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Is Warren Jeffs' polygamist cult trying to move to Minnesota?

Reports say Jeffs' brother has purchased a large property in rural Cook County.

Though Warren Jeffs — infamous former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) — is in prison, a large property sale in Cook County has given rise to concerns his brother may be trying to bring the cult to Minnesota.

Seth Jeffs, himself a leader of the church and a former convict, recently bought 40 acres of land west of Grand Marais, a KARE 11 report found. 

The station says this has raised concerns he and his followers may try to start a "religious colony" there.

Fueling such concerns are the building permits that were approved for the property last month. 

As WTIP radio reports, they include one for a 900-ft. driveway and one for a 6,000 sq. ft. building — which is considered, "at least in part, an interior living unit."

The station notes that Jeffs has been living in a cabin in the area.

According to the Star Tribune, local authorities have addressed the concerns about Jeffs and his church, with the Cook County sheriff saying his office is "keenly aware" of Jeffs' past. 

However, the paper notes, the sheriff's office also said deputies would not "invade (Jeffs') personal life" as long as he's not breaking any laws on the property.  

About Jeffs' past

As noted, Seth Jeffs is a brother of Warren Jeffs, who in 2007 was convicted of sexually assaulting young girls in his church.  He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. 

His church, known as FLDS, broke off from mainstream Mormonism in 1898 to continue practicing polygamy. Critics of the church say the sect also forces underage females into marriages with older men — practices that led to the downfall of Jeffs and increased scrutiny of his group. 

Seth himself has a history of legal troubles, much of it related to FLDS. 

As Patheos notes, he's being sued for allegedly participating in the church's ritual sex abuse, and is said to be in hiding from that lawsuit.

He was also tried over a food stamp abuse scheme that authorities said benefited FLDS. 

Since then, he has reportedly been leading a chapter of the church on a compound in South Dakota

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