SALT LAKE CITY -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday morning the United States is willing and able to assist Mexico with drug cartels after several families with dual citizenship were murdered in an ambush.
Family members tell Fox 13 at least nine people with ties to Utah, including three mothers and six children, were killed after being caught in the middle of cartel violence in Mexico. Family members said all of those who were killed had dual US-Mexican citizenship and were traveling between the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua in a region of the Sierra Madre.
President Trump responded to the murders on Twitter Tuesday, promising to help if Mexico should ask.
"A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing," the president wrote. "If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!"
The president used even stronger language in a second tweet sent later:
"This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth," he tweeted. "We merely await a call from your great new president!"
Senator Mitt Romney also reacted:
"Ann and I are heartbroken for the victims of the horrific attacks in Mexico," he tweeted. "Our prayers are with their families who have suffered such an unspeakable tragedy. The U.S. must work with Mexican officials to hold accountable those responsible for this senseless violence."
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox thanked President Trump for his response Tuesday morning.
"The news out of Mexico last night is terrible," he wrote. "These families with ties to Utah being gunned down is awful and appalling. I’m grateful the president is willing to help Mexico put an end to this senseless violence. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families."
More Utah reactions:
Rep. Chris Stewart: "I am heartbroken to hear of this horrendous attack. My heart is with those affected by this tragic loss of life. Those responsible must be held accountable."
Rep. Ben McAdams: “It’s outrageous that mothers and children cannot drive in the area without being gunned down by these violent criminals. I learned from my recent visit with Republicans and Democrats to border facilities in McAllen, Texas that the drug cartels operate with near impunity and are a threat to the safety of U.S. and Mexican citizens, to asylum-seekers from Central America, and to our border security. My deepest sympathies go to the family members and friends of the shooting victims. The U.S. State Department has confirmed the deaths of nine U.S. citizens, including six children, in Sonora yesterday. Mission Mexico is providing consular assistance to the families and the FBI is engaged with local law enforcement."