State of Texas Files Legal Action to Seize Warren Jeffs Polygamist Ranch
CBS 7 News
Texas Attorney General's Office Release
November 28, 2012
AUSTIN – The Texas Attorney General’s Office has initiated legal proceedings to seize the YFZ Ranch, a 1,600-acre property in West Texas where multiple children were sexually assaulted by members of the FLDS. The filing of a search and seizure warrant in the 51st State District Court begins the final chapter of the State’s nearly five-year effort to pursue widespread criminal misconduct at the YFZ Ranch.
In a 91-page affidavit that was submitted to the court along with the search and seizure warrant, a law enforcement officer with the Texas Attorney General’s Office describes how proceeds from illegal activity were used to purchase the ranch, which FLDS leaders bought in a failed attempt to establish a remote
outpost where they could insulate themselves from criminal prosecution for sexually assaulting children.
In addition to the money laundering and felony sexual assault convictions associated with the YFZ Ranch cited in the affidavit, FLDS members used the ranch to illegally harbor Jeffs when he was a fugitive on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List. Evidence that law enforcement authorities collected at the YFZ Ranch also shows that ranch residents “engaged in, and/or acquired the property with the intent to commit, felony offenses upon the property and within the buildings and improvements of this property.”
As required by the Code of Criminal Procedure, the State served the property owners—and Warren Jeffs--
with a formal legal notice informing the property owners about the instigation of forfeiture proceedings.
At a later date, the 51st District Court will hold a hearing where the FLDS will be given an opportunity to oppose the seizure and submit evidence supporting its case. Because the hearing and any related court proceedings are civil – rather than criminal –the process is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,
which govern ordinary civil litigation in the State of Texas.