Jeffs' bizarre rules (no red clothing, an edict to round up the town' dogs and slaughter them) confused his followers and his penchant for taking teen brides attracted the eye of authorities, eventually leading to his capture on an interstate near Vegas in August of 2006.
According to court testimony from former followers, Jeffs still runs the cult from a Texas prison through coded letters, but as Rolling Stone has detailed, his grip over Short Creek is loosening.
He ignored the senile, lecherous prophet, took wives who didn't belong to the faith, and then claimed to be the prophet himself.
He was King David from the Bible reincarnated, he told his family, and he had the power to turn rocks into gold.
As a member of a polygamist Mormon splinter-sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS, Black had always been a rebel – even by the twisted standards of Short Creek, the dusty desert hamlet that straddles the border of Utah and Arizona at the base of soaring vermillion cliffs.
Unlike most FLDS men, known for their meek manner and Amish-like dress, Black did pretty much whatever he wanted.
Their arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began in September, when three bodies were found about three miles from Black's compound, which is known as Rancho El Negro, or Black Ranch. In a series of raids over two days they detained over two dozen U. citizens and turned up 65 stuffed animal heads, including zebras, buffaloes, a lion and a bear, along with frozen animal carcasses.
According to Mexican news reports, the men had been shot execution style at the entrance to a trailer home. Last weekend, more than 100 Mexican law enforcement personnel descended on Black's compound, with assistance from the FBI and the U. Back in Short Creek, people who knew Black told me they never liked him much, and more or less avoided him after he became a pariah.
In the mid 1990s, Black soured on the church, perhaps disappointed he hadn't become prophet, but stuck around the community, marrying other apostate wives and opening a shop called Mojave Minerals, where he claimed he was making gold out of rocks.That changed this week, after Black was arrested Sunday in Chihuahua, Mexico and detained on suspicion that he murdered three Americans, ages 15, 19 and 23.Mexican police identified the men by their first names – Robert, Jesse and Michael.Its founder, Ervil Lebaron, ordered the killing of rivals, including leaders of the FLDS and the Salt Lake City's Kingston clan, and was suspected of orchestrating the slayings of over 25 people before he died in a Utah prison in 1981.Black was rumored to be friendly with the Le Barons (one of them lives outside Short Creek in an area known as the Cane Beds) and when Black fled to Mexico he set up shop not far from their hamlet, known as Colonia Le Baron.