SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Three brothers, Warren, Seth and Lyle Jeffs, all have ties of some sort to South Dakota. This is in the form of their roles in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a fringe off-branch of the Mormon church.
On June 15, 2017, Lyle Jeffs, who was on the run from authorities, was arrested by the FBI in Yankton, where he had been living out of his car. Lyle had been on the run for around a year, evading charges of defrauding the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
WATCH: Residents of the southern Black Hills where the FLDS had a compound voiced their reaction to Seth’s arrest.
Outside of his fugitive identity, Lyle also held another distinction; a leader within the FLDS, in which he held the title of Bishop. He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison in 2017 and was released in March of 2021.
Lyle is not the only Jeffs brother to feel freedom after a stint behind bars. Their father, Rulon Jeffs, is believed to have fathered as many as 60 children.
Seth Jeffs, the youngest of the three discussed in this article, was also arrested in connection to the SNAP fraud in 2016.
According to the Custer County Sheriff at the time, Seth Jeffs had been traveling on the highway with several women at the time of his arrest, which was done after awaiting the opportunity to make the arrest away from the Pringle compound where the group was based. At the time, Seth was acting as the leader of the Black Hills compound.
WATCH: Then-Sheriff Rick Wheeler talked KELOLAND News through the events of the arrest.
While he spent time in jail, a total of six months, he took a plea deal and was able to avoid further time behind bars. Following his release, Emerald Industries, LLC, a company associated with Seth, purchased 40 acres of land in a remote area of northeastern Minnesota, near the town of Grand Marais.
In 2019 a cease and desist order was filed against the company, following wetland violations found by officials. Seth had applied in 2018 for a permit to build a 5,760-square-foot building on the Minnesota land.
The eldest of the three brothers, Warren Jeffs, is likely the most notorious.
Warren is currently in the midst of a life sentence at Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas. He was charged and found guilty of sexual assault of a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child, stemming from his abuse of children he considered his brides.
Prior to his arrest, Warren had appeared on the FBI 10 most-wanted fugitives list.