Texas moves to seize ranch of polygamist Warren Jeffs

The Salt Lake Tribune

[seizure warrant]

Fraud, sex crimes » No new charges filed, but the warrant may force the sect to move off the property.

By Lindsay Whitehurst and Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Nov 28 2012

The Texas Attorney General’s Office moved Wednesday to seize the remote ranch where polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs and other men sexually abused underage girls taken as plural wives.

Authorities say sect leaders purchased the Yearning for Zion Ranch to commit crimes, which constitutes money laundering under Texas law and also makes the property subject to seizure laws as contraband,according to a 91-page search-and-seizure warrant. Sect members bought the 1,600-acre property “in a failed attempt to establish a remote outpost where they could insulate themselves from criminal prosecution for sexually assaulting children,” according to a news release from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

The property is appraised at $19.96 million, according to county tax rolls.

The warrant is akin to civil foreclosure rather than a criminal investigation, but it could force the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) members living there to move off the property, said sect attorney Rod Parker. Authorities taped the warrant to the YFZ Ranch gate Tuesday afternoon and made it public Wednesday.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.