Sinaloa cartel claims it ‘handed’ accused murderers of American and Australian surfers over to police

Cartel spokesperson said it helped police find the ‘robbers’ to absolve group from the alleged murders

James Liddell
Thursday 09 May 2024 17:54
'World a darker place for us', mother of Australian surfers killed in Mexico says
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The Sinaloa cartel claims to have “handed” over the suspects who allegedly murdered three tourists shot dead on a surfing trip in order to avoid “unwanted attention” from the police.

US citizen Jack Carter Rhoad, 30, and his Australian friends, brothers Jake, 30, and Callum Robinson, 33, were reported missing on 27 April near the Sinaloa cartel-controlled city of Ensenada, off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

Jake had left his home in Perth to join his brother for the “trip of a lifetime”, their mother Debra Robinson told 7News. Mr Carter Rhoad was set to get married in August.

For just over a week, the three tourists’ lifeless corpses lay at the bottom of a cliff. Each had a bullet wound to the skull, Baja California state authorities confirmed. The victims’ bodies were identified by family members who travelled to Mexico, officials said on Monday.

Now, a spokesperson for the cartel has broken its silence on the alleged murder of the three men.

The cartel, one of the most powerful drug syndicates in the criminal underworld, said it had cooperated with local police to find the killers. Its aim was to absolve itself.

Police found the three friends’ burnt-out pickup truck (Baja California attorney general’s office)

“They were low-level robbers acting alone, but we handed them over,” the alleged cartel member told the Daily Beast.

After learning that the police were looking for the missing tourists, along with the potential perpetrators, the group was afraid it would receive “unwanted attention”, the spokesperson said, so they looked for the killers themselves.

“We called the authorities to let them know where to find them,” they said.

Three people, two men and a woman who in possession of one of the victims’ phones, have been detained on suspicion of being involved in the attack.

One of the suspects, named as Jesus Gerardo, reportedly told his girlfriend that he had “f***** up three gringos”, prosecutors say.

US citizen Jack Carter Rhoad (Supplied)

The three friends were said to have left a remote area south of Ensenada, in which they had camped the night before their disappearance. As they were driving to an Airbnb in Rosarito they had rented, a group of “robbers” demanded their vehicle, according to authorities.

Officials believe that the men died during a carjacking, with the attackers suspected of wanting the vehicle’s tyres, according to state prosecutor Maria Andrade.

The men likely attempted to stop the theft of their pickup truck, so sparking the shooting, according to Baja California investigators.

“The tourists refused and tried to fight back, but the robbers were armed,” the investigator told the outlet.

“When the criminals took out their guns the three [tourists] tried to de-escalate things, but it was too late, they beat the three of them and then shot them in the head,” they added.

Both the victims’ tents and pickup truck, which was later found north of Ensenada, were burnt as the attackers allegedly attempted to destroy the evidence.

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