in September, the bodies of three American males, aged 15, 19 and 23, were found shot dead nearby – and neighbours started to fear that the truth about Rancho El Negro was much darker than they had suspected.
Last weekend, more than a hundred law enforcement officials descended on the ranch and four other properties and arrested the owner, whom they identified as Orson William Black Jr, 56 – the fugitive leader of a polygamist sect.
He had been on the run for around 15 years after facing five felony counts of sexual misconduct involving two minors in Arizona.
Along with Black, officials detained three of his wives, a woman described as “a concubine”, and 22 other Americans living in Mexico illegally. Another woman escaped during the raid, according to Mexican prosecutors.
Named after his father, another polygamist, Black was a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which split from the main Mormon church when it disavowed polygamy in 1890.
Rancho El Negro is a five-hectare property amid rolling fields of corn and cotton at the foothills of a lonely mountain outside the town of Ciudad Cuauhtémoc in the north Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Neighbours – mostly members of the region’s German-speaking Mennonite community – referred to the farm as “The Company” and had little to do with its owner.
They knew he was called Black, and lived with several women and young children in a rough concrete house and a handful of RVs. There were stories that he was an American businessman who kept a menagerie of animals including horses, and at least one bear.
From CIW NEWS Contributor
Mexico crime immigration
Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico
Mexico (MX) is estimated to have a population of 122.3 million with a growth rate during 2010-2015 of 1.4% pa.
At the same rate of change, in five years' time its population will increase by 8.8 million.