This Polygamous Sect Leader Has Finally Been Busted One Year After Wriggling Out Of His Ankle Monitor With Olive Oil
Polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs has finally been captured after nearly a year on the run following his escape from home confinement last June.
According to CBS News, Jeffs was found at a marina in southeast South Dakota almost exactly one year after he escaped home confinement in Utah pending trial on food stamp fraud charges.
"#ARRESTED: FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs in custody after nearly a year on the lam," the FBI announced in a victory tweet on Thursday.
Yankton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Rothschadl said Jeffs surrendered on Wednesday after being tracked down in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Investigators have been searching for Jeffs since he wriggled out of his ankle monitor and disappeared last June.
According to reports, Jeffs managed to slip out of his ankle monitor without setting off any obvious alarms by coating the area with olive oil and another lubricant.
Jeffs then fled from the Salt Lake City home and was not seen again until this week, when police finally found him in Sioux Falls.
At the time of his escape, Jeffs and 10 others had been facing charges of fraud and money laundering.
As CBS News reports, Jeffs and the others were accusing of being involved in a multi-million dollar food stamp fraud scam.
Jeffs, who is part of the polygamous group the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, allegedly put together the food stamp scheme with his fellow sect leaders.
According to investigators, the group instructed their individual followers to buy items with their food stamp cards and give them to a church warehouse.
Church leaders would then distribute the items to their followers in any way they saw fit.
Many of these stamps were also cashed at sect-owned stores and never returned to the followers who provided them.
According to NBC News, the money was then diverted to front companies and used to pay for luxury items, such as tractors, trucks, and other pricey goods.
Although the defendants swore they were simply sharing food as part of their tight-knit, communal society, Jeffs did not stay to find out if his defense would work in court.
If Lyle Jeffs’ name rings a bell, that is probably because his older brother Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in prison for child sexual assault charges.
At the time of Jeffs’ arrest, he was the president of the church and had as many as 70 wives, some former members have said.
Jeffs was accused of molesting several underage members, many of whom were his own children.
As for Lyle Jeffs’ arrest, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker has confirmed that authorities have the fugitive in custody, but she has not revealed any further details at this time.
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