This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The FBI on Monday visited the offices of the police force that has been found to discriminate against people who don't follow the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Agents were notifying the town marshals in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., collectively known as Short Creek, that FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs had absconded, according to Blake Hamilton, an attorney representing the marshals.
Hamilton said the agents asked Chief Marshal Jerry Darger for help.
"Chief Darger informed the FBI that the [marshals] would be fully cooperative," Hamilton said in a text message to The Tribune.
In March, a jury in a federal civil trial in Phoenix found the marshals office and the two town governments guilty of civil rights violations for favoring FLDS members over non-members or people out of favor with the sect's leadership.
The towns, as part of a settlement reached while the jury was deliberating, agreed to pay $1.6 million. The U.S. Department of Justice still wants a judge to disband the marshal's office and let county sheriffs police the towns. The judge has scheduled a hearing for October.
During that trial, former Chief Marshal Helaman Barlow testified that marshals withheld information from the FBI when it was looking for FLDS President Warren Jeffs in 2006. Barlow testified that he even recorded a conversation with a Texas sheriff and forwarded the recording to people who would give it to Warren Jeffs.
Lyle Jeffs, the 56-year-old FLDS Bishop of Short Creek and the president's full brother, ditched his GPS ankle monitor and absconded over the weekend while awaiting trial on two counts related to food stamp fraud. A judge issued an arrest warrant Sunday. As of Wednesday, he remained a fugitive.
Lyle Jeffs and 10 co-defendants are accused of defrauding the food stamp program by collecting program debit cards from FLDS followers, using them at sect-controlled businesses and diverting the cash to the church and leaders. The case was investigated by a task force that included the FBI and in Utah by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
The chief deputy, Shauna Jones, on Wednesday said the Washington County Sheriff's Office is not actively participating in the search for Jeffs.
"If we receive any information on his location, we will follow up on it," Jones said in an email.