Polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs caught after year on lam

FLDS church leader Lyle Jeffs in South Dakota jail

FLDS church leader Lyle Jeffs in South Dakota jail

Bishop Lyle Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was living out of his auto for two weeks before his arrest in Yankton, South Dakota, an Federal Bureau of Investigation official said Thursday. FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart in Salt Lake City says that identified the FLDS leader.

Jeffs fled from his Salt Lake City home - where he was under house arrest - on June 19 of a year ago while awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud case.

Prosecutors allege that Lyle Jeffs and other FLDS leaders in Arizona and South Dakota conspired to defraud the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, and conspired to commit money laundering. Warren Jeffs is now serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for child rape; he had 78 wives when he was arrested in 2006, and a third of them were under the age of 17. Rothschadl says he doesn't know why Jeffs was in southeast South Dakota.

Many authorities, and those on the inside of Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), felt he would never be seen again.

A United States District Judge approved supervised home release June 9, 2016, though the FBI and federal prosecutors fought to have him remain jailed until his trial in October 2016.

Jeffs became a fugitive the weekend of 18-19 June 2016, when he slipped off his Global Positioning System ankle monitor using olive oil or another lubricant and fled from a Salt Lake City house where he was on supervised home release, authorities have said. It's not clear if FLDS members provided Jeffs support while he was on the run, but Barnhart said the fugitive bishop had limited communication and resources over the previous year.

Rothschadl says police made the traffic stop as Jeffs drove through the marina after using a bathroom.

But the joke might be on Jeffs, depending on how law enforcement officials charge him when he is extradited to Utah; assuming that he is brought back. He is held without bond on a U.S. Marshals Service hold.

The FLDS church leader was on the FBI's most wanted list and there was a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

John Huber, the U.S. Attorney for Utah said additional charges of fleeing could be added to the fraud charges. Prosecutors argued Mr Jeffs was a flight risk.

Ten others were charged with Jeffs in the food stamp fraud scheme back in February of past year. "You're not going to get away with it", Huber said. Eleven church leaders are accused of forcing members to "donate" their food stamp benefits to the church, which then used them for their own expenses.

The defendants denied wrongdoing and said they were sharing food as part of their communal living practices.

Nine of them accepted plea deals and on had his charges dismissed.

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