Evangelist agrees to extradition to Arkansas
FLAGSTAFF- Evangelist and convicted tax evader Tony Alamo waived his right to fight extradition from Arizona to Arkansas after his arrest on charges he took minors across state lines for sexual purposes.
Alamo made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff on Friday morning, wearing dark sunglasses he’s often photographed in, a black T-shirt, sweat pants and brown sandals.
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He waived his right to all hearings and requested that they be held in Arkansas. He was taken to a county jail, pending his transport to Arkansas by U.S. marshals.
The one-time rock promoter and street preacher was arrested by the FBI while leaving a Flagstaff hotel Thursday on charges of violating the Mann Act, usually used in interstate prostitution cases.
Federal prosecutors had sought his arrest after interviewing six girls taken into state custody during a raid of his southwestern Arkansas compound on Sept. 20.
Alamo told the judge that he understood that charges had been filed against him.
Debbie Groom, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Arkansas, said it would be at least a week before Alamo was transported to Arkansas by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Since establishing his ministries in Arkansas, Alamo has been a controversial and flamboyant figure in that state. Former President Clinton once likened Alamo to “Roy Orbison on speed.”
Federal agents and Arkansas state police who raided the Fouke headquarters of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries removed six girls ages 10 to 17.
The agents and police said they were seeking evidence that children there had been molested or filmed having sex.
An Arkansas judge ruled Friday that there was probable cause to keep two of the six girls in state custody, according to Julie Munsell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services.