Lyle Jeffs, a leader of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was arrested without incident Wednesday night in South Dakota after being on the lam for close to a year.
Jeffs, 57, was one of 11 members of the Mormon offshoot sect charged last year with felony conspiracy to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and felony conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors say the men demanded that FLDS members hand over their SNAP cards, or use them at stores controlled by the FLDS so the benefits could be converted to cash. A tipster led police to a marina in Yankton, South Dakota, where Jeffs was living out of a Ford F-150 truck, the FBI said. Earlier this week, Jeffs came into a local pawn shop and made $37 by pawning two pairs of pliers; the owner told The Associated Press that Jeffs showed his ID, went by the name Jeffs Lyle Steed, and appeared to be nervous and "acting like a freak."
Jeffs, who is being held without bond and will be sent back to Utah, is the younger brother of the FLDS's imprisoned president, Warren Jeffs, who was once on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Warren Jeffs was also arrested while on the run, and later convicted of sexually abusing two girls he married as plural wives. He is serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in prison.