A municipal police chief in Northern Mexico was arrested on Thursday for suspected links to the killing of three women and six children of Mormon origin in the country last month, Reuters reports.
Law enforcement agents arrested Fidel Alejandro Villegas, also known as El Chiquilín (The Kid), police chief of Janos, a municipality neighboring the state of Chihuahua. Reports on the arrest say Villegas has ties to local organized crime but don’t share further details on his involvement in the Nov. 4 killings.
Mexican officials believe the women and children were accidental victims of a turf war between local drug cartels, but family spokesperson Julián LeBaron said those killed, who were members of the LeBaron and Langford clans, breakaway sects of the Mormon faith with a large presence in Chihuahua and Sonora, were targeted.
LeBaron told Aristegui News that he is not surprised by a high-level officer’s involvement in the case.
“The entire northwest [of Mexico] has a reputation that all police officers work for organized crime,” he said. “And that’s what high school kids tell you. It’s not a mystery.”
Villegas is awaiting trial in Mexico City. He is the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the killings.