(NewsNation) — Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux asserts that Mexican cartels hold a strong influence over California gangs and says applying the death penalty would go a long way toward making the streets safer.
Boudreaux spoke to NewsNation in an exclusive interview following the fatal shooting of six people in Goshen, California, which police are calling a “cartel-style massacre.”
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Boudreaux says the killings in Goshen show the “strong” influence Mexico’s drug cartels have in the U.S.
“They have a strong influence,” Boudreaux said. “And the reason for that is because any way that you can make money through criminal means, they’re going to do it. The cartels’ primary function is control and domination of geographical location, as well as domination when it comes to business.”
Boudreaux calls it a business because the economic principles of supply and demand are in play with guns, drugs, human trafficking and sex trafficking.
“There’s obviously a demand here,” Boudreaux said. “But what is the best way to distribute that narcotic, distribute those guns, distribute people? That’s through gangs in the community. They know where to sell it and how to distribute it.”
Boudreaux also cites California gang members’ close family ties in Mexico, or within Mexican cartels themselves, for their influence.
“Marriage comes together very easily with relationships and/or people in the community you grew up with in Mexico,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux described the Goshen killings as a “Mexican cartel-style execution” because of the violent nature in which it was carried out and because of who the victims were.
“Many of us in law enforcement know that that gang structure doesn’t allow for women and children to be impacted or murdered and killed,” Boudreaux said. “It’s just not within them. They’ll do it, and they have done it historically. It’s not something that we see.”
Alissa Parraz, 16, and her 10-month-old son Nycholas Parraz were among those killed.
The sheriff said Alissa had just been awarded full custody of her son after he spent months in the foster care system. The two were reunited on Jan. 13 — three days before they were killed. Alissa and her son were found dead lying next to each other in the street.
The other four victims were identified as Rosa Parraz, 72; Eladio Parraz Jr., 52; Jennifer Analla, 49; and Marcos Parraz, 19.
Boudreaux said that with Mexican cartels, what you see is that “there is no mercy at every level.”
The suspects in the Goshen killings, 35-year-old Angel Uriarte and 25-year-old Noah Beard, were known members of the Norteno gang.
“We are finding that the drugs that have been distributed amongst this particular gang was, in fact, coming from the influence of cartels,” Boudreaux said.
There has been a long, documented history of gang violence in the history of California, but Boudreaux points to exceedingly violent cases the Mexican cartel has inflicted upon the area in the past.
“I don’t think there’s any California resident that’s not familiar with gangs, gang activity and the violence in their communities,” he said.
Boudreaux attributed the increased level of crime to the state’s “soft approach” and “our unsecure border.”
“This is not an immigration issue,” Boudreaux said. “What we’re not controlling is the criminal element that’s coming across that border, that committed crimes in other countries. They are not obeying the law there, they are not obeying the law here.”
In the Goshen killings case, Boudreaux said that accountability and “holding people in prison when they need to be in prison” might have kept the six victims alive.
Boudreaux said applying the death penalty for violent cases heavily influenced by the cartel is a way to signal accountability.
“I’m not saying that that takes place in every case,” he said “I think there’s special circumstances. But when you’re killing children, and you’re massacring an entire family, the California voters voted the death penalty in place.”
In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions in the state.
“I think that if we had a clear message that the death penalty is an assured thing for something like this, that people will think twice about doing it,” Boudreaux said of the Goshen killings.
Newsom called the death penalty a “failure” that had “no public safety value” and “wasted billions of taxpayer dollars,” according to reporting from the New York Times.
“Well, that sends a message to everybody that they’re not going to be held to that standard,” Boudreaux said. “We have to start holding a hard line on people committing these types of crimes.”