The slaughter of three mothers and six of their children has drawn attention to life in LeBaron, the Mormon stronghold in Mexico founded by American citizens fleeing a ban on polygamy and destroyed by years of cartel violence and murder.
All nine of them killed after being attacked eight miles apart while traveling in a convoy of three SUVs on a dirt road were extensive members of the remote community.
Their death sent shock waves all over the world and even led to President Donald Trump who offered Mexico to fight & # 39; against drug cartels and & # 39; wipe them off the face of the earth & # 39 ;.
But it would not be the first time that members of the separated church in northern Mexico were attacked.
In fact, the extended community has already had to deal with cartel violence and murders, as well as murders between their own family members.
In 2010, two members of the Chihuahua Mormon community, including a member of the LeBaron family, were killed in revenge after the security forces followed members of the drug gang.
The Mormons had already suffered major abductions. Their large houses and lifestyle had made them seem rich for drug gangs, Vice reported in 2012.
And in 2016, former resident Ruth Wariner described life in the community, describing 41 siblings, constant beating, a house without electricity and no modern plumbing.
The nine women and children killed by drug-cartel-armed men in northern Mexico lived in a remote farming community where residents with dual US-Mexican citizenship consider themselves Mormon. Many descend from former members of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints who fled the US to escape the 19th-century polygamy ban
A car passes Colonia LeBaron. Drug cartel armed men have ambushed three vehicles along a road near the state border of Chihuahua and Sonora, killing at least nine of the extended LeBaron family, all US citizens living in northern Mexico, authorities said
Founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after the church left the practice of polygamy at the end of the 19th century, some polygamous Mormons moved to Mexico to establish new colonies.
The LeBaron family, located in the Mexican border state of Sonora, was founded by Alma Dayer LeBaron. He established the community with his family in 1924 after being excommunicated from the church.
Alma handed over the leadership to his son Joel when he died in 1951. He then incorporated the community as part of the & # 39; Church of the Firstborn & # 39; in Salt Lake City.
Cartel opens fire on the Mormon family who killed nine – while the police arrest a suspected drug lord
Nine members of the LeBaron family were attacked eight kilometers apart on Monday during a trip in a convoy of three SUV's on an unpaved road. The police confirmed that they arrested a suspected drug lord after the murders in which one vehicle was set on fire and riddled with bullets.
The mothers rode in separate vehicles with their children from the La Mora religious community where they live, a decades-old settlement in the state of Sonora, populated by fewer than 1,000 people.
Rhonita Maria LeBaron, died with her six-month-old twins and her two other children, ages 10 and 12. Christina Langford Johnson, Dawna Langford and two of Dawna & # 39; s children, ages 11 and three, were also killed.
Kendra Lee Miller, whose sister-in-law Rhonita Maria Miller died in the attack, said: & They rode together for safety reasons. & # 39;
His younger brother Ervil was his second boss at the time. The brothers later fell out about community leadership and Ervil continued to set up another sect in San Diego, California in 1972.
Evril, who had at least 13 wives, had Joel killed in 1972. He was tried and convicted in Mexico for the murder of Joel in 1974.
In prison, he wrote the 400-page command to kill disobedient church members who were on a hit list.
Evril died in prison in 1981, but six family members organized & # 39; four hours & # 39; murders, with an eight-year-old child and three former members being shot in Texas in 1988 within minutes.
His son Heber was detained in connection with massacres in Texas and Utah in the 1980s. Another son, Aaron, was imprisoned for 45 years in a conviction related to the murders.
One of Evril & # 39; s daughter Anna LeBaron said: & # 39; My father ordered mob-style hits and would be performed by his cult members if they stopped believing in him or his practice or religion and were leaving, or were sometimes the rival cult leaders who are reconciled with blood because they are false prophets. & # 39;
Although many La Mora residents, where the victims lived, identify themselves as Mormon, they also consider themselves independent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Cristina Rosetti, a Mormon fundamentalist scientist and expert.
Many of the families living in the area known for cultivating cotton and grain traced their La Mora origins to the 1950s – and some have much deeper roots.
A native of La Mora who spoke on condition of anonymity said that his great-grandfather settled there in late 1890 or early 1900 after he left the US and was later driven back across the border by the revolutionary Mexican Pancho Villa.
The great-grandfather did not return, but the resident's grandfather returned to La Mora with others in the 1950s, the resident said, fearing that the cartel would make him a target if he was identified.
Although many La Mora residents believe in the prevailing principles of Mormonism, they also believe that they should not form churches, they should not organize themselves under one leader. They just have to be Mormon and live their Mormon life. That's who the people of La Mora are, & Rosetti said.
Some of the families who live there still practice polygamy, while others stopped generations ago, she said.
Ruth Wariner lived at Colonia LeBaron until she ran away at the age of 15 – and took her three younger brothers and sisters with her. Her father was killed when she was three years old and her mother was soon married to another man in the community.
That's when the beating started, she says. And eventually repeated sexual abuse.
Wariner said the church taught the women to turn a blind eye, believing that marriage was their only entry ticket to & # 39; the kingdom of heaven & # 39 ;.
Benjamin LeBaron, left, and Luis Widmar Stubbs, right, who are members of the same Mormon community as the family killed on Monday by a Mexican cartel, were also killed 10 years ago by drug lords for denouncing cartel abductions
Family members and friends carry the coffins of Mormon activist Benjamin LeBaron and his brother-in-law Luis Carlos Widmar during their funeral in Galeana, Chihuahua state in July 2009
Heber LeBaron covered his face with a Bible while he and his half-brother Douglas Barlow left a hearing in 1988. The two men were the sons of polygamist section leader, the late Ervil LeBaron. LeBaron and his Church of the Lamb of God were linked to massacres from Utah to Mexico and the LeBaron brothers are being held in connection with massacres in Texas and Utah
The shooting took place near the town of Bavispe between Sonora and Chihuahua, pictured
Many Mormons in Mexico enjoy dual Mexican and American nationality.
Mexico has registered more than 250,000 murders since the government controversially deployed the army to combat drug trafficking in 2006.
Ervil LeBaron, who had at least 13 wives, had his brother Joel killed in 1972. He was tried and convicted in Mexico for the murder of Joel two years later
Many experts accuse the & # 39; drug war & # 39; of spiral violence, while fragmented cartels fight against each other and the army.
Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the nine traveling in different SUVs may have been the victims of a false identity, given the large number of violent clashes between fighting drug gangs in the area.
But the extended LeBaron family has often been in conflict with drug traffickers in Chihuahua, and a family member of the victims said the killers certainly knew who they were targeting.
& # 39; We have been here for more than 50 years. Nobody knows them. The person who did this was aware of it. That is the most terrifying, & said, Alex LeBaron, a family member, in one of the villages inhabited by the extended family.
Eric Hawkins, spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, said it understood that the victims were not members of the institution, but that the church & # 39; deeply sad & # 39; was about the attack.
& # 39; Our love, prayers, and sympathies are with them as they mourn and remember their loved ones & # 39 ;, Hawkins said in a statement.
At least three American mothers and six children from a Mormon community in northern Mexico were massacred during an attack on armed drug cartel shooters. Maria Rhonita Miller was murdered together with her six month old twins, Titus and Tiana (left and right), her 10 year old daughter Krystal (left) and the 12 year old son Howard (middle)
A video posted on social media showed the charred remains of one of the vehicles full of bullet holes that apparently bore the victims when the attack took place
Health Secretary and Mexican Air Force medical personnel who transferred five members of the Lebaron family after being injured during an ambush of armed men within the borders of Sonora and Chihuahua in Hermosillo. President Donald Trump offered Tuesday's help to make Mexico & # 39; wage war & # 39; against his cartels after three women and six children from an American Mormon community were murdered in an area notorious for drug traffickers
Father of woman executed by Mexican drug cartel reveals that three of his cousins have been abducted and two of them killed by drug lords 10 years ago – blaming the killers for trying to incite terror in their Mormon community
The father of one of the three American women, executed by a Mexican cartel, says that two of his nephews were also killed 10 years ago by drug lords and another was kidnapped.
Adrián LeBaron destroyed the Mexican cartel on Tuesday for attempting to incite terror in the Mormon community after Monday's creepy attack on his daughter and grandchildren in the Mexican border state of Sonora.
The nine victims, all of whom belong to the LeBaron family, were massacred by cartel cannons while traveling on a dirt road in a convoy of three SUVs.
Authorities say the gunmen were ambushing their vehicles as the family traveled from the religious community of La Mora where they live, which is a decade-old settlement established as an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints .
Adrián & # 39; s daughter Rhonita Maria LeBaron and four of her children, including her six-month-old twins, a 10-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, were shot.
Two more mothers, Dawna Langford and Christina Langford Johnson, as well as Dawna's sons, 11 and three years old, were all killed.
Adrián told the scene in which his daughter and grandchildren were murdered and told DailyMail.com that the shooters of the cartel killed innocent people to teach fear.
He said it was the second time that his family and members of the separated church were the targets of cartel cannons in northern Mexico.
Two of his nephews were killed and another was abducted in 2009.
Eric LeBaron, who was then 16, was abducted by a drug cartel in May 2009. His family refused a ransom demand of $ 1 million and Eric was eventually released
Eric LeBaron, who was then 16, was kidnapped in May 2009. His abduction led to protests about lawlessness in the region. His family refused a ransom demand of $ 1 million and Eric was eventually released.
Months later Eric & # 39; s brother Benjamin LeBaron and brother-in-law Luis Widmar Stubbs were murdered.
Benjamin, who was an anti-crime activist, was killed in retribution, according to family members, because he spoke publicly about the kidnapping of his younger brother.
He was kidnapped in the middle of the night by a group who had his hands tied and threw him on a truck. His brother-in-law and neighbor Luis had tried to help him. He was beaten and then thrown on the truck.
Both Benjamin and Luis were later found dead in a cemetery. They were both shot in the back of the head.
& # 39; They are isolated events. But these are the bad spirits of bad people who want control. It is an evil energy, force, that exists in our environment and it is the second time they have killed (one) of us, & Adrián said.
& # 39; It's not an attack on our community, we have a protest here. They make a statement and I don't know who. However, they killed my daughter for that purpose.
& # 39; There is an incredible evil here. I don't know what you call this. If they use us to make a statement. I don't know who it is for. One cartel to another. & # 39;
He deliberately called the attack of his daughter and grandchildren & # 39;
& # 39; There is no error here. Here they killed innocent people to teach fear, & he said.
& # 39; Just like in 2009, we didn't want to pay a ransom, we never accepted it when they harass you, when they extort you. I don't tell that group, I tell every group in our Mexico that we don't give up. & # 39;
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