Demonstration last December for the LeBarón massacre.MARIO JASSO
"At some point we should unite and hold those who govern to account," says Julián Lebarón from Idaho, in the United States, fed up with the situation of violence in Mexico.
His lawyer, Abel Murrieta, was murdered this Thursday in Cajeme, Sonora.
Hit men shot him in the street, in broad daylight.
A former state attorney, Murrieta was also running for mayor of Cajeme in the June 6 elections.
"We live in terrorism," said Lebarón.
For a year and a half, Julián and Adrián Lebarón have become important voices within the immense group of victims that exists in Mexico. On November 4, 2019, a criminal group murdered three women and six children who were members of their family in cold blood. It was near the La Mora ranch, in Sonora, next to the border with the State of Chihuahua. There, in La Mora, the Lebaróns and other Mormon families have maintained a community for decades. Julián and Adrián have not stopped asking for justice since then. Adrián was the father of one of the murdered women and grandfather of several of the children.
The massacre at the La Mora ranch was one of the first of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Also one of the most important.
First because of the fury - the hit men shot women and children hundreds of times - but also because of the forcefulness of their relatives in their requests for justice to be done.
In the end, the attack connected with others registered in previous governments and blurred the idea of change, a new paradigm, that López Obrador has tried to promote.
Six children and three women of Mexican and American nationality murdered in northern Mexico
Abel Murrieta was a blessing on the road to justice for the family of the victims. At least that's what Julián and Adrián Lebarón say. "I'm very sad," said Julián, "Abel was like family." From Phoenix, Arizona, Adrián Lebarón adds: “He held my hand early in the process. He taught me to read between the lines in the statements of the detainees. He took the case very personal. There was no one as clean in that pigsty - the administration of justice - as him ... I feel very demoralized ”.
After the attack, rumors pointed to the crossfire between two criminal groups, one from Sonora and the other from Chihuahua. For some reason, the latter would have attacked the women and children, who were going to the community of La Mora in Chihuahua along a highway in the mountains that they used to use. For the Lebarón, the fury of the gunmen made it difficult to fit the pieces. They did not agree with the violence used against women and children, oblivious to any conflict. That's where Murrieta came into play, knowledgeable about the dynamics of the local Prosecutor's Office and the criminal groups in both states.
From his hand, supported by the pressure that Adrián, Julián and other family members have exercised tirelessly this year and a half, the authorities have made more than two dozen arrests, five for the direct attack against women and children. All the detainees are part of the criminal group La Línea, linked to the Juarez cartel, according to the authorities. However, there are data that have never squared. Adrián Lebarón explains that they recently learned that the cell phone of his daughter, Rhonita Miller, who was killed in the attack, made calls two days after the attack, from Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora. "If everything seemed to indicate that they were people from the Line, what was Rhonita's phone doing in Hermosillo?" Adrián Lebarón had planned to meet this Friday with Murrieta in Tijuana. "We were going to talk about things that couldn't be said over the phone, that's what he told me",account. Adrián doesn't know if it had to do with Rhonita or with what.
For the Lebarón, the case is progressing, although there is still a long way to go.
“There were more than 100 people in the mountains that day.
And more than 20 participated in the direct attack against women and children, ”says Adrián Lebarón.
"It is true that there are five prosecuted for the attack," adds Julián Lebarón, "but for them to be convicted, here in Mexico, a miracle is needed."
To achieve this miracle, the role of Murrieta seemed fundamental.
The murder of the lawyer occurs in a context of extreme violence against candidates for public office.
The latest data collected by Etellekt Consultores, corresponding to the month of April, indicate that the attacks against candidates and their relatives in this electoral process are now equal to those of the year 2000, the most violent campaign in recent times in Mexico.
In the case of Sonora, the situation is especially sensitive.
According to figures from the National Public Security System, Sonora is one of the five states where murders increased last year compared to the previous year.
For its part, Cajeme is one of the 15 municipalities of priority attention for the federal government due to the situation of violence.
For Julián Lebarón, "the real crime is the one committed by the authority, which allows criminals to take over the roads," he says.
of EL PAÍS México and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of this country