The Mexican Mormon War (Drug Cartels vs. Mormons)

The Mexican Mormon War (Drug Cartels vs. Mormons)


[STATIC] MITT ROMNEY: Drug
trafficking– that’s one more of those
areas of concern. It’s time for the United States
of America to take responsibility for the pain and
suffering and torture and murder that’s going on
throughout Latin America. [APPLAUSE] SHANE SMITH: Maybe one of the
reasons that Mitt Romney is so concerned with the drug wars
taking place just south of the American border is that it
affects him and his family personally. Hi. I’m Shane Smith, and we’re here
at the Vice headquarters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Now, Williamsburg is ground zero
for hipsters, which means it’s also ground zero for
partying, which means it’s ground zero for cocaine. Now, Vice has talked a lot about
cocaine over the years. In fact, one of our magazine
covers featured a mirror with a big line of coke
chopped up on it. But recently, we followed a
story that made us think twice about our historical fascination
with coke. And it has to do
with Mormons– as in Mitt Romney’s family-type
Mormons– Mexican drug cartels, polygamy,
kidnapping, cocaine, and finally, murder. Now, it’s a freaky,
freaky story. And it’s taking place just
south of the US border. So we went to check it
out first hand to see what was going on. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: We just passed
through from El Paso in Texas, which is actually one of the
safest cities in America, into Juarez, Mexico, which is
actually one of the most dangerous cities in the world. And in fact, it’s the most
dangerous city in the world for journalists. And we’re driving with a camera
rolling, which is, in retrospect, very
fucking stupid. People always ask me what the
most dangerous place I’ve ever been to is. When I say, Mexico, they
are a bit flummoxed. And they say, Mexico? I’ve been to Mexico. I’ve been to Cancun, Joe’s
Tequila Foam Party in Boom Boom Room. But this Mexico, here in Juarez,
is the Mexico run by the narco lords. They don’t care about what
you’re shooting. They don’t walk up and say, hey,
what’s that camera for? They just see a camera and go,
that can’t be good, and bam. Now, the drug lords that rule
northern Mexico are like most mafia around the world. They’re very wealthy, and
they’re insanely ruthless. But the thing that sets the
Mexican cartels apart from the other mobs is their seemingly
profound love of murder. They put other crime syndicates
to shame with the sheer scale of their killing,
not to mention the gruesome, eye-catching way they present
their murders, with a kind of evil inventiveness. And it’s not just traditional
gang on gang violence, either. The cartels kill anyone and
everyone in their way. Rivals, witnesses, journalists,
politicians, and police are all targets. And rather than hiding the
bodies like most criminals, they actually want
you to see them. And they want you to know
exactly who did it. In fact, the war on drugs in
Mexico is so violent that its body count is almost 10 times
that of American soldiers killed in the real wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. And in a country where it’s
supposedly illegal to own guns, the narcos are armed to
the teeth with state of the art weaponry, 90% of which are
smuggled in from the United States, which is something we
got to see firsthand as soon as we arrived in Juarez. -[SPEAKING SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: We came in here,
and we saw this huge bunker. We’re like, oh, this is where
they hold all the guns and all the drugs and everything,
in this big massive concrete bunker. They’re like, no, no. The drugs and the guns
are here the trucks. That’s a nightclub called
The Sphinx. So last night, the police caught
these guys trying to smuggle in 268,000 rounds of
ammunition in a truck with Oklahoma plates. It was driven by a
guy from Dallas. Over a quarter of a million
rounds of ammunition– and this is the kind of
firepower that they have. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: This is a 30
caliber Browning, which shoots super fast. And it can shoot through
armored cars. And then they have this,
anti-aircraft– 50 cal. -No. SHANE SMITH: Can I pick it up? -No, you can’t touch that. SHANE SMITH: Shit, I did. I put my finger on it. I’m going to get in trouble. They just confiscated
these weapons. And I touched the 50 cal. And they hadn’t dusted it for
prints, yet, so now my prints are on a murder weapon. All good. -[SPEAKING SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: These look like
they’re from America– America, America, America. All the guns are from America. They’re all homicides, then. They’ve tested them out? [SPEAKING SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: Oh. Oh, sorry. [GUN FIRING THROUGH METAL] SHANE SMITH: That was loud. It smells very strong. Holy Jesus. I know this doesn’t look like
crazy, but you can smell– wow, it’s a lot of drugs. Drugs and flak jackets. So this is a rustic
type of smuggling. They call it a burrero, which
is like a donkey. And they just walk through
the desert with the pod in their back. So the market for the
drugs is America. The market for the weapons
is here in Mexico. And they go like this. So when you look at this– 50 cals, assault rifles,
military grade machine guns– you realize, OK, how do the
police fight them, let alone regular people, let alone
Mormons who aren’t allowed to own guns? It’s crazy. So we’re about 200 miles
south of Juarez now. And we’re out in the
middle of nowhere. This is the narco
superhighway. There’s actually 300 different
smuggling trails right through here. There’s no big wall
or anything. You can just walk off into
the desert with your pack full of cocaine. And then all of the sudden,
coke’s in Williamsburg and hipsters are doing coke. As you’re out here, it
dawns on you that there’s nowhere to go. If something happens or if
someone even chases us, where are we going to run to? Because you can’t trust
the police. You especially can’t trust the
local police, because they’re all corrupt. So basically, right now, it’s
a straight shot to the Mormons, their guns,
and their God. [MUSIC PLAYING] [CROWD CHEERING AND
APPLAUDING] MITT ROMNEY: My dad had been
born in Mexico, and his family had to leave during the
Mexican Revolution. He had big dreams. We were Mormons, and growing
up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of
place, but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what
sports teams we followed than what church we went to. SHANE SMITH: So we’re on our
way down here to Colonia Juarez, which is in northern
Mexico in Chihuahua state. A lot of people may know that
Romney and his family are actually from here. His father was actually born
here in a Mormon colony. But maybe what they don’t know
is that these Mormon colonies are still here. And they’re actually fighting
the narco cartels, the drug cartels that run this
whole region. They’re standing up, and
they’re fighting the kidnapping and the violence
and the crime. So the question is, what are
the Mormons doing down in Mexico in the first place? [CHOIR SINGING] SHANE SMITH: Mormons originally
came down to Mexico in the late 1800s after the
American government forced the Mormon church to ban polygamy. The problem with this is that
Joseph Smith, the prophet of the religion, held that polygamy
was actually a divine commandment. He believed that you can only
reach the highest level of the celestial kingdom, or heaven, if
you are actually a partner in a plural marriage. So basically, the more wives
you had, the better heaven would be. And rather than give up their
place in heaven, many moved down to Mexico to continue to
practice polygamy, and thereby assure their place
in the afterlife. Here, in the seclusion of the
Mexican desert, they could practice all the standard Mormon
rituals, like baptizing the dead or wearing magic
underwear, but also the more controversial plural marriage,
or, as we were soon to find out, the outright insane
practice of blood atonement. So after about five hours of
some very nervous driving and a couple of very thorough stops
at military checkpoints, not to mention two stops at
drive through liquor stores to calm our very jangly nerves,
we finally arrived at the Mormon promised land. [CHOIR SINGING] SHANE SMITH: We left Juarez,
which is very dirty and poor and very druggy. And then all of the sudden, you
come over this hill, and there’s orchards and
golf courses. The streets are laid out nice. They’ve got nice schools. Kids are playing baseball. And there’s angels. And it’s like– ah! We’ve come to God’s country,
because it’s beautiful here, and they obviously have money. So this is why they’re being
targeted by the narcos. And this is why they
have to fight back. So now, we’re going to go meet
some Mormons who are actually fighting the narco cartels. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: This is Brent
LeBaron’s farm. They are famously secretive
about their weapons, their fighting, because they don’t
want to be targeted anymore by the cartels. We’re going to go meet him and
see if he’ll show us around. Brent. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah,
how’s it going? SHANE SMITH: Shane Smith. BRENT LEBARON: Brent LeBaron,
nice to meet you. SHANE SMITH: Nice to meet you. How are you doing? BRENT LEBARON: I’m doing
very, very well. SHANE SMITH: This
is your farm? BRENT LEBARON: This
is my farm. We farm chili and
a bit of wheat. All depends on the time
of the season. SHANE SMITH: We’ve heard that
the LeBaron family, the LeBaron colony has been standing
up to some of the narco cartels. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. We’ve had a few run
ins with them. I don’t like to say too
much about them. But I’d love to show
you around. Let’s go. SHANE SMITH: Let’s do it. Now, I didn’t know what to
expect when I first met Brent. And when I did, he
seemed to be more American than most Americans. In fact, I wouldn’t have been
surprised if he told me he played linebacker for Alabama. But when he started to give me
the tour around the cemetery, I realized that his story
was anything but normal. BRENT LEBARON: This is the
graveyard where my grandfather and great grandfather
are buried. The original story is that they
come down for the cause of plural marriage
to continue it. Mexico allowed it. SHANE SMITH: So they wanted
to continue polygamy? BRENT LEBARON: Yes. My great grandfather, being a
fundamentalist, he broke away from the Mormon church, because
he had two wives. That’s when he went to establish
Colonia LeBaron. They established five or
six colonies down here. The colony would be like a
family with a few families. SHANE SMITH: Right. And then your grandfather
had 10 wives? BRENT LEBARON: Yes– had children by eight of
those 10, but yes. SHANE SMITH: And how many
grandkids did he have? BRENT LEBARON: Between grandkids
and great grandkids, they are probably pushing
the 400 mark right now. SHANE SMITH: Wow. All named LeBaron? BRENT LEBARON: All
named LeBaron. SHANE SMITH: Now, having more
than 400 grandchildren might seem extreme to some. But it’s nothing compared to
the shit that Brent’s Uncle Ervil got up to. He was a straight up
fucking lunatic. Now, Ervil not only had 13 wives
and over 50 children, but he also used own family,
including his own kids, as assassins. Dubbed “The Mormon Manson,”
Ervil and his family were suspects in over 40 murders. BRENT LEBARON: Joel LeBaron
was killed by his own brother, Ervil. SHANE SMITH: Because
of blood atonement? BRENT LEBARON: Yes. Well, Ervil tried to take over
the Church, and he started claiming blood atonement,
the right to kill in the name of God. If you oppose him, he has
a right to kill you. SHANE SMITH: Right. BRENT LEBARON: Once Ervil
snapped, he just went on a killing spree. He had his daughters
killed, his wives killed, his sons killed. And they just went from there. He went haywire. SHANE SMITH: So Ervil goes on
this killing spree across Mexico and the United States. And at one point, the Secret
Service is after him, because he threatens to kill
President Carter. They finally captured Ervil in
1979 and sent him to prison. And all the killing
stops, right? Wrong. And then, after he
dies in jail– BRENT LEBARON: People keep
on killing for him. He killed up to 25 people
after died, because he left a hit list. And they just kept killing. SHANE SMITH: They
kept killing? BRENT LEBARON: Yes. They did. SHANE SMITH: Now, as Brent is
telling me all this, I had to keep in mind that this blood
atonement killing spree isn’t taking place in the
1880s or anything. This is all happening
in the 1980s. BRENT LEBARON: My grandfather
ran from him for probably 10 years. SHANE SMITH: Wow. BRENT LEBARON: He chased my
grandpa clear to Nicaragua. SHANE SMITH: Your great uncle
was trying to kill your grandfather? BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. Well, Verlan M. LeBaron died in
a car accident right out of Mexico City. A lot of people have been
skeptical that, actually, Ervil had something
to do with it. And his last recorded words were
brother, it looks like we’ve been ran off the road. SHANE SMITH: That’s
some crazy shit. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. It’s just a modern day
Cain and Abel here. SHANE SMITH: Do you think that
that’s one of the reasons why– because you had this sort
of familial civil war– you got tighter as a family, so
when the narcos came after your family you were tougher? BRENT LEBARON: Oh, definitely. Everyone was a watchman. SHANE SMITH: Now, what he’s
saying here is that because of Ervil, everyone in the LeBaron
clan watched out for everyone else. So when the cartels kidnapped
one of their own, they were ready. Eric LeBaron was only 16 when
he was abducted and held for $1 million ransom. You didn’t pay the ransom? BRENT LEBARON: We didn’t
pay the ransom. SHANE SMITH: Even if you could
get the money and paid it, they’re just going
to keep doing it. BRENT LEBARON: Just going to
keep coming and keep doing it. SHANE SMITH: They’ll just use
the money to buy more guns and get more powerful. BRENT LEBARON: Exactly. If we don’t sever the head off
this monster right now, it’s just going to get worse. We had to go to the government
and say, hey, you won’t allow us to bear arms. But you’re supposed
to protect us. SHANE SMITH: The protests forced
the government to put pressure on the kidnappers. And, as is quite rare in these
situations, Eric was returned unharmed after paying
no ransom. However, it also serve to enrage
the local drug lord named El Rikin, who only lived
eight miles down the road from Colonia LeBaron. Now, this is a narco who loves
drugs so much that he actually massacred 18 people trying to
get off the stuff at a drug rehab center. And now, he’s after
the LeBarons. -Two more Americans dead as a
result of the violence in Mexico, those victims gunned
down this week by drug cartel killers. -We’ve done a lot of stories
about polygamy and a lot of stories about Mexican drug
cartel violence. But we never imagined the two
topics would mesh like this in a very tragic way. SHANE SMITH: The freeing of
one of their own by the LeBaron’s protesting in
Chihuahua had sent a message to the narcos. They weren’t going
to back down. They weren’t going to submit. They were going to fight. But it didn’t take El
Rikin long to send a message right back. BRENT LEBARON: This is my
cousin Benjamin’s home. SHANE SMITH: Right. BRENT LEBARON: This Rikin guy
actually ordered the hit on him, because of the
stand we took. SHANE SMITH: He was a
serious criminal. Famously, he got caught on the
American side of the border dressed as Mexican military, had
a shootout with the border guards, and then
came back here. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. SHANE SMITH: So they came
here to his house. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. He showed up with 15, 20 guys,
two or three trucks– pickups. Benjamin and his family were
sleeping in the house when these guys come, surround the
house, breaking down his door, ended up breaking pretty much
most of his windows out. There’s still marks on the door
where they were trying to bash in with guns, whatever
they had. Those are sledgehammer marks. At that point, they had
threatened his family with a hand grenade. SHANE SMITH: So they said they’d
blow up the family with a grenade unless
he surrendered? BRENT LEBARON: Unless
he opened the door. And so he opened the door. At that point, his
brother-in-law Luis come over to see what was going on. He literally showed
up in sandals. He came to the rescue. He was an innocent bystander. SHANE SMITH: So he came here
bare foot with no gun– BRENT LEBARON: At all. SHANE SMITH: –against guys who
were armed with machine guns and grenades? BRENT LEBARON: Yes. But they beat him and picked him
and Benjamin up and took them about two miles down the
road here and shot them both and left them on the
side of the road. SHANE SMITH: So because El
Rikin put the hit out on Benjamin, it put enough domestic
pressure here that they would offer him up to the
American authorities for the Mexican incident where he was
dressed as the military with the border police. BRENT LEBARON: Very much so. Very much so. Yeah, because I don’t think
they had enough here to hold him here. So they actually shipped
him to the US. SHANE SMITH: And although El
Rikin was extradited to America for his firefights with
the border patrol, none of the other 20 plus men
involved in this double homicide have ever
been convicted. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: But the LeBarons
wouldn’t quit. In fact, Julian LeBaron,
Benjamin’s brother, has since taken up his dead sibling’s
mantle of activism. Shane. JULIAN LEBARON: Julian. SHANE SMITH: Good to meet you. JULIAN LEBARON: Well,
the main thing is we want to be respected. SHANE SMITH: Right. JULIAN LEBARON: And in Mexico,
nobody’s respected. We’re not respected by the
criminals, and we’re not respected by the government. They taped a big sign right here
that said, this is for messing with Chapo Guzman’s
people or some stupid shit. I don’t remember what it was. And that’s where
they found him. They shot them four times
in the head each. SHANE SMITH: Shit. JULIAN LEBARON: I think that
most of us felt really thankful that we found them,
because sometimes they’ll take them and torture
them to death. SHANE SMITH: Right. JULIAN LEBARON: People from our
neighboring communities participated in this murder. Those are some of the
people that are involved with this shooting. SHANE SMITH: Really? Those guys are bad boys? SHANE SMITH: Jesus Christ. JULIAN LEBARON: 10 children
under the age of 7 were left orphans when that happened
that night. SHANE SMITH: Right. JULIAN LEBARON: My brother and
his brother-in-law, they were some of the most valuable
people in our community. This can never be acceptable,
never, because if this is acceptable, there’s
no future left. The community, initially what
we said is for every person they kill from our community,
we’ll kill 10 of them, because we know who they are. And then we said, well, that’s
not a solution, because then you become just like them. SHANE SMITH: Yeah. So the sun was going down. It was getting a little
bit late. And the LeBarons told us that
we should get back to our hotel before it got dark. We are going to a hotel that’s
actually in the LeBaron colony, which hopefully will
be a little bit safer. But after you hear stories
like that, you just can’t believe the fear of violence
that these people live under every day. It makes you paranoid to
hear stories like that. So we’re going to go to our
hotel and lock ourselves in. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: This is a shrine
to Jesus Malverde, who’s the patron saint of drug
smugglers, narcos. So we’re going to
light a candle. This is freaking me out,
because I’m very superstitious. That’s him there, the patron
saint of the drug dealers. They all come in here. They say a prayer. They write a prayer on here. And they say, please let
me get across the border with my drugs– literally, religion about
drug dealers. Now, the whole time I was
hanging out with the LeBarons, I found myself wondering, how
do you actually protect yourself against narco lords
who employ whole armies of assassins whose sole job is
to kill their rivals? Well, the LeBarons started by
adopting military style tactics and setting up
checkpoints, roadblocks, and watch towers. BRENT LEBARON: We hit
a real big low when they killed Benjamin. It was a real big blow to
our entire community. SHANE SMITH: Right. BRENT LEBARON: I was really
close to Benjamin, knew him really well. SHANE SMITH: After Benjamin was
killed, you’ve set up your own community watch, your
own night watch. And then you built this up, and
you have people watching every night. BRENT LEBARON: Every night. SHANE SMITH: What are
you watching for? BRENT LEBARON: Pretty much
suspicious vehicles. We pretty much know everybody. And so if it looks like a
vehicle I’ve never seen before, then it was
getting checked. SHANE SMITH: This watch hut
looks down on one of the main drug trafficking roads. BRENT LEBARON: One
of them, yeah. SHANE SMITH: The only
people here with weapons are the criminals. BRENT LEBARON: Pretty much. SHANE SMITH: The drug cartels. BRENT LEBARON: Rumor got out
that we had high power rifles and snipers and whatnot. SHANE SMITH: And 50 cals
up here and stuff. BRENT LEBARON: Well, rumors
can spread, which was a benefit for us. SHANE SMITH: Yeah, it’s good. It’s a good rumor. BRENT LEBARON: It was a really
good rumor for us. I believe that the watch tower
is one of the key points to keeping the bad guys
away from our town. SHANE SMITH: Right BRENT LEBARON: Also,
the feds and the military are in our town. This is their base. We actually had a roadblock to
where there was one way in and one way out. SHANE SMITH: So you have
barricades, checkpoints, and watchtowers. BRENT LEBARON: Yeah. I would say our valley right
here is quite a bit safer than a lot of areas. SHANE SMITH: Casas
Grandes, which is about 30 minutes away– they’re still having kidnappings
and stuff there. BRENT LEBARON: Here and there. Before, it was literally
two or three a week. SHANE SMITH: Wow. That’s a lot. BRENT LEBARON: That’s
a lot, yeah. We were never pinpointing drug
cartels or anything else. But when it came to them now
kidnapping our family members, that’s what we took
a stand against. When it comes to protecting our
family, if we have to die doing it, we’re going to. SHANE SMITH: So the LeBarons
made their colony into a little fortress, using the
same counter terrorist techniques that the US Army uses
in Iraq and Afghanistan. And because of it, the killings
and the kidnappings in the Mormon areas actually
died down. But roadblocks and security
checkpoints are only going to get you so far. At some point, if you’re
fighting the narcos, you’re going to need guns. If Benjamin was taken by a bunch
of guys with weapons– they were unarmed– how are you supposed
to defend yourself? BRENT LEBARON: Well, there’s
really no law in Mexico that gives you the right
to bear arms. Legally, the quickest and best
way is through a gun club. SHANE SMITH: Now, in
Mexico, it’s nearly impossible to own a gun. In fact, one of the only legal
ways to do so is to go through the extremely difficult process
of starting a gun club or a shooting range. Why don’t you have
your own shooting club in Colonia LeBaron? BRENT LEBARON: Our ex-mayor
wouldn’t sign the papers we needed. We had all the first
members on a list. Well, he turns around
and shows it to our bad boy buddies. SHANE SMITH: And you’re trying
to arm yourselves, and he’s working for the cartels so
you can’t arm yourselves? BRENT LEBARON: Exactly. Pretty much. SHANE SMITH: And where
is he now? BRENT LEBARON: He’s in prison. SHANE SMITH: There’s 15 million
illegal assault rifles estimated in Mexico. The thing is, if you have 20
guys with assault rifles– Maybe I’m going to go for
one of those turkeys. Oh, yeah. I’m going to get one of them. No. So the LeBarons finally decided
that if it continued to be illegal to own weapons,
which meant criminals were the only ones that had guns, that it
was time to change the law. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: Alex LeBaron, who’s
now a congressman, is determined to protect his colony
from the cartels, no matter what it takes, even if it
means a shoot out with the Mexican military. ALEX LEBARON: They went
into our farm. And we thought they
were criminals. We shot one of them. It was a very sad incident,
but it gained a lot of respect for us. SHANE SMITH: You outshot
the military. ALEX LEBARON: We outshot
the military. We got phone calls from heads of
the criminal organizations after that incident. And they told us they were proud
of us, to some degree. People in drug organizations,
and including the state military, know that we
have weapons, because we’ve been saying it. We have illegal weapons
in our community. Come in and find them
if you want. We buy them in the states. We traffic them illegally. But that’s the only
way to defend yourself in this country. In order to get access to a
weapon here in our country, it would cost you up to $10,000,
and that wouldn’t even be through a legal way. SHANE SMITH: So the majority of
the weapons being used by the narcos are coming
from America. ALEX LEBARON: Absolutely. SHANE SMITH: And the money
is coming from America. ALEX LEBARON: Absolutely. I think Americans need to really
understand that any policies that are implemented
in the United States impact our country. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: So the money
for all these guns is coming from America. The guns themselves
come from America. The coke is being
sold in America. But the war is being
fought in Mexico. And considering 1,300 people
were killed in the region just this past August alone, in
northern Mexico, self-defense has truly become a matter
of life and death. [MUSIC PLAYING] BRENT LEBARON: In the last
while, it’s actually calmed down quite a bit. I haven’t heard of that many
kidnappings lately. Usually, it was like, boom,
every other day. Oh, my goodness, there’s
another kidnapping. A Jones has got kidnapped. A Romney got kidnapped– or someone you’re
affiliated with. SHANE SMITH: Now, it’s hard to
picture a place that’s so fucked up that not that many
kidnappings is a sign that things are going well. But in northern Mexico,
everything is relative. The sobering reality of it is in
Mexico in 2011, there were 49 kidnappings a day. BRENT LEBARON: Things have
actually calmed down enough to where they actually
have parties and rodeos and whatnot. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: So they’re having
this rodeo because a dude lost his leg? BRENT LEBARON: Yeah, one of the
cowboys lost his leg, and they’re doing a benefit
for him. SHANE SMITH: Right. [SPEAKING SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: One of the things
that we were worried about before we came here was people
knowing that we were here, people knowing that
we were shooting. And now, we’re in front
of the whole town– BRENT LEBARON: There you go. SHANE SMITH: –in a town where
they used to have three or four kidnappings a week. And we’re just parading in
front of everyone with a camera going, turn
the music up. [SPEAKING SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: They’ve just
announced to the whole town that we’re here shooting
in the most dangerous town in Chihuahua. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: I’m just
going to get drunk. -Put that on. SHANE SMITH: Now, hanging out
with the LeBarons and play acting as a cowpoke relaxed
us a little bit, as did the booze. I’d like to say cheers to the
LeBaron family, because you guys fucking rock. -To the LeBaron family. SHANE SMITH: LeBaron family. Good times, good friends. -[SPANISH]. SHANE SMITH: Cheers, cheers,
cheers, cheers. [LAUGHING] SHANE SMITH: I need everybody
over here. Like we’re all in it together–
here we go. [SINGING IN SPANISH] SHANE SMITH: We had a nice
lunch, got a bit drunk, sang some songs together. It was fun. After drinking for a bit with
Brent, he suggested we go on a ride along on the nightly patrol
of the LeBaron colony. I was picturing a pickup truck
with a CB and a couple of good old boys in the back. But what we got instead was some
heavy, heavy business. What are we doing right now? BRENT LEBARON: Oh, we’re just
going to take you on a routine route that they normally take. And then they’ll probably do
a security checkpoint for a little while and maybe
check some suspicious vehicles or something. [MUSIC PLAYING] BRENT LEBARON: These guys use
our town as a base, because they trust everyone here. SHANE SMITH: One of the things
that’s pretty crazy is you’re driving through in pickup trucks
with four armed guards in the back and two guys in the
front, all with machine guns, for a town of
1,200 people. This shit is serious. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: So the federales
kept stopping people. And they didn’t seem to mind
us riding along with them, until they roadblocked the
actual highway, which, remember, is one of the main
drug routes into America. The cops are going to
stop some cars and look for some drugs. Then, as the sun was going down,
they warned us that we should leave, because it was
very dangerous to even be seen with them, because, as it turned
out, riding around with them on the back roads is one
thing, but stopping actual drug runners on the highway
was another. [RADIO PLAYING IN BACKGROUND] SHANE SMITH: Want a beer? Back at the hotel, we realized
that our fun, boozy afternoon had some unforeseen
consequences. BRENDAN FITZGERALD: About an
hour ago, a black pickup drove by really slowly and
then sped off. SHANE SMITH: Black trucks,
like the ones Julian had pointed out earlier, had
actually stopped, taken pictures, and checked us out. And all of the sudden, our
LeBaron run around town drunk time didn’t seem so
smart anymore. All right. So we have to leave now,
because we shot today at the rodeo. And then we did a drive-by with
the cops, so everybody in town knows that we’re here. And then we’ve just had a black
truck with black windows stop, pull up, check us out,
and then drive off. And a black truck, I just found
out, came by and took pictures of us before
I got here. So we have to go to another
hotel that we’ve arranged, which is crazy. So we took off. And when we called Brent to tell
him we had left, I half expected him to say, hey,
you’re overreacting. It’s nothing. But in actual fact, when
he heard the story, he said, oh, yeah. You should get the fuck
out of Dodge. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: Now, because
Colonia LeBaron is so close to the American border, they’re
totally affected by our immigration policy and, of
course, our war on drugs. So if America sneezes, Mexico
catches cold, and because of this, they’re extremely
interested in the American political policy. You have narco cartels. You have a drug route. You have illegal immigration. So all these problems– who do you think should
be the next president of the United States? BRENT LEBARON: Mitt Romney has
a great, great policy. SHANE SMITH: Now, are you just
saying that because you’re Mormon-ish? [LAUGHING] BRENT LEBARON: His ties, his
people, his family lives right across the mountain here. You should probably meet them. SHANE SMITH: Now, when Brent
says his family, he means presidential candidate
Mitt Romney’s family. Now, we knew that his father,
George Romney, had been born into a Mormon colony in Mexico,
but not that they still had an active Romney
colony here in Chihuahua. So the Romneys still live
here across the valley? BRENT LEBARON: Yep. They’re some great guys. I just really like them, golf
with them quite often. And just some really
cool guys. SHANE SMITH: So we went across
the valley to check them out. KELLY ROMNEY: Nine holes with
two par fives and two par threes, and the rest
are fours– pretty nice greens, huh? SHANE SMITH: Beautiful. How did this golf
course start? KELLY ROMNEY: We just got a
group together that like to play golf and copied other
golf courses, put in the sprinkling system. SHANE SMITH: Right. KELLY ROMNEY: When the violence
started, we lost quite a few members. Just like in Casas Grandes,
a lot of people moved out. SHANE SMITH: You play here with
some of the LeBarons from Colonia LeBaron? KELLY ROMNEY: Yeah. Some of the guys come
over here and play. SHANE SMITH: And who’s better,
the LeBarons or the Romneys? KELLY ROMNEY: The LeBarons. [LAUGHING] KELLY ROMNEY: I don’t know
what they’re eating over there, but– [LAUGHING] SHANE SMITH: So how long have
the Romneys been here? KELLY ROMNEY: In 1885, my great
grandfather, Miles Park Romney was one of the original
people that came here. Mitt is a relative. He’s a second cousin. SHANE SMITH: So his dad
was born in Chihuahua. KELLY ROMNEY: Yeah, he was born
in Colonia Dublan, about 15 miles from here. Their family left, and they
stayed in the United States. They didn’t come back. I remember, his father ran
for president of the United States in ’68. At least, he was a candidate. His citizenship was questioned,
because he was born here in Mexico. But he was born of
American parents. SHANE SMITH: And do you think
that this craziness around the run up to the election, is that bringing too much attention? KELLY ROMNEY: I think one of the
reasons it’s brought a lot of attention to here is because
of Mitt’s position on illegal immigration. SHANE SMITH: Right. Now, what’s ironic about this
is that Mitt Romney, whose father was born in Mexico and
would be considered the poster child of the Dream Act, actually
has one of the staunchest views on immigration
in his already conservative Republican Party. MITT ROMNEY: And I’ve indicated
I would veto the Dream Act if provisions included
that people who are here illegally, if they go to
school here long enough, get a degree here, that they can
become permanent residents. I think that’s a mistake. [APPLAUSE] SHANE SMITH: Now, it seems a bit
weird for a person who’s essentially a first generation
immigrant to have such harsh views on immigration. It’s kind of like methinks
thy dost protest too much kind of deal. And his own cousin Kelly, who,
although he supports Mitts for president, thinks that
his position on immigration is wrong. KELLY ROMNEY: I think
he needs to change. Being born and raised in Mexico,
and especially since NAFTA, I think that the United
States is partly responsible for the increase in illegal
immigration that happened. SHANE SMITH: Right. So America makes a policy,
then all of the sudden, northern Mexico gets
all screwed up. KELLY ROMNEY: That’s right. Give amnesty to those that are
out there that are working legitimately and have a job. Come up with a guest
worker program. And let these people go out
there and work and then come home and take care of their
family, because basically, they’re starving to death
here in Mexico. SHANE SMITH: In fact, it’s so
bad that, for many people, there’s only really
two options. One, sneak into America. Or two, work for the cartels. Didn’t some farmers go up from
the farms and go into the mountains and start
growing drugs? KELLY ROMNEY: Yeah, a lot of
them have gone into the mountain areas, and they
grow drugs there. SHANE SMITH: And now, we’re
sitting here, going, OK, well, what are we going to do? KELLY ROMNEY: What are
we going to do? Exactly. I wish Mitt would make
contact with us. I really think that
we could help him. SHANE SMITH: And as I would
later realize, contacting the Mexican side of his family would
probably be the last thing that Mitt Romney
would do. MITT ROMNEY: I think marijuana
should not be legal in this country. I believe it’s a gateway drug
to other drug violations. The use of illegal drugs in
this country is leading to terrible consequences. SHANE SMITH: Now, we all know
Mitt Romney’s stance on drugs. But it was interesting to hear
Kelly’s thoughts on the drug war, considering it affects
him every day. KELLY ROMNEY: To me, this used
to be the most peaceful place in the world. SHANE SMITH: Right. KELLY ROMNEY: Yeah, man. I used let my kids go to
[INAUDIBLE], go to the shows, go to dances, go to parties. But now, you keep close watch. And it all has to do with the
drug violence and stuff. When they started the
war on drugs, the violence just escalated. Most of the problems
that we have around here are drug related. And there’s been some
kidnappings and some killings from drug related things. SHANE SMITH: Right. Have there ever been any
Romneys kidnapped? KELLY ROMNEY: Yeah. My brother was kidnapped
three years ago in May. I think they kept him for two
days, took him to a cave up in the mountains. We paid a small ransom. It wasn’t a lot. And they were mainly punks. They weren’t really
professionals. SHANE SMITH: And most of the
weapons that are here in Mexico are illegal weapons. KELLY ROMNEY: Yes. SHANE SMITH: And most of those
illegal weapons are coming from the states. KELLY ROMNEY: Yes. Fast and Furious, I’m sure
you’ve heard about that. SHANE SMITH: Now, the Fast and
the Furious scandal he’s talking about refers to a case
where the American government gave thousands of guns
to the cartels in order to track them. Then, they proceeded to lose
track of them until they surfaced again in the murder
cases of American agents. KELLY ROMNEY: What, did they
think they were going to be able to keep control of them
or keep track of them? Nonsense. I don’t know what in the world
they were thinking, sending all those weapons to Mexico. SHANE SMITH: And the Fast and
the Furious scandal is just one of many that have seriously
embarrassed the American government. Now, perhaps Mitt’s hardline
stance on issues like guns, immigration, and drugs becomes
more clear, because even though his father was born in
Chihuahua, Mitt surely must want to distance himself from
the region, because the region is totally fucked up. And it’s not the first time that
this has been the Romney strategy, either. When his father ran for
president, both his citizenship and his Mormon
colony’s polygamist roots were called into question. And his run for the White House
didn’t last too long. But Mitt Romney has to deal with
his family’s polygamist past, kidnapping, drug wars,
and, in the extreme case of Ervil LeBaron, crazy Mormon
blood atonement. Now, having close familial ties
to all of this shit does not a good presidential
candidate make. Being on the front lines of
this, what do you think are some of the solutions
to these problems? KELLY ROMNEY: Looking at it from
a perspective of someone living here, we say, well, why
don’t they legalize it in the United States and cut out all
the violence in Mexico? SHANE SMITH: Sure. KELLY ROMNEY: As long as you
have the swimming pool over there, this is going to
be the diving board. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: So as we began
our long drive back to the border, I had lots of time
to think about what we’d seen in Chihuahua. I thought about the LeBarons
and the war against the narcos, the kidnapping, the
murders, and the lengths they have to go to protect themselves
every day. I also thought about what Kelly
Romney had said about the US being the swimming pool
and Mexico being the diving board and how similar all this
is to America’s history with outlawing alcohol. So we’re just approaching the
border here back into America. It feels like years passed
since we were here last. As we were driving here from
Chihuahua, I was thinking how prohibition in America led to
the rise of the mob from Al Capone to Luck Luciano. Our war on drugs, our
prohibition against drugs has caused the same thing. You see it down here. It’s the blunt edge
of the hammer. It’s the rule of the thug. You have $200 assassins. And as long as there’s
prohibition, it’s going to continue. The war on drugs is a failure. There have never been more drugs
in America, and they’ve never been cheaper or better
or higher quality. And as we sat for hours at the
border waiting to get back into America, I thought about
the fact that Mitt Romney might just be the next president
of the States. MITT ROMNEY: God
Bless America! Thanks, you guys. SHANE SMITH: Now, polygamy and
kidnapping not withstanding, if he wins, he’s going to have
some hard decisions to make about decriminalizing drugs
and fixing our immigration problem, because if he doesn’t,
Mexico, his Mormon brethren, and perhaps, even his
own flesh and blood are going to pay the price. [MUSIC PLAYING]

100 comments

  1. People in America legally buy guns from gun shops. They then sell it to cartel. American gun shops have regular customers, and they know what the regular customers are doing. But they continue to sell to the regular customers. Only a handful of American gun shops refuse to sell multiple guns to one customer.
    When Americans use the 2nd amendment. Mexicans suffer, and try to escape to America. Then Americans complain about Mexicans. If guns weren't being provided so easily to Americans. Then cartel would find it harder to get their hands on guns. Mexico would become safer. But until than, America is really bringing in Mexicans with one hand, and pushing them away with the other hand.
    Americans are paying over $25 billion for the wall. Drug cartels can still sell drugs using drones over a wall. Mexicans can still buy a passport go on holiday to USA, and not return to Mexico. The wall is a deterrent or a hurdle. There's a saying "if you can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go around it, then you must go through it." With the ammo that the Americans are selling to cartel. I wouldn't be surprised if the cartel make their way through the wall.

  2. "Let alone Mormons who aren't allowed to hold guns." INCORRECT… did anyone from Vice even read up about Mormons?

  3. No way is this Mexicans vs Mormans! The Morman Church has a great deal of corruption in it! They have been trying to hoard the wealth for themselves – make deals with Church of Scientology, which also tried to hoard the money/economy for themselves. In fact, a Morrman created the Church of Scientology. https://youtu.be/j3P-qfaICSI

  4. President Trump could not be more correct in saying we need a wall on our border. build that thing and build it tall we need to defend our borders before what is basically a third world country now, collapses into the U.S.

  5. And all this 'coz Capitalism to change this watch these documentaries https://linkstothefuture.createaforum.com/general-discussion/natural-law-resource-based-economy-message/

  6. Holy crap… I just realized that I went to junior college with a couple of people by the last name of Lebaron whose mom left the FLDS church, joined the real Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and then moved herself and her kids to Utah. I'll bet they were from this same family.

  7. BTW Blood Atonement is a bunch of baloney. As far as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned, the whole idea would be considered false doctrine and anyone involved in the killings would be excommunicated and probably turned over to the authorities.

  8. So the poor Mexican people either have to starve to death or jump the border illegally or work for the cartels? Why dont they fix their own shithole country instead of coming to the United States with a backpack full of drugs and destroying this country and sucking it dry for free school for their 38 niños per family and free social services and food and Obama phones and welfare and WIC and not pay taxes while they raise their kids to be gangbangers and steal jobs from people here legally and bring over more losers from their family to do the same and then bring over all the old people in their families to end up collecting social security!?!?!

  9. "ThEsE lOoK lIkE tHeSe ArE fRoM aMeRiCa" Bro, It is illegal to own, purchase, or distribute Fully automatic firearms in the USA, (unless you have a class 3 license, that nearly nobody has) More than likely those firearms were from other south american countries that have even less stability than Mexico.

  10. So you're saying that if we banned semiautomatic assault weapons it would be more difficult for cartels to arm themselves, therefore making Mexico a slightly safer and more secure country, therefore reducing the amount of migrants seeking asylum, therefore banning high caliber combat weapons would not only make the USA safer but address the "immigrant problem" that conservatives have at it's root? Damn, conservatives are backwards.

  11. Why do these “Mormons” stay in Mexico? They obviously aren’t culturally Mexican, don’t assimilate, and speak English.

    They should go back to Utah.

    Oh, and this isn’t ironic either.

  12. "…and Marijuana is a gateway drug" – LOL!!! Errr, debunked Mitt, like 1994 debunked!! Also, did they ever find out who eventually became president?? Also, now I totally understand why their religious cult heavily promotes the "Watchtower" theme – 'cause it all comes back to the ACTUAL watchtowers where they needed to post themselves high upon a perch such as a mountaintop. The "Watchtower" is all about looking after your community against the "others" who just wanna nice chunky piece of your nicely stocked up tithes & offerings pie!! (It's no wonder that this cult has nice worldly luxuries such as polygamy & a $6 million purely white grand temple!!!)

  13. Isn't it amazing watching this story and there liberal politicians that continue to say – "we don't need borders" "we should get rid of I.C.E." and if you think enforcement of immigration laws is necessary your of course a racist. These politicians put out this narrative because they want the illegals to vote for them. Most Mexicans that I talk to don't like illegal immigration either. And for the hard working people that are here – they have nothing to worry about. I.C.E. is only interested in the BAD HOMBRES. Not the landscapers, restaurant workers, pickers you get the picture.

  14. My favorite logic: "America should make drugs legal to prevent this inevitable drug war! You will never stop it!" BUT, "America's gun laws are the reason all these guns get into Mexico and cause all this violence! America should have stricter gun laws!!!"

  15. What a great sophisticated system we have here. Evidence that hasn't been "dusted" for prints yet and you're allowed to walk up to it and touch it. That's because the Mexican government could care less. They along with the cartel laugh their asses off at the law.

  16. interesting story BUT swings hard Dem-O-Crap leftard at 32 minutes and then becomes mostly BULLSH1T . . . People see a better way. the left ain't it. O'Bummer fooked things up royally . . .

  17. Dipshit, put your finger on freshly confiscated weaponry …. then you light a candle for the drug dealers …wtf is wrong with you ?

  18. Vice is LYING about Fast and Furious. It was NOT, I repeat, NOT a project to TRACK GUNS. There were no tracking devices or any one bird dogging the shipments. It was a criminal act by Obama and his partner in crime, Eric Holder that was a sorry failed political trick aimed at creating resentment for repealing the 2nd Amendment but we beat it down and the UN could not come in and take over as those two traitors planned. U.N. agenda 2020 got derailed and setback 2 decades, thank God. They both need to be hung for this. Dianne Feinstein too.

  19. Ha ha ha, the most powerful country in the world (U.S.) is a bitch to drug cartels. If you think our government is actually fighting them, instead of getting rich too, you are severely wrong. They will have golden passes for these guys to drive right past any wall.

  20. Why didn't you tie fast and furious to Eric holder? You said nothing about who actually initiated it. He signed off on this program! Or is this only a Republican and mormon hit piece.

  21. DROP BOMBS ON THESE FUCKING CARTELS. US MILITARY COULD SMOKE THEM IN A DAY OR TWO IF THEY WANTED. MEXICAN COKE IS THE SCAPEGOAT FOR CIA/MILITARY COCAINE.

  22. No where on Earth did you get the idea that Mormons aren't allowed to own guns? First off we're not Mormons we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Second off there's probably more members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who own guns as a percentage when compared to members of other churches out there who own guns.

    That's an extremely inaccurate statement you made there LOL. It's actually quite funny cuz it goes to show how little you actually know about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  23. Joseph Smith did not believe polygamy was a requirement to getting to heaven..

    Plural marriage back in that day was actually a calling. It wasn't something that every member of the church participated in. Not only that but when it became a law the polygamy was no longer illegal the church stopped it's practice of polygamy. It no longer accepts polygamy. There are other churches which do such as the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ however it is not the same church. Those of the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ are not members and do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are not who most people know as Mormons. It's called the Reformed Church for a reason because they broke away from the original Church.

  24. The so-called “war on drugs” is in actuality a for-profit war on average, everyday people like you and me that uses drugs as a weapon.

  25. They didn't want you with them at night when they were stopping drug runners because they didn't want you to catch them taking pay off and letting certain ones go through!!

  26. SO CHILD MOLESTATION IS ILLEGAL IN AMERICA. JUST MOVE TO MEXICO AND YOU CAN RAPE ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS YOU WANT………..O.o

  27. Lots of lies and convenient places to lay blame here it's NOT illegal to own guns in Mexico. Also if the guns are the problem why dosn' t Canada have this problem? These people will get guns anyway. Drugs, egocentricity and crap culture is the problem.

  28. 27:36 Mormons . . .Drinking? Mormons aren't supposed to drink. They should have asked if they still practice polygamy. If Mitt Romney had become president, I could have 4 wives now. Thanks Obama.

  29. What an unfortunate misrepresentation and false explanation of the Mormon Church. It’s appalling that a popular news source could be so wrong.

  30. Yeahhhh saying they're 'Mormon' isn't true. They're a breakoff polygamist sect from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Members of the church don't have "colonies", we are a worldwide church. This "colony" in Mexico probably isn't part of the FLDS breakoff either, since FLDS are predominantly in Colorado City, CO.

  31. Why don't Mexico just legalize their own cocaine, marijuana, and sell it as they choose? Everyone else would be responsible for how they get it from there. We the United States should legalize it as well and tax everything that comes across our border. Somebody is already collecting illegally anyway. That way it would not be against the law and they can build up their own country and create jobs for their own people.

  32. I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth counting. It has been a long time since then, but still I have no love for the Mexicans. With me they were always treacherous and malicious.

    — Geronimo, My Life: The Autobiography of Geronimo, 1905.

  33. God bless the Lebarons and the other families dealing with such violence. The Lebarons were just murdered again.women and children burned alive and shot. Our military must annex Mexico now. We need our troop there immediatley.

    If you do heroin or cocaine you are half the problem.

  34. So Alex LeBaron has sarcasm about the religion about drug dealers.. (meaning the prayers to Catholic Saints) but didn't the Mormons write their own bible so that Ervil LeBaron was the only profit and the children were celestial children not to mention the 50 wives they had to flee America to practice to made up as you go religion. 🙄
    That isn't shocking…

  35. they were attacked before, there are many links in this thread with local news clips showing attacks fot the past 2 years at least…
    https://www.facebook.com/yasmine.velasquez.73/posts/2444905232497331?hc_location=ufi

  36. I watched about 2 years ago and today I see the news of a attack on a family of Mormons In Mexico and their last names were lebaron, made me come back to this video right away

  37. And I wonder why this people is still living there ! Why they don’t go back to the States! Why they have guns, why they block roads? Are they trying to steal that part of Mexico? Everything sounds tricky and they try to look like saviors! Come on!

  38. That wasn't an ambush. The 9 Mormon family members was a hit. The cartel was sending their families a message. Demonic but not coincidence

  39. Silently we stole in one by one, sentinels were placed, and, when all were counted, I found my aged mother, my young wife and three children were among the slain.

    I was never again contented in our quiet home. True, I could visit my father’s grave, but I had vowed vengeance against the Mexican troopers who had wronged me, and when I came near his grave or saw anything to remind me of former happy days my heart would ache for revenge upon Mexicans.

    Geronimo: My Life 1905

  40. Puaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhaahhhhh !!! That's by far the funniest image i had ever seen @ 2:26.Talk about overkill dude !!!! ISIS dont even do that.Where they get all them knives ???? ;))))))))))

  41. Don't them Mormons kill they own anyway like the lil boys and the girls that go astray or want to leave the church , …stay woke tho

  42. Ok I must say if Trump declares drug cartels as TERRORISTS most all the mexicans will be very happy to receive navy SEALS in our country dominated by these thugs!!! The politics of "hugs and no bullets" literally of our stupid and coward president he and the army have been subdued by the drug cartels in Sinaloa and negotiated with their demands!!! 😡🤬

  43. Question. Having USA citizenship why still living in this,dangerous country, if I was all of you I return to the country of origin of your fathers…stop the blood sheet of your clan and return to the country you will be safe or POLIGAMY IS MORE IMPORTANT THEN YOUR CLANS LIFE

  44. The amount of misinformation in this video is unbelievable. Research before going about and sounding stupid like the guy doing this vice video…

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