Interim Colorado City Mayor Terrill C. Johnson was arrested on eight fraudulent vehicle registration charges Friday afternoon during a town council meeting.
The mayor was taken into custody by Colorado City Town Marshal deputies – his own police force – who were carrying out a warrant issued by Washington County on April 13. The charges are second- degree felonies. Johnson was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility, with bail set at $5,000.
The town council usually meets on Monday evenings but apparently had postponed its meeting until Friday.
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The deputies served the warrant on Johnson, 57, and escorted him from the building and turned him over to Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Fischer, who took him to the jail.
Johnson has served as mayor of Colorado City since March. The town and the adjoining city of Hildale are home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect that practices polygamy.
Johnson took over as mayor after Richard Allred unexpectedly resigned from the post, giving little public notice or information about his decision. Ex-FLDS members in the community say they later learned he’d been ousted from the faith.
The mayor’s arrest is the latest crackdown on the community by law enforcement officers. On Thursday, 16 Mohave County deputies, detectives and an investigator searched four homes for evidence related to ongoing investigations of sex abuse.
Two men, including Deputy Town Marshal Mica Barlow, are being held in an Arizona jail because of their refusal to testify before a state grand jury.