Did he really deserve to be in the top ten?
Yesterday, police captured Warren Jeffs, one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives, after a routine traffic stop.
A Koresh-like cult leader of a splinter Mormon sect, Jeffs leads an estimated 10,000 polygamist followers. According to the FBI web site, Jeffs "IS WANTED FOR THE ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A MINOR IN 2002. HE IS ALSO WANTED FOR ONE COUNT OF CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH A MINOR IN 2002. THE ALLEGED OFFENSES TOOK PLACE IN THE VICINITY OF COLORADO CITY, ARIZONA. ADDITIONALLY, JEFFS IS WANTED FOR RAPE AS AN ACCOMPLICE IN UTAH."
There is no doubt that Jeffs' role in marrying underage girls to his followers is repugnant, illegal, and maybe in some cases done under threat of violence.
But still, does this guy really deserve to be in the ten MOST wanted fugitives in the country?
Let's look at the other nine:
Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco, wanted for a first-degree triple homicide.
Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, wanted for importing "multiple tons of cocaine", is "reputedly one of the principle leaders of the Colombian North Valley Drug Cartel...believed to be the most powerful and violent drug trafficking organization in Colombia."
Victor Manuel Gerena, wanted for "armed robbery of approximately $7 million from a security company."
Richard Steve Goldberg, wanted for "engaging in sexual activities with several female children under the age of 10" and allegedly producing videos of these acts.
James J. Bulger, wanted for 18 counts of murder, as well as many other crimes related to his "leadership of an organized crime group that allegedly controlled extortion, drug deals, and other illegal activities in the Boston area."
Robert William Fisher, wanted for "killing his wife and two young children and then blowing up the house in which they all lived."
Glen Steward Godwin, wanted for escape from Folsom State Prison almost 20 years ago where he was serving a sentence for murder. He is also believed to have murdered another inmate while in prison in Mexico.
Donald Eugene Webb, wanted for the "murder of a police chief in Pennsylvania who was whot twice at close range after being brutally beaten about the head and face with a blunt instrument." The 75-year old Webb "is considered a career criminal and master of assumed identities, specializes in the burglary of jewelry stores."
And last but not least on the Ten Most Wanted list is Usama Bin Laden, officially wanted for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, but obviously also responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Does Jeffs belong on a list with guys like this? I think not. Now, the FBI did have a vacancy on the list for a month after the capture of one Michael Paul Astorga in April.
But was there really no muderer, armed robber, or someone who posed a more serious threat to life and limb than this guy who was essentially doing unsavory things within a community that supported his behavior? (Yes, I understand there were children involved and government has an obligation there, but still there is no way Jeffs was in the ten most dangerous people in America.)
Anyway, I'm glad Jeffs has been caught. It will be interesting to see what state gets to prosecute him and whether he'll actually be convicted of any of the most serious charges against him. My guess is that it's not much better than 50/50. But then I live near Boulder, so I don't have much faith in District Attorneys these days.
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