Former ambassador to Mexico offers solution after murders of 9 Americans in cartel shootout

The only way to fix the problems at the southern border is to commit to a working partnership with Mexico, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne said Tuesday.

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, Wayne said the "number of instances of criminal violence over past weeks" is "part of a problem that Mexico has been grappling with for a number of years" -- including when he was an ambassador and tried to find an effective strategy to counter it.

On Monday, at least six children and three women living in a Mormon offshoot community of U.S. citizens in Mexico were shot to death and five children were injured after their convoy came under fire during a brazen daylight ambush believed to have been carried out by gunmen affiliated with organized crime in the country.


Those attacked were members of the LeBaron family, a well-known American clan who have lived in the fundamentalist community in the northern part of the country for decades, according to the New York Times.

More than a dozen other members of La Mora — a decades-old settlement in Sonora state founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — were missing after the attack on the convoy of three SUVs, a relative told The Associated Press.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, President Trump hit out at the "monsters" who perpetrated the act.

"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. 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!"

Wayne said that the real way to get a lasting solution to combat cartels is by doubling down on "cooperating against this organized crime."

"We just have to be better working together on both sides of the border to deal with this problem," said Wayne.

Wayne told the "Newsroom" hosts that recently the two governments have set up a number of working groups to try to "better define a new strategy for going after organized crime." He said that both nations have a sovereign interest in tackling border security and violence, but that solutions won't be easy.


"What is clear is that we need, from both governments, a focus," said Wayne. " Because this incident just highlights the tragedy on both sides of the border. In Mexico, they're heading toward a new high of homicides this year and last year was a record. In the United States, as you know, we have these tens of thousands of people who are dying of drug overdoses. We need to solve this problem."

"It's only going to happen if both sides really commit to an intensive partnership," he concluded.

Fox News' Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.