Members of a polygamous sect have been quietly buying up property in Custer and Fremont counties and settling in, according to the Custer County sheriff.
“We have reason to believe that they are the same organization that was in Texas that has been in the news,” said Custer County Sheriff Fred Jobe.
Last month, federal authorities raided a Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints ranch in Texas and removed 462 children amid allegations that young girls were forced into polygamous marriages to older relatives.
Last year, Warren Jeffs, who headed the sect that broke away from the Mormon church, was convicted in Utah on two counts of being an accomplice to rape and was sentenced to serve at least 10 years in prison.
He was accused of influencing his followers to coerce a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin in 2001.
The FLDS already has a presence in Colorado. In 2005, sect members purchased land outside Mancos, west of Durango, to build a retreat for Jeffs.
In the past two years, a senior aide to Jeffs has purchased three properties in Custer County, near the town of Westcliffe. Jobe said that one property is northeast of West cliffe, where there is a good-size community of FLDS members. A house on a piece of property to the west of the town is also being remodeled.
“They seem to be always adding on, building, doing something around the places,” said Jobe. “That seems to be an ongoing thing.”
So far, the members of the FLDS sect have kept to themselves, though Jobe and some of his deputies have talked to some of the men. “We hardly ever see them in town,” said Jobe. “They own their own place. The men do some shopping around town, but it’s very rare to see the women and children in town.”
So far, there have been no complaints about the FLDS members in Custer County.
“At this point, since they’re not breaking any laws, we’re just keeping track of what they’re doing,” said Jobe.
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