State of Texas Seizes Polygamist Ranch
Just outside the west Texas town of Eldorado, Schleicher County Sheriff’s Deputies (SCSO) and officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) met this week with members of the Yearning for Zion Ranch and began the process of confiscation for the 1,600 acre facility. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office filed for forfeiture of the property in 2012 and a State District Court Judge issued a final judgment in January 2014.
In a statement from the DPS obtained by Breitbart Texas, “At approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, the Schleicher County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety met with current residents of the property and provided them with copies of the court orders applicable to the forfeiture – the residents have agreed to vacate the property.”
Law enforcement officers are reportedly working with the property’s residents and are providing all reasonable actions to assist them in their departure. The officers will be obtaining an inventory of real property on the facility and will protect all assets which now belong to the state. The DPS reported there were only eight adults currently in residence.
It is not known, at this time, if an appeal of the judge’s ruling and the state’s action will be taken by the ranch’s residents.
According to a report in the Dallas Morning News (DMN), this action comes six years after the FBI raided the property and removed hundreds of children because of allegations of child sexual abuse. The group’s leader, Warren Jeffs, was convicted of sexually assaulting two girls he took as child brides and is currently serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.
In April 2008 the FBI, along with state and local law enforcement officials, raided the compound due to allegations of underage girls being forced into bigamist marriages. The officials seized 439 children and placed them in protective custody. The raid immediately received national attention from TV and other news media outlets.
Eventually, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the government had no right remove the children and lacked sufficient evidence to show the children were in immediate danger, according to a CNN report.
General Abbott’s office asked the judge to allow the forfeiture by alleging that the group’s leaders financed a $1.1 million purchase of the land in 2003 through money laundering, according to the DMN report. Additionally, the state claimed the property was used to facilitate sexual assaults against children. Texas law allows the seizure of property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal actions.
Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX