Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vice Explores Cartel War Against Mexican Mormons

Posted By on September 19, 2012, 3:21 PM

It's a story that more than one Utah reporter has often hankered after, but it took Vice magazine's Shane Smith to do it. That tale, more relevant than ever, given the presidential race, is the Mormon colonies in Mexico from which Mitt Romney's family sprang.---

South of El Paso, Texas, there are three colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico, left over from the days -- 100 years ago or more -- that Mormons fled to Mexico to be able to continue practicing polygamy after the LDS Church abandoned the practice.

Fast forward to now and you have a curious collection of descendants of Utah polygamists, including Romney's relatives, residing in high-end communities, members of the LeBaron family—which has its own history involving blood atonement and murders on this side of the border—and native Mexicans who joined the LDS Church and reside near the colonies, but often complain of feeling like second-class citizens in their own congregations. 

In the last few years, as U.S. border patrols and policies have made it harder for narco traffickers to get drugs into the United States, so gangs have turned to kidnapping members of the colonies. While there have been some high-profile killings and kidnappings, including one a few years ago of a Romney relative, what has gone largely unreported on this side of the border has been the local residents who have been caught up in the middle of power struggles between the gangs and the colonies, resulting in many people fleeing the area to live in Utah.

There will be seven installments total, but check out the first three episodes of Smith's Mormon Mexican war extravaganza.

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