A North Dakota federal court judge has ordered a Mexican drug cartel to pay more than $4.6 billion, with accusations that members killed nine women and children from an offshoot Mormon community in November 2019.
US Magistrate Judge Clare Hochhalter ordered the Juarez cartel to pay $1.5 billion, which will increase three times under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act to $4.6 billion.
The victims’ families filed a lawsuit in the North Dakota courtroom against the Juarez cartel for carrying out the massacre in Mexico on November 4, 2019, as retaliation for their public criticism and protests against the cartel.
Nine people were killed in the massacre: Maria Rhonita Miller and her four children; Howard, 12, Krystal, 10, and 8-month-old twins Titus and Tiana.
Family members said the bodies of Miller, Titus and Tiana, Howard Jr., and Krystal were found inside a burned-out SUV, which had broken down with a flat tire before it was riddled with bullets, causing the car to explode.
Dawna Langford, 43, Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29, and her children Trevor, 11, and Rogan were also killed in the massacre.
Two widowers of women killed while working in North Dakota at the time the suit was filed are among the surviving family members.
The widowers’ lawyer said various family members were living in the state and working in the oil industry while traveling back and forth to Mexico.
“We went into a United States courtroom in North Dakota seeking some acknowledgment of and measure of justice for the trauma inflicted on our family, and we received it,” said David Langford, the husband of one of the victims.
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