Mexico in Brief: Mormon activist flees to US amid threats

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Julian Le Baron arrives where one of the cars belonging to the extended LeBaron family was ambushed by gunmen last year near Bavispe, Sonora state, Mexico, Sunday Jan. 12, 2020. Lopez Obrador said Sunday there is an agreement to establish a monument will be put up to memorialize nine U.S.-Mexican dual citizens ambushed and slain last year by drug gang assassins along a remote road near New Mexico. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

Julian LeBaron (in cowboy hat) stands next to Mexican police officers patrolling the Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico area. (photo taken from Facebook)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A vocal member of a Mormon clan that lost nine family members in a November attack by drug traffickers has fled Mexico amid threats, a newspaper reported.

Julian LeBaron received death threats and left the country with his immediate family on Feb. 23, his nephew Bryan LeBaron told Reforma.

“They had to go warn him at his home at midnight because things were getting serious, they were going to kill him,” Bryan LeBaron told the newspaper.

Julian LeBaron had been the spokesman for the two families of three women and six children — all of them U.S. citizens — who were gunned down and burned in their vehicles on Nov. 4 allegedly by drug traffickers that mistook their SUVs for those of their rivals near the Sonora-Chihuahua border, according to Mexican authorities.

The LeBaron family originally moved to Mexico from Utah in the 1920s to establish a colony. Their descendants still move back and forth across the border and some of their children are born in the U.S.

Adrian LeBaron, whose daughter María Rhonita and four grandchildren were among the dead, told Reforma the Mexican government has not provided any further information on suspects or arrests in connection to the massacre.

Drug war claims six more lives in Central Mexico

The drug war that has expanded to major cities in Central Mexico claimed four lives between Thursday night and Friday morning, a newspaper in the state of Guanajuato reported.

Police in a rural suburb of Celaya found three bodies strewn about a dirt road, their bodies showing signs of beatings, Correo reported. Hours later, Celaya police found a fourth body, that of a young man who’d been shot in the head and left in the middle of a street in the Santa Rita neighborhood, the newspaper reported.

Early Friday, two men were shot dead amid a barrage of gunfire outside a store in the Pinos neighborhood, the newspaper reported.

Guanajuato and the neighboring states of Zacatecas, San Luis, Aguascalientes and Queretaro have seen increased drug violence in the past year as the Cartel Jalisco New Generation expands its area of influence on its march to drug staging points in Northeast Mexico, according to analysts.

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