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Mueller questions need for panel on FLDS, says FBI won't take lead

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 9:45 a.m. MDT

Director Robert Mueller holds a news conference in the FBI's Salt Lake Field Office.  (Ashley Lowery, Deseret News) Director Robert Mueller holds a news conference in the FBI's Salt Lake Field Office. (Ashley Lowery, Deseret News)
FBI Director Robert Mueller says his agency will not take the lead in investigating polygamist groups but will rather support any local law enforcement effort if asked to.
Speaking to reporters during a brief trip to the FBI's Salt Lake Field Office, Mueller said the FBI's focus remains on counterterrorism, child exploitation and financial fraud cases — but polygamy was not among those priorities.
At a time when federal and state law enforcers from several states, including Utah, have converged in Las Vegas to form a task force on polygamy, Mueller on Wednesday said he did not see the need for it.
"I'm not sure a task force is necessary," Mueller said. With that said, Mueller said the FBI will continue to assist state and local law enforcement in any polygamy-related investigation if asked to.
When asked if the FBI has any current investigations into polygamist groups, Mueller said he could not comment on any ongoing investigations.
Mueller did praise the Salt Lake Field Office for breaking up a variety of criminal enterprises, including its success in dismantling the violent street gang known at the Tiny Oriental Posse. More than 12 members of the gang recently entered guilty pleas in federal court under charges of racketeering.


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