KINGMAN, Ariz. — More than two dozen law enforcement and support personnel served six search warrants at fire stations and residences Tuesday in the border communities of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah.
Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said the warrants were served simultaneously at 6:30 a.m.
Three fire stations in Colorado City were searched as well as another in Hildale. Sheahan said authorities also searched the homes of Colorado City Manager David Darger and Fire Chief Jake Barlow.
“We’re looking for evidence of misuse of public funds as well as fraudulent schemes in the city government and the fire department,” the sheriff said. “We’re looking for financial records, paper records and also computer records.”
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said officers also were looking for receipts and other evidence involving misuse of municipal credit cards. Smith said computer forensics experts from the Arizona attorney general’s office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety were busy downloading files and information from sophisticated computers.
Smith said the computers are being left in place rather than seized. He said authorities would be spending the night because the forensic computer work was to continue today .
Sheahan said there was little resistance during the morning raids, but he said officers did have to force their way into one of the homes as its occupants refused to open the doors.
No one was taken into custody initially. “I don’t anticipate anybody’s going to be arrested today, but down the road there’s a good possibility,” Sheahan said.
Smith declined comment regarding the nature of the investigation and the likelihood of indictments and arrests.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard offered limited comment after his gubernatorial campaign stop in Kingman on Tuesday.
In Arizona, Goddard and Smith have shared resources to prosecute sex offenses alleged to have occurred through the assignment of underage girls to male adults. Polygamy is commonly practiced in the border communities as endorsed by the predominant church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Goddard said prior and present investigations and prosecutions in Colorado City have nothing to do with religious persecution.
“This is about the rule of law,” Goddard said. “This is about making sure that officials and folks in positions of power in Colorado City follow the law like they have to in every other community in the country.”