Texas Moves to Seize Warren Jeffs' Ranch

He's imprisoned, but his polygamist sect remains on 1,600-acre spread

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 28, 2012 12:52 PM CST

(Newser) – Texas authorities succeeded in getting polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs locked up for life for sexually abusing underage girls, and now they want to shut down the massive ranch where his followers still live, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The state attorney general today took the first step in seizing the 1,600-acre property near Eldorado, arguing that it was purchased with laundered money as "part of a failed attempt to establish a remote outpost where they could insulate themselves from criminal prosecution for sexually assaulting children."

It's not clear how many people still live on the ranch, but an attorney for Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says authorities are "punishing the victims—these aren't the people who committed the crimes." The Tribune doesn't think a federal raid is imminent; this one could wind through the courts instead.

This Aug. 9, 2011, file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Huntsville, Texas.
This Aug. 9, 2011, file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Huntsville, Texas.   (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice, File)
In this 2005 aerial photo, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound is shown under construction near Eldorado, Texas.
In this 2005 aerial photo, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound is shown under construction near Eldorado, Texas.   (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, File)
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