Arresting officer almost let Warren Jeffs get away, former trooper claims

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SALT LAKE CITY — The capture of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in 2006 caught the attention of the world. It involved cash, cars, disguises and a hero highway patrol trooper from Nevada.

But now a new story is being told. It claims Jeffs, who was one of the FBI's most wanted, almost got away that night in Las Vegas.

When Nevada narcotics officer Eddie Dutchover arrested Warren Jeffs, he told his story over and over.

"I will never forget the look on his face, and him making eye contact with me," Dutchover said at the time.

He was even honored by the State of Nevada. But retired trooper Rosell Owens sayid on that night in August 2006, Dutchover almost let Warren Jeffs get away.

"He never tried to secure the guy," Owens said. "Never had his weapon out and didn't seem to be concerned about anything but searching the vehicle for narcotics. He had no idea Warren Jeffs was there in his presence."

"I asked him all the basic questions: Who is this guy? What'd you get him for? What do you think? Did you run him?"

Owens said Dutchover told him the system was down.

"We found out he did not have access to that data bank, that he couldn't run it. He was not telling the truth," Owens said.

It was years before Owens and his colleagues learned why Dutchover hadn't run Jeffs through the national database.

We found out he did not have access to that data bank, that he couldn't run it.

–Rosell Owens

His access had been denied because of an incident years prior, when Dutchover allegedly tried to smuggle drugs across the U.S. border. He was never charged, but he never disclosed that incident on his application with the Nevada Highway Patrol. It eventually led to his firing.

"People had knowledge of his wrongdoing. People had knowledge of his unethical practices. They ignored it. They ignored it until they wanted to fire him," Owens said.

Through his attorney, Dutchover claims he did not remember being stopped at the border with illegal drugs when he filled out his highway patrol application.

His appeal is in front of the Nevada state supreme court. He is currently working as a trooper, patrolling I-15 looking for people transporting drugs.


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