La Linea cartel boss arrested in killings of nine Americans, state officials say

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'The Mute' led remnants of old Juarez cartel in western Chihuahua state

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican authorities have arrested another three suspects in connection to last year’s killing of nine American citizens in Bavispe, Sonora, multiple sources report.

Roberto Gonzalez Montes, a.k.a. “32” or “El Mudo” (The Mute).

The detainees include Roberto Gonzalez Montes, a.k.a. “32” and “El Mudo” (The Mute), a major leader of La Linea drug cartel in western Chihuahua. The other two were only identified as Santiago C. and Eulalio D.

“They have him detained and he’s being taken to Mexico City. I don’t have the details, it’s just what federal authorities have told us. We have been sharing intelligence and now they’re informing us they have captured The Mute and two others,” Chihuahua State Police Commissioner Emilio Garcia Ruiz said Monday in a news conference in Chihuahua City.

Gonzalez is the alleged leader of La Linea in the mountains of western Chihuahua. He has led a bloody war in the past year against the Gente Nueva cell of the Sinaloa cartel for control of drug trafficking routes, gasoline theft and illegal logging, according to authorities and drug experts. He was previously arrested on drugs and weapons charges, but released by a federal judge in 2017.

Now authorities are linking him to the Nov. 4, 2019, killing of three women and six children who were members of the LeBaron, Langford and Johnson families associated with the independent Mormon settlement of LeBaron, Chihuahua.

The arrest of Gonzalez “will have a positive impact” in the fight against organized crime in Chihuahua, said Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava. “He was a major objective, a subject of ongoing investigations, so there will be positive developments in some of those investigations,” Nava said.

The dead included adults Rhonita Miller, 30; Dawna Langford, 43; and Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29. The children were Howard Miller, 12; Trevor Langford, 11; Krystal Miller, 10; Rogan Langford, 2; and 8-month-old twins Titus and Tiana Miller.

The Mormon community just a few weeks ago held a memorial service in Galeana, Chihuahua, to honor the victims.

Members of the LeBaron family have posted news of the arrest on their social media pages.

Mexican authorities say the attack on the women’s vehicles near the Chihuahua-Sonora border was a case of mistaken identity. According to Mexican federal officials, members of La Linea believed the vehicles were occupied by members of the rival Los Salazar cell of the Sinaloa cartel, which operates in northeastern Sonora.

Twelve men, including the former police chief of Janos, Chihuahua, had previously been arrested in connection to the killings.

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