Suspect wanted in 2019 Mexico ambush that killed 3 American mothers and 6 children is arrested in U.S.

Suspect wanted in 2019 Mexico ambush that killed 3 American mothers and 6 children is arrested in U.S.

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A man wanted in connection with an ambush that killed nine American citizens in northern Mexico nearly four years ago has been arrested in New Mexico, federal authorities said Wednesday.

The U.S. Marshals Service said Ivan Gustavo Hernandez-Cabral, 24, was taken into custody Monday in Albuquerque after the agency acted on a tip. Details of the arrest haven’t been released.

Marshal Service officials said Hernandez-Cabral was being held pending extradition to Mexico in connection with the Nov. 4, 2019, ambush that left three women and six children dead on a road in Sonora.

Five children survived the shooting, which authorities said happened when cartel gunmen opened fire on three vehicles full of women and children who had dual citizenship and lived in the area.

The Mormon group was headed to a wedding, and authorities said some of the victims were burned alive.

GettyImages-1180301500.jpg
Members of the Lebaron family watch the burned car where part of the nine murdered members of the family were killed and burned during an gunmen ambush on Bavispe, Sonora mountains, Mexico, on November 5, 2019. 

Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images


At the time of the attack, Mexican officials said the family drove into an area where there had been a shootout between rival cartel gangs earlier that day and were mistakenly attacked by one of the cartels.

Voice messages revealed the heart-wrenching moments and chaos after the ambush.

“Dawna and Christina are gone. They are not — they are dead,” a woman’s voice could be heard saying in a WhatsApp voice message.

“They opened fire… killed Dawna and the baby. And another one… and Dawna’s yelling at the kids to get down,” a man said in another.

After his mother and two brothers were shot to death, 13-year-old Devin Langford was able to hide his siblings in nearby bushes, covering them with branches. He then walked 14 miles for help. His 9-year-old sister, McKenzie, was grazed in the arm. She walked for four hours in the dark before finally finding rescuers.

Mexican prosecutors said about 20 suspects were arrested in the case by February 2021, and more warrants remain outstanding.

Hernandez-Cabral also is awaiting a hearing on an illegal entry charge in federal court in Albuquerque, the Marshals Service said.

The U.S. Border Patrol caught Hernandez-Cabral in July after he illegally crossed the border near Columbus, New Mexico, according to the Marshals Service.

A call to Hernandez-Cabral’s lawyer – Carlos Ibarra of Las Cruces – seeking comment on his client’s cases wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Last year, a federal judge from North Dakota ruled that the Juarez cartel must pay $1.5 billion to the victims’ families.

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