it is that dispute, and previous attacks against the family stemming from the same dispute, is the reason they were/are targeted.
Gleaning information from Mexican newspapers archives, one can see the dispute has irrupted in violence when gunmen forced their way into a LeBaron ranch named El Barzón.
However, the LeBarons were prepared for an attack after previous acts of violence against them, including kidnapping, extortion attempts, murder and death threats including ultimatums.
The LeBaron’s fired on the would-be executioners.
Julian LeBaron, leader of the LeBaron colonia, says their group felt they had no choice but to arm themselves.
The war between the two sides has been ongoing since the attack.
This theory is feasible, and would explain why when the gunmen who attacked on Monday proceeded with the massacre after discovering the vehicles were of women and children and not rival cartel members.
Who is responsible?
If you accept the state’s official theory, then is would be Los Jaguares. Who they say “mistakenly” killed the Mormon group thinking it was member of La Linea who they are warring with over regional control. They had a fierce battle in nearby Agua Prieta, just hrs earlier.
That is impossible to accept because clearly, if not with the first vehicle of Mormons then the second and third, they knew the occupants were not sicarios.
The official federal version says La Línea, enforcers of the Juarez Cartel. They refer to the conflict in Agua Prieta, further stating, after the conflict, sicarios were positioned on the hills of the desolate Highways 14 and 2. There is but one travel route from that area of Sonora to Chihuahua, from Bavispe it is Hwy’s 14 to 2 to 10, making a U around the mountain range.
The children survivors say, for whatever reason some of them were allowed to go. One boy walked 14 ilometers to La Mora to get help. He tells the story of a mother exiting the vehicle and waved her arms in a failed attempt to communicate with the gunmen the occupants were not sicarios, but children and women.
There is no doubt they were aware it was children and women they were killing.