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Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs held in Nevada
LAS VEGAS - Fugitive polygamist sect leader Warren Steed Jeffs, one of the FBI's 10 most wanted men, was arrested after a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas, traveling with $50,000 in cash, 15 cell phones and three wigs, authorities said on Tuesday.
Jeffs, 50, considered a prophet by his estimated 10,000 followers, was jailed on warrants accusing him of sexual assault and other misconduct on minors in Arizona, and as an accomplice to rape in Utah, the FBI and state law enforcement officials said.
"Now he's going to be held accountable," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said of Jeffs' arrest. "Nobody is above the law."
Jeffs, feared as a tyrant by many former members of his sect, is accused of arranging marriages between older men and underage girls in a community that is closed to outsiders. Young men and boys are often forced out to ensure a supply of young brides for male elders.
The sect, long based in an enclave on the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the mainstream Mormon Church banned polygamy more than a century ago.
Jeffs' group is believed to be one of the largest polygamist communities in the United States. A joint Utah-Arizona attorneys general report has estimated that 20,000 to 40,000 Americans still engage in the outlawed practice of plural marriage...
For more on American Mormon polygamy see here.