Mexican authorities have deported a polygamist disciple of Warren Jeffs back to the U.S., where he faces law enforcement scrutiny in three slayings. Two of the victims were his sons.
Orson William Black, 56, was turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, then to police in El Paso, Texas, last week, authorities said. Mexican authorities detained Black this month at his compound in Chihuahua, where they said he was living with four wives, a “concubine” and 22 others, including several children.
Almost 100 Mexican police, along with agents of the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, stormed Black’s homes in the Rancho El Negro compound and seized him. They said they found scores of preserved exotic animal heads and carcasses, including zebras, buffaloes, red foxes, black squirrels, a lion and a bear rug, and elephant feet, suggesting Black’s group was involved in wildlife and trophy trafficking, according to the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office.
Black is suspected in the murders of two teenagers, who have been identified as his sons by the Chihuahua attorney general, and a 23-year-old man, according to Mexican authorities. The victims ― all U.S. citizens ― are brothers Michael Black, 15, and Robert W. Black, 19, and Jesse Barlow, 23, the BBC reported. Their bodies were found this month on the sprawling compound. They had no birth certificates, according to Mexican authorities.
“The motive has not been clarified and is still being investigated,” Felix Gonzalez, a spokesman for the attorney general, told the Los Angeles Times.
A woman who said Black married three of her sisters told The Salt Lake Tribune that Barlow is Black’s stepson. She said she believes the three were fatally shot by members of a drug cartel who had been working with Black producing methamphetamine.
Black fled to Mexico from Arizona 15 years ago after he was charged in the state with five felony counts of sexual misconduct with two underage girls who became his wives, according to a 2003 report in the Phoenix New Times. Black and one of the girls conceived a son they named Robert William Black, born in in 1998, who was one of the slaying victims.
Black was a member of Warren Jeffs’ polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Arizona. Jeffs is serving life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls he took as “brides.”