SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The deadly ambush of nine Americans in northern Mexico has brought attention to the Mormon fundamentalist sects who settled in the area.
Ron Fox, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a United States Historian, says fundamentalist have been in this region of Mexico ever since the 1870s. He says the settlement on the area expanded with the passage of the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which restricted practices of polygamy.
“Candidly, it was a refuge from persecution, and members of the church had persecution in various places in their history and this they considered was just one more,” Fox explained.
Fox says the border region is also home to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both of the LDS communities and FLDS find economic success through farming and ranching.
“They have a very good economic model in farming and other resources. They have a community. They have an LDS temple there. Members of the church freely have been there and have dual citizenship for the most part. They just want to live peacefully.”
Some of the victims in the attack share the last name LeBaron. Fox says some LeBarons have spoken out against drug cartels and gun violence in Mexico.
“For whatever reason, they were singled out by the renegade group in the drug area — cartel area. We can speculate all day about what the real reasons were that they were attacked, but when you kill infants and mothers, the retribution on this will be severe,” said Fox.