July 13, 2008
Colorado FLDS Site Searched
By Ben Winslow Deseret News
A Colorado sheriff used a search warrant to accompany zoning officials on a search of property tied to the Fundamentalist LDS Church.
Custer County Sheriff Fred Jobe obtained the warrant after FLDS members initially denied them entry to the property near Westcliffe, Colo., on July 3. Custer County zoning director Jackie Hobby told the Deseret News she was investigating a zoning complaint about property owned by a member of the polygamous sect.
"We have to follow up on complaints," she said Friday.
Hobby said she had concerns about venturing onto the property alone and asked to have a police escort.
"They (the FLDS) said no, I could come by myself but I couldn't bring the cops in," she said.
Jobe obtained a warrant that allowed him and another deputy to escort Hobby onto the property, she said. Jobe didn't return a call seeking comment on Friday, but he told Westcliffe's Wet Mountain Tribune newspaper the warrant did not allow them to search anything for signs of criminal activity.
"Had we seen any criminal activity in plain sight we could have taken action. But that was not the case. We saw no criminal activity," he told the newspaper.
Hobby described her inspection as uneventful, but she cited the 35-acre property owner for a few violations, including some un- permitted buildings and too many connections on a septic system.
The Deseret News reported in April about a number of homes in eastern Colorado tied to FLDS members. In a lawsuit, a man excommunicated from the FLDS Church by its leader, Warren Jeffs, claimed that he knew of homes in Westcliffe, Florence and Williamsburg. In the lawsuit, Wendell Musser said he acted as a caretaker for several of Jeffs' wives, living in secret homes there.
An FLDS spokesman has said they are merely homes in a community.
E-mail: [email protected]
(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.