A Navajo mother of four who disappeared while hiking in Mexico in 2009 said she bought jewelry by her husband, a jewelry maker, for her sons’ birthday.
The jewelry was then given to her children as gifts and later sold at a flea market, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Dan Eubank, said the family, who have not been identified, received no compensation from the jewelry manufacturer and no reimbursement from the Mexican government for the cost of the jewelry.
Eubank also said the Navajo Nation made the jewelry available for sale at a wholesale store in Arizona.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it is aware of the lawsuit.
The jewelry was made by Juan Andres and Miguel A. Armenta, and it was given to the sons, who went missing on May 18, 2009, according a lawsuit filed by Eubanks attorneys in U.N. court.
The Armentas are from the town of Lopo, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Mexico City.
They were hiking on a route that crosses the Rio Grande in Mexico, according the lawsuit, which said they left their campsite and made it to a highway in the state of Sonora.
They stopped for a few days in the Mexican state of Michoacan, and later they returned to the reservation, where they spent the night at the family’s camp, the lawsuit said.
A report from the state attorney general’s office in August 2012 found the Armentases were members of a drug cartel and that the drugs they were involved in were manufactured in Mexico.
The state attorney is investigating.