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Fugitive Polygamist Arrested

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A polygamist Mormon sect leader who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List has been arrested and faces sexual misconduct charges for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, authorities said Tuesday.

Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was taken into custody after he and two other people were pulled over late Monday by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas, FBI spokesman David Staretz said.

The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was wanted in Utah and Arizona on suspicion of sexual misconduct for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.

Since May, Jeffs has been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, with a $100,000 reward offered for information leading to his capture.

The other two people in the vehicle were identified as one of Warren Jeffs' wives, Naomi Jeffs, and a brother, Isaac Steve Jeffs, both 32, Staretz said. They were being interviewed by the FBI in Las Vegas but were not arrested.

Jeffs was in federal custody in Las Vegas pending a court hearing on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, Staretz said. It was not immediately clear if Jeffs would face extradition to Arizona or Utah.

Jeffs was indicted in June on an Arizona charge of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a married man, and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is charged in Utah with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice, for allegedly arranging the marriage of a teenage girl to an older man in Nevada.

The FLDS Church split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the mainstream Mormon Church disavowed plural marriage more than 100 years ago.


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