Texas butterfly park shuts down after QAnon theorists call it a sex trafficking hub

National Butterfly Center in Mission closed after QAnon followers swarm the area believing it is center for drug and sex trafficking


                            Texas butterfly park shuts down after QAnon theorists call it a sex trafficking hub
The National Butterfly Centre in Mission, Texas (@krs10ellington/Instagram) and a man in a QAnon sweatshirt. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas has been forced to close between January 28 and 30 2022, thanks to a deluge of QAnon followers. In an email blast to members, the Centre said it had received " credible threats" from a "former state official" as far-right groups gather a short while away in McAllen for a 'We Stand for America' rally. Located less than a mile from the US-Mexico border, the center has become the latest battleground of the group's bizarre conspiracy theories.

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In 2020, Marjorie Taylor Greene became the first QAnon supporter to be elected to the US Congress. Since then, the group has only gained more traction. On March 2, 2021, a small group of believers thronged to Washington DC believing that Trump would be sworn in as President on that date. In November, a large group of believers warned the AT&T Discovery Plaza in Dallas, claiming JFK Jr. would return and give a speech. 

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Now, the National Butterfly Centre has become the latest attraction for believers, thanks in part to its location. Even though its nowhere near the McAllen rally, the center believes it will be swarmed by followers to see drug and human traffickers with their own eyes. 

David Reinert holds up a large "Q" sign at his rally on August 2, 2018, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. (Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

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Why is the center closed?

Between January 28 to 30, a 'We Stand for America' rally will take place in McAllen, which will feature many notable conspiracy theorists like General Michael Flynn, singer Ted Nugent, QAnon promoter Mel K, and “Stop the Steal” advocate Rep. Mark Finchem to name just a few. The rally will focus on border law enforcement, and as part of the event will feature a "rolling car protest on the border".

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That protest is expected to make a stop at the Mission center because it is located just minutes away from the Rio Grande, which theorists claim is a hotbed for drug and human trafficking. In its email, the center said, "We were alerted to this event following a visit by a congressional candidate from Virginia." The unnamed candidate reportedly demanded access to the center so they could see the illegal crossing taking place from the center's property. That interaction led to police getting involved after the center claimed the candidate knocked an employee to the ground and stole her phone.

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A view of the Rio Grande from the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. (@kalysssa/Instagram)

 

There has never been any proof that the center supports or even helps migrants cross into the US, but nonetheless, its location has made it a prime target for theorists. In the past, it has been attacked by Steve Bannon and Brian Kolfage, founder of the 'We Build The Wall movement. Kolfage had once even shared fake photos of rafts at a dock outside the center, claiming they were used by smugglers, The Daily Dot reported. It appears the Virginia candidate used those attacks as well in her altercation with the center. 

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Following the incident, the center was advised to close by a former state official, who told employees to either be "armed at all times or out of town this weekend," because it was a definite target. The center claimed that it was already being attacked and that someone "ripped down the National Butterfly Center sign". So far, the Mission Police Department has not confirmed whether it would file a case against the candidate, or investigate who took down the center's sign. 

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"We still cannot believe we are at the center of this maelstrom of malevolence rising in the United States," the center said. It called on people to share the story, as well as support the center through donations because of the strain imposed by the pandemic.