Mexican Police Chief Arrested in Massacre of LeBaron Family

Fidel Alejandro Villegas, police chief of Janos was arrested Friday in connection with the LeBaron massacre

The story was originally broken worldwide by Frank Report – the November 4th massacre of three women and six children, members of the LeBaron clan that farms land in Sonora in the northern Mexico.

Seven other children survived by hiding by the roadside.

The children who were killed ranged in age from eight months old to 12 years old. They lived in Mexico as dual citizens until they came under fire from suspected cartel members while en route to a wedding.

Frank Report had the story out – which was soon picked up around the world – before the authorities arrived at the murder scene some 10 hours after the murders occurred.

The family was caravanning in three SUVs when gunmen opened fire on the vehicles, causing one to ignite. The other two vehicles came to a stop, where cartel gunmen shot passengers inside the car.

The federal authorities arrested Fidel Alejandro Villegas, police chief of Janos in the state of Chihuahua.

Villegas was arrested on suspicion of protecting organized crime in the region and of colluding in the killings, a spokesman for Mexico’s Public Security Ministry said.

Details of his alleged role in the killings were not clear.

Reports speculated the chief’s arrest has to do with his alleged links to the Juárez Cartel, which has been designated by the DEA as one of the most prominent criminal organizations in Mexico.

He is the fourth person arrested on suspicion of participating in the massacre.

It is not known if any of the actual murderers have been arrested.

The women and children, dual citizens of Mexico and the United States, were traveling in sports utility vehicles on a remote country road when they were attacked by gunmen believed to belong to an organized crime group.

It has been reported that Federal officials believe that the victims were mistaken for members of a rival group.

But others say that the murderers knew who they were killing and that water rights and the LeBaron’s activism was at the heart of the killings.

The arrest of a police chief as a conspirator in the crime is nothing new in Mexico. In a small town like Janos, the criminals have substantially more gun power than the police.

There have been 32,600 murders reported in Mexico through November.

Under pressure from the Trump administration, the Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, sought US cooperation in the case, inviting the FBI to help in the investigation.

President Trump has since vowed to crack down on cartel violence in Mexico. Officials said Mexican authorities have been working with the FBI on the matter.

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Frank Parlato


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  • One man who reports from Sinaloa has said that often cartel bosses have assassinations filmed, and that the FBI has retrieved video footage of this mass shooting. Since there’s only been one source about it, many would question whether it’s accurate. This is said to be amongst the evidence found by FBI investigators, who were given official escort during their time working on this in Mexico. Another thing that’s understood is police chiefs and mayors can and do get paid for turning a blind eye and for not intervening in cartel “justice.”

    Rhonita Miller’s father told the press that he and one of his wives arrived to the crime scene where Rhonita and four of her children were incinerated long, long before any law enforcement showed up to help. Her father and his wife stood digging shell casings out of the rubble, and no police showed up to the scattered crime scenes for 24 hours. Rhonita’s father drove right to Arizona with his gathered evidence and personally gave it to the FBI, trusting no one with any authority in Mexico.

    The LeBaron clan rankled a lot of other residents by their well-digging habits and its effects upon the availability of water for other families’ homes and for their agricultural needs and incomes. One LeBaron property alone was inspected, and it was found that 23 wells had been dug there. These weren’t all being dug legitimately. There is also a branch of LeBarons who have operated their own little cartel for quite a number of multi-generational years by now.

    These circumstances never warranted shooting women and children at close range, and Rhonita’s father saw how close in range those shootings were and he got the evidence of that, too. One woman was executed after she jumped out her vehicle. She had just saved her infant’s life by putting the baby’s bassinet-style carseat onto the floor, and then she stood there begging them to stop shooting.

    There was a car-bombing in Guanajuato very recently and there has been zero legitimate news (not that I’ve found) about it, and it has been more than a week. This is how Escobar used to spread fear and chaos, with car-bombs, and for any innocent victims, tough luck.

    It’s very possible that if Rhonita’s father had not driven crime scene evidence out of Mexico and put it directly into the FBI’s hands, we wouldn’t have seen much more about this whole, sickening crime spree.

    • The video apparently doesn’t actually show the the ambush and sounds very amateurish, probably just the sort of thing common in the era of smartphones and video sharing sites:

      “the video appears to be from a cellphone, lasts less than a minute and was taken from a hill overlooking the SUV that carried Maria Rhonita Miller and four of her children on Nov. 4.

      The video, apparently recorded by one of the captured suspects, does not depict any gunfire or the blaze that engulfed the SUV, Langford said.”

  • A few questions Frank.Do you know how this family is related to the ones who were killed?

    Also you wrote Allison probably gave the recording between her and Keith talking about the branding to the police, but in Edmondson’s interview with Allison Swan, Sarah said that India was the one that gave the recording to the FBI. Is there a reason you don’t believe that it was India who turned over the recording?

    Finally – have you submitted your letter on behalf of Allison asking the judge for leniency and will you share it with us?

    • I have not submitted any letters to the judge. I am considering doing so. I would probably ask for leniency for Kathy Russell, Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman. I would not ask for leniency for Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman or Nancy Salzman. As for Keith and Clare,, if I wrote at all, it would be to suggest a longer sentence. As for Nancy, I don’t think I will write at all. — And yes, if I write, I will share them with my readers.

  • Arrest in Mexico of officials, police, government, are Catch and Release. The Chief will be in jail for 2 days and then let go. In a show trial, he will be found Not Guilty. The arrest is just for PR, pry cooked up by the CIA to 1) keep the drugs flowing, 2) crackdown on the socialists, 3) keep the ruling parties in power, and 4) make Americans feel safe.

    Many have said the LeBarons were involved in grows or other activities. New vehicles, lots of cash, no real source of income. What were they farming? Avocados? Probably not.

    Raniere was well-protected when he was in Mexico. But when he was outed, he was lucky he wasn’t killed on the spot on the orders of Salinas or other families.

  • Ok, well a naturalized Mexican/American told me he was moving to Mexico. I asked if she was afraid of because of the murders. He said no because those people were murdered because they were growing on land that the drug cartels wanted for growing drugs. When they refused to move off the land – they were killed. How much the police were involved is anyone’s guess. There is pressure from America to lock someone up over this. Locking up the neighbors for not calling the police on what they know will not bring justice. Neighbors are terrified. When Mexican police cannot control the drug cartels in Mexico, anyone ratting them out will just result in their death and very likely the death of their family. Mex police tried to arrest drug cartel’s son. They were showered with so much ammo from so many drug guys that they released the son on the spot and ran for their lives. See the story here:

    • I haven’t seen the news story about the U.S. wanting to lock up the neighbors for not telling the police what they know. That was Raniere’s approach, and was even mentioned in his often misinterpreted “I’ve had people killed” video. Trump wanted to go after the cartels with a massive law enforcement/military force, much as was done in Colombia years ago. It is the Mexican president who shot down this idea, because HE wants to wake up in the morning. We (The U.S. and Mexico) don’t need “leaders” like that.

  • As I recall it, Toni Natalie tried to go to Mexico to help start the peace movement there but Keith planned to imprison her by sending her emails with a fake journalist.

    • Dr. G. Porter, aka Nicki Clyne:

      Did you inform the FBI of Keith’s plan to kidnap Toni Natalie?

      Were Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman part of this nefarious plan to kidnap Toni Natalie?

      Is that why the FBI and the Mexican Federales rushed to arrest Raniere and thwart the plan?

      • Shadow, please stop your bullshit. After what you tried to do to Allie during your short time in NXIVM, I will not allow you to do it to me.

  • The Mexicans sure like to cover up the eyes of perps, they did the same thing with Raniere. By the way, many of the families took my advice and moved back to the U.S. Smart move.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083