Mexican authorities said Orson William Black, aka ‘Larry William’, [redacted], was arrested Nov. 5, 2017, on the suspicion of murder following the deaths of three of his followers
Law enforcement in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, arrested Orson William Black, 56, Nov. 5, 2017. Black is a former member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who has been on the run from child sex abuse charges in Arizona since 2003, is currently being detained by Mexican authorities.
Orson, who fled to Mexico 15 years ago after being charged with child sex crimes, faces charges of illegal possession of wildlife and human smuggling.
The arrests come less than two months after 23-year-old Jesse Barlow and brothers Robert and Michael Black, aged 19 and 15 respectively, were shot dead at Rancho El Negro.
It is not clear if they were relatives or followers of Mr Black, or if they had been taken to the property against their will.
The Guardian reports that Orson William Black, who has ties to Utah, was taken into custody on Sunday following a two-day series of raids on his commune
100 Mexican police officers combine to arrest US polygamist and sect leader Orson Black on the suspicion of murder after three people were found dead on his ranch, Sunday
Their bodies of the teen brothers and the third man were found on Rancho El Negro in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua in September, according to BBC. Prosecutors said the young men were all American and may have been followers of Black.
Mexican authorities caught Black, in a two-day series of raids on several different homes used as the sect’s “commune”, according to prosecutors.
The raids turned up a bizarre hoard of artifacts including a motley collection of 65 stuffed animals or animal heads, including zebras, buffaloes, a lion and a bear. The commune also had a collection of frozen exotic animal carcasses.
Officials said the 56-year-old man belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known for having plural marriages.
“During the investigation, it was notable that the victims did not have birth certificates and that the members of the religious community who appeared to identify the dead did not claim the bodies,” the state prosecutor’s office said.
Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. consulate to provide information on the group.
Security forces search a trailer on Black’s ranch in Mexico, during the raid and arrests Sunday
Authorities said Black’s four wives were also arrested, along with a woman described as a “concubine” and 26 illegal immigrants who were living on his property.
It’s not clear if anyone else besides Orson is suspected of murder. BBC reports that the people who were living at the commune illegally could be deported.
Mexican officials said the raids turned up 65 stuffed animals or animal heads and frozen animal carcasses.
Black was charged with illegal possession of wildlife and human smuggling, and the Americans caught with him were turned over to immigration authorities pending possible deportation.
Orson William Black fled to Mexico to avoid child abuse charges filed in the state of Arizona in 2003, after two teenage girls he took as his “brides” became pregnant
Black has faced charges of sexual misconduct with minors in the US, but fled to Mexico about 15 years ago. He was able to hide successfully for years in an area in the northern state of Chihuahua where foreign religious sects go unnoticed.
He had previously been a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS], whose former leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides.
The child abuse charges against Mr Black were brought in the state of Arizona in 2003 after two teenage girls he took as his “brides” became pregnant.