Texas law authorities seized polygamist Warren Jeffs‘ 1,600-acre ranch, ordering the handful of sect members who still lived at the property to pack up their belongings and leave.
The state obtained a final judgment of forfeiture on the property in early January — nearly two years after the attorney general’s office first filed its request, CNN reported.
State officials raided the property in 2008, after receiving telephone tips that children at the ranch were being abused and raped. Police removed hundred of children, but they were returned after the state’s highest court ruled authorities had no legal basis to take them.
Jeffs, meanwhile, was convicted in 2011 of sexual assault against two girls, ages 12 and 15, and sentenced to life in jail.
His Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sect followers have maintained that no abuse took place. At least eight of them still lived at the ranch, CNN said.
Police and state authorities said they are treating their evictions from the property with care.
“Law enforcement personnel are working with the occupants of the ranch to take all reasonable actions to assist with their departure of the property, to preserve the property and to successfully execute the court order,” The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement reported by CNN.