On Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, 9 Mormons, 6 children, and 3 women were killed in Mexico. It has been deduced that the murder was coordinated by a cartel, as the Mexican government released a statement saying that three other SUVs and bystanders were attacked.
What makes this situation seem more suspicious is the targeting of U.S. Mormon citizens. Mormon colonization first started in the 1880s, when the U.S. government started to crack down on polygamy. Mormons then sought out a new home along the US border. According to Professor Paul Reeve of the University of Utah, “Some Mormon polygamists moved into northern Mexico, and some moved into southern Canada in the 1880s. They established “some fairly thriving communities in northern Mexico” (Reeve). Although now polygamy has been outlawed by the Mormon church, almost 1.5 million Mormons still reside in Mexico.
Thus far, what we know about the attack is that it was clearly an ambush. The 9 US citizens were all traveling, in 3 separate cars, when they were suddenly open-fired upon, and then their vehicles were engulfed in flames. One 13-year-old survivor walked several miles to find help. He was able to hide his siblings safely in order to look for help. 5 of the 8 surviving children are in stable condition at the hospital. Currently, the Mexican National Guard has been deployed to nearby towns. The government is trying to discourage youth from joining gangs, and in doing so they need to stop romanticizing them. Former Mexican gang member Alex Sanchez said, “MS-13 getting hyped to be one of the most dangerous gangs in the world just feeds into the gang’s goal, It’s a recruitment tool. They can say they’re huge, that they’re vicious. It convinces youth at risk that they should join this huge umbrella that they can be protected under” (The New Yorker). In order to make gangs seem less attractive to young people, Sanchez suggests that we stop making it out as a large protective family, instead as something that will use you and than dispose of you one they’re done with you.
Mexico has been struggling to fight against the cartel violence in their country for years, and President Obrador, the President of Mexico, has said, “Violence cannot be met with violence.” President Obrador urges peace instead of retaliation because there is enough violence caused by the cartels already. US President Donald Trump responded, saying, “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.” Trump has respect for Obrador, but he does not want more US citizens killed, and for no action to be taken. The two presidents discussed and agreed that they will cooperate to ensure that the criminals face justice. The FBI has even offered assistance to the Mexican authorities to decrease cartel crime rates. Furthermore, Trump seems ready to take it a step further. Trump tweeted, “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.” Trump is hoping that this will launch a stepping ground for a war on drug cartels in the hope of minimizing violence and drug trafficking.
One of the victim’s husband has stated, “This community here will forever, ever be changed, one of the biggest things to our lives is the safety of our family, and I don’t feel safe. I haven’t for a few years here.” We can only pray that the dual efforts of both President Trump and Obrador will help Mexico’s government and law enforcement increase in safety and a decrease in drug trafficking.
Aguilera, Jasmine, and Madeleine Carlisle. “9 U.S. Citizens Killed in Mexico. What We Know About Ambush.” Time, Time, 6 Nov. 2019,
Allyn, Bobby. “FBI Joins Investigation Into Killing Of 9 Members Of Mormon Family In Mexico.” NPR, NPR, 11 Nov. 2019,
Blitzer, Jonathan. “Former Gang Members Offer Advice on How to Combat MS-13.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 30 Jan. 2018,
Radnofsky, Caroline, et al. “At Least Nine Americans Killed in Mexican Highway Ambush.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 6 Nov. 2019,