The outpost Mormon community in Mexico is where underlings of Nxivm leader Keith Raniere recruited young women to work as nannies in an upstate New York compound run by the accused cult — suggesting at least in part that the jobs would get the girls away from their home region’s drug violence, according a man hired by Raniere to produce a documentary about the group.
The three moms and six kids killed in Monday’s violence in the northern town of Sonora are believed to have been the victims of a drug cartel, which may have mistaken the group’s caravan of three SUVs for rivals, Mexican authorities said Tuesday.
The filmmaker working with Raniere at the time, Mark Vicente, told the online magazine Slate that the documentary ultimately became a recruiting video for Nxivm, which purported to be a self-help group but morphed into what the feds called a cult that sexually, physically and emotionally abused its mainly female followers.
The film included an interview with Julian LeBaron, who identified himself as the cousin of one of the moms killed Monday and who is a leader of the Mexico Mormon community. LeBaron’s brother was kidnapped by a local drug cartel in 2009, and the family defiantly refused to pay a ransom. The cartel eventually released the abducted man.