August 29th, 2006 17:46 EST
Fugitive Jeffs Arrested in Las Vegas
Warren Steed Jeffs, leader of a polygamous sect and one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives since May, was arrested Monday during a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas.
The 50-year-old fugitive, wanted for alleged sex assaults in 2002, was a passenger in a late-model SUV that was stopped by a Nevada Department of Public Safety trooper for not displaying valid license plates. The trooper, who was specially trained to spot suspicious vehicles and in other homeland security procedures, recognized Jeffs from wanted posters. He was arrested without incident.
The capture is the 453 rd arrest of an FBI Most Wanted figure since the program to catch fugitives was established in 1950.
Steve Martinez, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas field office, praised the work of the Nevada troopers.
“This is indicative of when agencies get together and pool resources,” Martinez said during an August 29 press conference in Las Vegas.
Jeffs, a former private schoolteacher and accountant, is the leader of a polygamous sect known as the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) that separated itself from mainstream Mormonism in 1890 after polygamy was banned. FLDS, which has an estimated 10,000 followers, has communities in Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. Jeffs was wanted for the alleged sexual assault of a minor in 2002 and for one count of conspiracy to commit sexual assault with a minor that same year. The alleged offenses took place in the vicinity of Colorado City. Additionally, Jeffs is wanted In Utah as an accomplice to rape.
Warren Jeffs Wanted Poster
FBI Ten Most Wanted