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UPDATED: No raid at Alamo compound

Posted: December 3, 2008 5:52 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2008 10:47 p.m.

Arkansas child welfare officials seized six more children Wednesday from the ministries of an evangelist who also has a compound in Saugus.

With Wednesday's operation, Arkansas state officials have seized 32 children associated with the ministries of jailed evangelist Tony Alamo.

Alamo, 74, faces federal charges in Arkansas that he took children across state lines for sex.

Accompanied by Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies, officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Family and Children Services visited the Alamo compound in Saugus on Wednesday during what child services officials called a referrals-based visit, said Laura Grasmehr, spokeswoman for the department.

"There were no kids living there and no one was taken into custody," Grasmehr said. "It wasn't a raid. We don't raid compounds."

"The FBI did not coordinate or participate in Wednesday morning's activity at the (Saugus) Alamo compound," said Laura Eimiller, Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.

Alamo was arrested Sept. 25 in Arizona and accused of knowingly transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Arkansas unsealed court documents from the federal investigation of Alamo.

The FBI wouldn't comment on the contents of the documents, but they may have prompted child services to search the compound in Arkansas, Eimiller said.

Grasmehr said she didn't know if documents released Tuesday played any role in the decision to search the compound. Grasmehr also did not know what was in the documents, she said.

Since establishing his ministries in Arkansas, Alamo has been a controversial and flamboyant figure.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes the ministry as a cult that rails against homosexuals, Roman Catholics and the government.

Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison after the U.S. tax agency said he owed the government $7.9 million.

Alamo faces trial in February on the 10 federal child-abuse charges in Arkansas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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