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Texas Starts Legal Action To Seize Warren Jeffs' FLDS Ranch In El Dorado
Texas wants to seize the West Texas ranch where the state says religious sect leader Warren Jeffs and others sexually assaulted children.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints YFZ Ranch is a 1,600-acre property in El Dorado.
The Texas Attorney General's Office says the filing of a search and seizure warrant begins the final chapter of the State’s nearly five-year effort to pursue widespread criminal misconduct at the YFZ Ranch.
In a 91-page affidavit, a law enforcement officer with the Texas Attorney General’s Office describes how proceeds from illegal activity were used to purchase the ranch. The Ranch was purchased on the orders of Warren Jeffs, who sought a rural location where the FLDS could operate a polygamist compound where the systemic sexual assault of children would be tolerated without interference from law enforcement authorities, according to the affidavit.
It also explains that the State has successfully prosecuted nine FLDS members – including Warren Jeffs – for sexually assaulting children at the YFZ Ranch.
FLDS members also used the ranch to illegally harbor Jeffs when he was a fugitive on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List, according to the affidavit.
Under Texas law, law enforcement authorities can seek to seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct.
In 2008, the state raided the West Texas ranch and took custody of several hundred children because of accusations they were being mistreated. A court ordered most of them to be returned to their families.