Mother with her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana (left and right), her 10-year-old daughter Krystal (left) and 12-year-old son Howard (centre)

Hard on the heels of that brutal slaughter of nine Americans, including three mothers and six children, Mail Online reports: “A suspected drug lord has been arrested and is under investigation”.

The Mormon family was ambushed in northern Mexico by cartel gunmen earlier this week.

“The suspect was found late Tuesday in the town of Agua Prieta, right at the border with the U. state of Arizona, holding two hostages who were gagged and tied inside a vehicle, the Agency for Criminal Investigation said.

“Authorities said the suspect, whose name or gender hasn’t been released, was also found in the possession of four assault rifles and ammunition, as well as various large vehicles including a bullet-proofed SUV.

“The hostages are not believed to be related to the nine LeBaron family victims who were killed on Monday while traveling in a convoy of three SUVS on a dirt road in Sonora state.,” the report added.

“Investigators are still trying to determine if the suspect is connected to the brutal slayings.

“Officials have said that the cartel gunmen may have mistaken the group’s large SUVs for those of a rival gang amid a vicious turf war.

“The mothers were driving in separate vehicles with their children from the La Mora religious community where they live, which is a decades-old settlement in Sonora state founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The five children who were injured were airlifted to hospitals in the US following the grisly attack

Eight children, some just infants, survived the ambush, who “not only escaped the drug cartel gunmen who killed their mothers but managed to hide in the brush for hours until help arrived”.

“Relatives say he reached the community six hours later. Family members alerted authorities before arming themselves with guns to go out searching for the injured children.”

The report continued: “The five wounded children were seriously enough injured that Mexican authorities flew them to the border in a military helicopter to receive hospital care in the United States. Sonora state health officials said they were ‘stable’ at the moment of transfer.

“Three other children who were not wounded are in the care of family members in La Mora.

“The baby was found unharmed and still in her car seat on the backseat floor of the SUV when family members arrived at the scene hours later.

“She has since been reunited with her father Tyler Johnson.

“What the children went through in the remote, mountainous area of Sonora state is nearly indescribable.

“Altogether, the kids were on their own from about 1pm, when the ambush began, until about 7.30pm, when they were rescued.

“In recordings of calls between the rescuers, they can be heard debating whether it was better to risk more lives, or wait for an hour or two until Mexican army troops arrived. It was an agonizing decision,” the report said.

“What they saw when they found the children was terrifying.

“The killers were apparently members of the Juarez drug cartel and its armed wing, La Linea – ‘The Line’ – whose gunmen had entered Sinaloa cartel territory and set up an armed outpost on a hilltop and an ambush further up the road.

“The Juarez cartel apparently wanted to send a message that it controlled the road into Chihuahua. It was this invasion force that the American mothers and their three vehicles drove into,” the report added.

“It was only after the first vehicle was shot up and set afire that 50 or 60 Sinaloa cartel gunmen showed up to see what had happened.”

  • Top Feature Photo: Chihuahua state police officers man a checkpoint in Janos after drug cartel gunmen ambushed three SUVs along a dirt road, slaughtering six children and three women – AP Image