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American fugitive hiding in Mexico since 2002 arrested

Chihuahua, Mexico — An American man who is being linked to the murder of three youths in Mexico has been arrested in the Mexico state of Chihuahua.

American Orson William Black Jr. has been arrested for possible involvement in the murder of three American men found shot in a rural enclave in Mexico.

The fugitive polygamist from Arizona was arrested with four wives and one concubine on the grounds of a religious community in northern Mexico. More than two dozen U.S. citizens who are apparently disciples of the polygamist’s commune, have also been arrested.

Several weeks ago, three American men were found shot dead in a rural enclave called Black Ranch. Mexican authorities passed the case along to American authorities when no one in Mexico claimed the bodies of the deceased men.

US officials identified the men, who were aged 15, 19 and 23. American law enforcement launched a murder investigation which culminated last Sunday with the detention of 56-year-old Orson William Black Jr. who authorities say, is a suspect in the slayings.

The investigation came to light with the raid of the compound as more than 100 Mexican law enforcement descended on the breakaway Mormon ranch. Black has been wanted in Arizona for almost 15 years on five felony counts of sexual misconduct involving a pair of underage sisters.

The bodies of the three American men were discovered October 22. Mexican officials say Black has been hiding in Mexico since 2002 in an area largely populated by Mennonites. At the site of the raid, police also found an unusual collection of stuffed animal heads and frozen animal carcasses.

Black has been charged with human smuggling and illegal possession of wildlife and is currently under investigation for his involvement in the murder of the three youths. He is expected to be extradited to the United States.

A Mexican prosecutor for the case said the other 25 Americans who were members of his alleged cult were handed over to the National Institute of Immigration (INM) for possible deportation. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and the State Department in Washington declined to comment.