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Polygamist group ranch in Texas is seized by US agents

The secluded Texas ranch where followers of imprisoned polygamist Warren Jeffs lived in near isolation has been seized by state agents, nearly six years after the FBI raided the property and removed hundreds of children amid child sex allegations.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said its agents took possession of the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado.

In a statement, the DPS said only eight adults were still living on the west Texas property and they agreed to leave after meeting agents. Authorities helped them vacate the ranch.

Jeffs is serving life in prison after being convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two girls he took as child brides. In 2005 he was included on the FBI's most wanted fugitives list

The ranch was owned by his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose roughly 10,000 followers believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

They see Jeffs as God's spokesman on Earth.

The state asked a judge to allow the forfeiture, alleging that FLDS leaders financed a $1.1 million purchase of the land in 2003 through money laundering. It also cited sexual assaults committed on the property.

Under Texas law, ­authorities can seize ­property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct.

A judge granted the state's request in January.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

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