BREAKING NEWS: Fugitive FLDS polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs arrested

Lyle Jeffs booking photo, Davis County Jail, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Davis County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints polygamous sect leader Lyle Steed Jeffs is in police custody after nearly a year on the lam, the FBI Field Office in Salt Lake City announced Thursday.

Lyle Jeffs booking photo | Photo courtesy of the FBI Field Office in Salt Lake City, St. George News

Jeffs, 57, was arrested in South Dakota around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. He was booked into the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls just before midnight on a U.S. Marshals hold. He is being held without bond.

Few details of the capture were immediately provided. The FBI is expected to hold a news conference in Salt Lake City on Jeffs’ arrest Thursday afternoon.

Jeffs and 11 co-defendants, also members of the polygamous sect, were arrested in February 2016 on charges of diverting at least $12 million worth of federal benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Jeffs and other leaders were accused of instructing followers to buy items with their food stamp cards and give them to a church warehouse where leaders decided how to distribute products to followers.

Lyle Jeffs was released from jail on June 9, 2016, and ordered to home confinement while awaiting trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme within the FLDS church.

FBI officials said they believe Lyle Jeffs used olive oil to slip off his GPS ankle bracelet during the evening hours of June 18, 2016, and abscond from home confinement in Salt Lake City.

FBI investigations revealed that after absconding, Lyle Jeffs spent time in the Short Creek area in July 2016.

The twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona – collectively known as Short Creek – straddle the Utah-Arizona border and are home base to thousands of FLDS members who consider Warren Jeffs to be the church’s prophet and mouthpiece of God on Earth.

In August 2016, federal authorities announced they were offering a $50,000 reward to the person or persons who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of Lyle Jeffs and elevated Jeffs to the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.

Meanwhile, Jeffs’ co-defendants resolved their cases by pleading guilty to felony or misdemeanor charges. All avoided jail time or paying restitution.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • Utahguns June 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

    As a non-LDS member, I continue to be amazed as these FLDS people who really have no regard for keeping the laws of their faith….
    Article of Faith #12. In sustaining the laws and leaders of the land.
    Article of Faith #13. In being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.”


    • Brian June 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

      “non-LDS member”?

      Agreed, these guys are vile hypocrites. They’re textbook examples of D&C 121:39 – “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”

      They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law every chance there is. That being said, Ed and others have constantly lambasted Utah authorities for not doing more to crack down on them, but without rolling tanks into Hilldale and going full on jack-booted-thug, what are they supposed to do? It’s a closed community where even the women being abused lie to cover for their “husbands”. Within the confines of the law (which we WAN’T!) the hands of law enforcement are tied until opportunities like this arise where there is evidence that can be legally acted on.

      This is very similar to the problem of islamism / radical islam within the muslim community. The change will HAVE to come from within. Until there are muslims willing to turn in their family or friends for being radicals hell-bent on terrorizing girls and women and committing acts of terror, nothing will change. We’ll keep blowing them up, and they’ll keep using it to recruit, and the problem will keep escalating. The real change HAS to come from within the community, whether you’re talking about ISIS or Short Creek.

      • Real Life June 15, 2017 at 10:56 am

        Something tells me that if the pedophiles in Short Creek were reading from the Koran, and not the book of Mormon, a lot more WOULD be done about the crimes being commited there.

        • comments June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

          Brian and so many true believing LDS’ers are in full denial about their church’s actual history and the shady things they do behind the scenes to this day. LDS and FLDS are tied together in so many ways and thru so many blood relations I don’t know if they could ever be untangled. It’s quite a little web, that’s for sure–a web of close ties and a web of deceit. They can’t even get shortcreek’s corrupt police force disbanded. And millions of foodstamps stolen and they don’t even get as harsh of fine as going 10mph over the speed limit. You LDS’ers should give some hard thought to what that tithing money you fork over is actually supporting–LDS is an organization that enables and supports another organization that enables massive fraud and child sex abuse… And it isn’t just UT; they’ve got plenty of political ties in AZ and several other states. And the mormon LDS church stays silent on the issue all the way to the bank, and they’re far and away the most powerful political force in this state and just silence on the issue–silently enabling.

      • comments June 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

        Your LDS church has ignored the problem of the plygs for decades. It’s my opionion that they actively enable them somehow, although I have no proof, but at the very least they enable them by pretending they don’t exist, and they are a direct line of mormonism practiced in UT in times past with nearly the same beliefs as the LDS. It’s my opinion that they’ve got so many “backroom” ties to mainstream LDS mormonism that these plyg groups do have significant political power in this state. That, and so many of the LDS churches top dogs are closeted plygs themselves, so it’s more than just sympathy that so many LDS have for them. They exist because the LDS church allows them to exist.

      • Utahguns June 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        Oops! Sorry, my bad on the first sentence. I’m NOT an LDS member.

    • comments June 15, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      a non-LDS member…

      haha, it’s so fitting in this area. good one, guns


  • Mike P. June 15, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I heard he used food stamps to purchase the olive oil he used to slip out of the ankle bracelet.

  • comments June 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Just think, if he hadn’t run away he’d just pay a small fine and be free like those others. What was it they paid, like $123 dollars or something; less than a speeding ticket.

  • utahdiablo June 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah, Big Deal….so the “on the take” Obama / Loretta Lynch Feds will come in and would have slapped a $100 fine on him and a slap on the wrist like they did with the other FLDS over the $12 Million that was stolen from we the taxpayers of the United States? Well the new US AG Jeff Sessions will have another take on this, feel free to contact his department to make a complaint known about this BS $100 fine….if it were you or me? We’d be in prison for life

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