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No arrests yet in possible cartel-linked California killings

(NewsNation) — The Monday killing of six people at a home in central California remains unsolved, but what happened may be linked to a far bigger and growing issue — Mexican cartel revenge killings on American soil.

The victims of the shooting in Goshen, California, ranged in age from just 10 months to 72 years old and were killed in less than an hour.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said the home was known for drug activity, and one of the victims had gang affiliations.

“This was a family that was massacred on purpose, and they were targeted specifically,” Boudreaux told NewsNation. “This was a message that was being sent from someone to someone.”

Law enforcement had been at the house just two weeks earlier in a raid that netted guns, marijuana and methamphetamine. 

“This is not something that is characteristic of gangs. Women and children are to be left alone, unless there is something so egregious that it involves the cartel to get involved,” Boudreaux said.

The sheriff said Thursday he’s confident investigators will find the perpetrator. Earlier in the week, Boudreaux did not definitely say the shooting was committed by cartel members, but he said his department isn’t ruling out the possibility.

Consistent drug demand in the U.S. is driving increased cartel activity everywhere. Goshen is a remote farming town in Tulare County, between Bakersfield and Fresno. Authorities have yet to confirm which cartel may be responsible.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has been tracking the two biggest players for decades and offering big rewards — $15 million for Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael Zambada Garcia, known as “El Mayo,” and $10 million for Jalisco New Generation Cartel leader Nemesio Oseguera-Cervantes, known as “El Mencho.”

There have been scores of killings in America linked to cartels.

In 2021, a North Carolina high school teacher died in a shootout after he tried to steal drugs and money from a cartel stash house.

“As sheriff, I’m still worried about some retaliation because the Mexican cartels, they don’t forget,” Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said at the time. “They’re going to pay somebody back.”

According to U.S. officials, Mexican cartels supply the bulk of illegal drugs — mainly cocaine, heroin, meth and fentanyl. The dealing and deadly revenge are rampant.

“Fentanyl (is) coming across our border, methamphetamine (is) coming across our border, and the cartels (are) freely coming in across our border, using the state of California, in the United States, as if it was their own property,” Boudreaux said.

In the case of the Goshen shooting, authorities are searching for at least two suspects. A number of relatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Neighbors have also declined to speak with the media, with some telling NewsNation affiliate KSEE they are fearful of stepping outside their homes.