Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard believes that fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs could be captured in short order.
If only the Schleicher County Sheriff’s Department in Eldorado, Texas, near the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints‘ YFZ ranch, would saddle up.
“I don’t want to be critical but, frankly, I don’t think they’ve been as aggressive as I would like. This needs to be a multistate effort,” Goddard said during an interview last week.
“Maybe it’s the Waco legacy, that they are particularly sensitive to anything that would have the potential for violence,” said Goddard, referring to the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound that resulted in a 51-day siege and a fire that killed 77 sect members.
Goddard said he has “good information” that Jeffs regularly travels to the ranch, where a large temple is being built by FLDS adherents. He would not elaborate.
But Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran disputes that, saying nothing indicates that Jeffs has been to the ranch since he was indicted in Mohave County in June. Doran said the last known visit by Jeffs was the temple groundbreaking on New Year’s Day.
“We’re doing everything we can on this case and are giving more attention to this than any out-of-state warrant we’ve ever had. We’ve worked very hard on establishing a dialogue with the people out there, encouraging them to turn him in,” Doran said. “The gentleman you quote doesn’t have a clue about Texas.”
Doran said activities at the ranch are heavily monitored from adjoining properties and occasional roadblocks set up in hopes of catching Jeffs.
“We’ve been on top of this from Day 1,” Doran said. “My office here is only 3 1/2 miles from the ranch and we see the traffic that goes in there and we see the change in the people when someone important is around.”
Doran said 80 to 150 FLDS devotees live at the ranch.
Nov. 7, 2005