National Security

US Judge Awards Families Of Drug Cartel Victims Billions — There’s Just One Problem

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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The Juarez Cartel will have to pay $4.6 billion to the families of nine people it allegedly killed in 2019, according to multiple reports.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Clare Hochhalter in North Dakota ordered the payment of $1.5 billion after the families sued the cartel for allegedly carrying out the killings as retribution for their open criticism of the criminal organization, according to the Bismarck Tribune. The original payment to the family of $1.5 billion will be tripled to $4.6 billion, per the federal Anti-Terrorism Act, according to ABC News. (RELATED: Man Allegedly Built Massive Drug Ring In Tennessee Prison With Cartel Supplied Fentanyl: REPORT)

Maria Rhonita LeBaron and four of her children, ages 12, 10, and eight-month-old twins; Christina Langford and Dawna Langford and her 11 and two-year-olds were driving approximately 90 miles from the U.S. border in Mexico, when they were ambushed and fired upon by alleged cartel members who eventually set their cars on fire, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

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. - US President Donald Trump offered Tuesday to help Mexico "wage war" on its cartels after three women and six children from an American Mormon community were murdered in an area notorious for drug traffickers. (Photo by Herika MARTINEZ / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Herika MARTINEZ has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [AFP PHOTO / Herika MARTINEZ ] instead of [AFP PHOTO / STR ]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

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. – US President Donald Trump offered Tuesday to help Mexico “wage war” on its cartels after three women and six children from an American Mormon community were murdered in an area notorious for drug traffickers. (Photo by Herika MARTINEZ / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Herika MARTINEZ has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [AFP PHOTO / Herika MARTINEZ ] instead of [AFP PHOTO / STR ]. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“We went into a United States courtroom in North Dakota seeking some acknowledgement of and measure of justice for the trauma inflicted on our family and we received it,” family member David Langford said, according to ABC News.

The Bismarck Tribune didn’t get a response from the cartel, which didn’t have representation at the trial, according to the outlet.

The government has the ability to freeze terrorist organization assets, but it is currently unknown if the department has any cartel assets, ABC News reported.

The Department of Treasury didn’t respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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