Notorious fugitive polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs arrested in South Dakota

June 15 (Reuters) - Authorities have arrested Lyle Jeffs, a fugitive leader of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sect, who had been on the run for almost a year after fleeing house arrest, officials said on Thursday.

Jeffs, 57, was captured in South Dakota on Wednesday night and was being held without bond, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office.

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He had been on the run since he fled house arrest on June 18, 2016, in Salt Lake City, awaiting trial with other leaders of the religious sect on charges they diverted money from a federal government food assistance program for the poor, authorities said.

"#ARRESTED: FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs in custody after nearly a year on the lam. He was arrested in South Dakota around 8:30 last night," the FBI's Salt Lake City office said on Twitter.

20 PHOTOS
Inside the compound of polygamous leader Warren Jeffs
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Inside the compound of polygamous leader Warren Jeffs
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks through a large dining room at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S. May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, looks into an office at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Red rock cliffs rise above Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, where the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) prophet leader Warren Jeffs lived and ran the church for many years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S. May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
A key hangs out of a lock on one of the 41 bedrooms at jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) prophet leader Warren Jeffs' compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) prophet leader Warren Jeffs, stands on a back porch at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S. May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, looks out the window of one of the 41 bedrooms at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks between the 11th and 12th bedroom at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S. May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, looks over a patio area at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks through one of two large kitchens at his compound in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks past an outdoor chimney marked with "Pray and Obey" at the compound where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, walks past an outdoor chimney marked with "Pray and Obey" at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, looks out the window of the prayer room where she prayed every hour on the hour with other wives of his, at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, enters his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., on May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, shows how she prayed every hour on the hour with other wives of his in the prayer room at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, opens a backdoor with an eviction notice on the window of his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Briell Decker, the 65th wife of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs, looks inside his bedroom at his compound, where he lived for several years, in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. She is in the process of purchasing the compound. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Tumbleweeds and a no trespassing sign are seen outside the northwest entrance of FLDS Church's Prophet leaders Warren Jeff's compound where he lived for several years in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Two old couches sit outside the northwest entrance of jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) polygamist prophet leader Warren Jeffs' compound where he lived for several years in Hildale, Utah, U.S., May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who heads a breakaway Mormon sect, is pictured in this Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison mug shot, released to Reuters August 10,2011. Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison August 9 for sexually assaulting two underage girls he claimed as "spiritual" brides. The Texas jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for less than an hour before giving him a 99-year, or life, sentence for one charge and 20 years for a second -- the maximum for both. REUTERS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW HEADSHOT IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
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Lyle Jeffs is a brother of Warren Jeffs, who is considered the prophet of the religious sect and is serving a sentence of up to life in prison plus 20 years in Texas for illegally marrying and sexually abusing underage girls.

FLDS is based in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. It is an offshoot of the mainstream Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church, which renounced polygamy in 1890 and is not affiliated with the FLDS.

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Prosecutors allege that 11 FLDS leaders, including Lyle Jeffs, conspired to defraud the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, and conspired to commit money laundering.

Lyle Jeffs pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment in February 2016 and was released from jail on June 9, 2016 ahead of his October trial.

He fled house arrest a year ago by using olive oil to slip a GPS tracking bracelet off his ankle, according to the FBI. Cutting the band off would have triggered an alarm, the FBI said.

Warren Jeff's former mansion in Utah is being bought by the 65th of his 79 wives, Brielle Decker, who has said she hopes to make it a tourist attraction and home for people who have left the church.

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12 PHOTOS
Polygamous couples
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Polygamous couples
***EXCLUSIVE*** HERRIMAN, UT - OCTOBER 2004: A collect photograph of Alina (L), 35, Valerie (M), 34 and Vicki (R), 34 during October 2004 in Herriman, Uttah. Beautiful twin sisters Vicki and Valerie Darger are so close they even share their HUSBAND. The 42-year-old sisters are in a polygamous marriage with Joe, 43, who is also married to a third woman - their COUSIN Alina, 43. The Dargers, who are fundamentalist Mormons from Salt Lake City, Utah, live together in a large family home and have 24 children between them. Vicki, currently a stay-at-home mum, has been married to Joe, who runs a construction company, for 22 years, while Valerie joined the family as his third wife in 2000. Brave Joe was just 18 when he began dating Vicki and her cousin Alina at the SAME TIME, and married at them in a joint wedding ceremony in 1990. Each wife has their own bedroom, and Joe alternates between the three of them each evening. The three wives and their husband have co-written a book 'Love Times Three', and some of their adult children also contributed to the story. PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media via Getty Images
***EXCLUSIVE*** HERRIMAN, UT - FEBRUARY 1990: A collect wedding photograph of Vicki (L), Joe (R) and Alina's (R) marriage during February 1990 in Herriman, Uttah. Beautiful twin sisters Vicki and Valerie Darger are so close they even share their HUSBAND. The 42-year-old sisters are in a polygamous marriage with Joe, 43, who is also married to a third woman - their COUSIN Alina, 43. The Dargers, who are fundamentalist Mormons from Salt Lake City, Utah, live together in a large family home and have 24 children between them. Vicki, currently a stay-at-home mum, has been married to Joe, who runs a construction company, for 22 years, while Valerie joined the family as his third wife in 2000. Brave Joe was just 18 when he began dating Vicki and her cousin Alina at the SAME TIME, and married at them in a joint wedding ceremony in 1990. Each wife has their own bedroom, and Joe alternates between the three of them each evening. The three wives and their husband have co-written a book 'Love Times Three', and some of their adult children also contributed to the story. PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media via Getty Images
NKANDLA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 20: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) DJ Siyanda Tshabalala and his wife Millicent at the traditional wedding ceremony of President Jacob Zuma and Bongi Ngema on April 20, 2012 in Nkandla, South Africa. The president, who has been married six times, now has a total of four current wives. (Photo by City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The Dargers, a polygamist family, discuss their lifestyle on 'Good Morning America,' 9/13/11, airing the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, JOE DARGER, ALINA DARGER, VICKI DARGER, VALERIE DARGER
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 13: (L-R) Janelle Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown and Christine Brown from 'Sister Wives' attend a pre-show reception for the grand opening of 'Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas' at the New Tropicana Las Vegas April 13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for AEG Live)
PROVO, UNITED STATES: The five wives of polygamist Tom Green talk with reporters outside Fourth District Court after their husband was sentenced to two five-year concurrent prison terms 24 August 2001 in Provo, Utah. From left are: Shirley, Cari, Linda, Hannah and LeeAnn Green. AFP PHOTO/George FREY (Photo credit should read GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images)
***EXCLUSIVE*** HERRIMAN, UT - MARCH 04: Twin wives Vicki (L), 41 and Valerie (R), 41 pose for a photograph on March 04, 2012 in Herriman, Uttah. Beautiful twin sisters Vicki and Valerie Darger are so close they even share their HUSBAND. The 42-year-old sisters are in a polygamous marriage with Joe, 43, who is also married to a third woman - their COUSIN Alina, 43. The Dargers, who are fundamentalist Mormons from Salt Lake City, Utah, live together in a large family home and have 24 children between them. Vicki, currently a stay-at-home mum, has been married to Joe, who runs a construction company, for 22 years, while Valerie joined the family as his third wife in 2000. Brave Joe was just 18 when he began dating Vicki and her cousin Alina at the SAME TIME, and married at them in a joint wedding ceremony in 1990. Each wife has their own bedroom, and Joe alternates between the three of them each evening. The three wives and their husband have co-written a book 'Love Times Three', and some of their adult children also contributed to the story. PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media via Getty Images
NKANDLA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 20: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Jabu Duze, Dudu Dlamini, Dr. Siphiwe Mndaweni, Samke Dube and Zama Nyawose at the traditional wedding ceremony of President Jacob Zuma and Bongi Ngema on April 20, 2012 in Nkandla, South Africa. The president, who has been married six times, now has a total of four current wives. (Photo by Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
SAfrica-politics-Zuma-polygamy,FOCUS by Manqoba Nxumalo A happy Robert Chauke (50) with his 6 wives and some of his children at his home in a small compound outside Johannesburg on April 18, 2012 he has 26 children. All of them, from his 10-week-old baby to his 28-year-old son, live together. 'I love all my wives. I can't attribute this success in raising such a huge family to anything. I guess it is a blessing from God,' the 50-year-old said smiling, flanked by his six wives, aged from 25 to 44. Families like Chauke's are back in South Africa's public debate, as President Jacob Zuma prepares to marry his long-time fiancee Bongi Ngema this weekend, giving the country four 'first' ladies. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The Dargers, a polygamist family, discuss their lifestyle on 'Good Morning America,' 9/13/11, airing the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) JOE DARGER, ALINA DARGER, VICKI DARGER, VALERIE DARGER
HILDALE, UT - FEBRUARY 24. EXCLUSIVE: L -R back row: Joanna Dockstader (19) Crista Henderson (22) Amanda Lebaron (23) Front row L - R: Tamera Barlow (36) Carol Zitting (28) Charise Tipson (37) at The Merry Wives Cafe on February 24, 2010, in Hildale, Utah. The Merry Wives Cafe in Hildale, Utah, is a unique place where tourists mingle with Mormon families and have a taste of the plural lifestyle. It was set up by Charise Dutson, 37, two years ago to provide a diner for local people, and show a friendly face of polygamy to the world. From the outside it looks like a normal roadside diner but the walls inside are covered with old photographs of men with many wives and scores of children. Visitors to the area stare in disbelief when a man arrives with three women who all kiss him and a mini-bus full of children who take over the cafe. Many customers come from nearby Centennial Park, a modern polygamist community built in the 1980's by a break-away group from the more old-fashioned Mormon Fundamentalist towns of Hildale and Colorado City, two miles away. (Photo by James Ambler / Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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