6:45 p.m. Friday, April 18, 2014
Workers have stayed busy moving equipment and personal possessions off of the YFZ Ranch ever since Wednesday when Texas authorities served residents there with papers demanding that they vacate the 1,691-acre property.
Law enforcement officers paid a return visit to the ranch today where they met with residents.
Texas Ranger Sergeant Nick Hanna, Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran, Chief Deputy George Arispe and Deputy Jason Chatham spent a couple of hours on the property Friday afternoon.
Sheriff Doran stated later that the officers met with two YFZ Ranch residents and confirmed that they were indeed removing equipment and possessions.
“Things seem to be progressing well,” Doran said after leaving the ranch. “They are complying with the court order and we are allowing them time to do that.”
Doran noted that the court order requires law enforcement officials to inventory real property and to ensure that it is not being damaged. He said that while they were on the property Friday the lawmen toured the ranch and found things to be in order..
The sheriff said he saw nothing to contradict statements made by ranch residents that there are only eight adults on the property.
“We saw no children nor any evidence that children have been there recently,” Doran said.
He also refuted reports from Hildale, Utah that large numbers of people were leaving the YFZ Ranch and returning to the Utah/Arizona border town placing a strain on the infrastructure there.
“There is no mass exodus from the YFZ Ranch because there has not been a large number of people there for quite some time,” Doran added.
The sheriff noted that in addition to the eight individuals living at the property, a number of men had been working at the “lay down yard” adjacent to County Road 300. Equipment removed from the ranch is being taken to the small yard and prepared for shipment to another location, Doran said.
The sheriff would not say exactly how long YFZ Ranch residents will have to remove equipment and personal property.
In accordance with Judge Barbara Walther’s order, the gates leading to the ranch must remain open. Access to the property is restricted, however, as Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are stationed near the county road and are allowing only authorized personnel to enter.
Doran concluded by saying that state and local officials will be watching as workers continue to remove equipment and personal possessions from the ranch.
Updated 3:00 p.m. 04/17/2014
Law enforcement officers served a "Demand For Possession" Wednesday to residents of the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado. The action comes after the State of Texas won ownership of the 1,691-acre ranch through a seizure/forfeiture lawsuit on January 6, 2014. A writ of possession and a demand for possession were originally issued and filed at the Schleicher County Courthouse on March 6th.
51st District Judge Barbara Walther issued a default judgement on behalf of the state when no one representing the ranch or any of the trusts that claimed ownership of the property responded to the lawsuit.
The Success has learned that plans to serve the documents in March were delayed. So far, no reason for the delay has been revealed.
Thursday morning, the gates to the YFZ Ranch were open and being guarded by Texas DPS officers.
A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety released the following statement shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014.
"On January 6, 2014, the State of Texas obtained a final judgment of forfeiture from the 51st Judicial District Court, which directed the State to take possession of the forfeited property, known as the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. The final judgment was the result of the Attorney General’s Office filing for the seizure of this property in 2012.
"At approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, the Schleicher County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety met with current residents of the property and provided them with copies of the court orders applicable to the forfeiture – the residents have agreed to vacate the property.
"Law enforcement personnel are working with the occupants of the ranch to take all reasonable actions to assist with their departure of the property, to preserve the property, and to successfully execute the court order.
"Continuing activities on the property will include obtaining a court-ordered inventory of real property and protecting the remaining assets."
This is an ongoing story. The Eldorado Success will post updates to this website as more information becomes available.
The Schleicher County ISD board of trustees signaled their approval Monday night for increasing the number of first grade classes from three to four when school begins next August.
Also on the academic front, the board voted to restrict the number of extracurricular absences that high school students may incur beginning with the next school year.
More than a dozen athletes from Eldorado High School fared well enough at the District 8-1A Track Meet in Winters on Thursday, April 10th, to earn themselves a trip to the Area Meet this week in Wink.
Anyone placing in the top four spots in any given event earned a trip to Area.
The Eldorado Eagles baseball team split a pair of games last week, but managed to hang on to a share of the lead in district.
The Eagles defeated Menard 11-6 on Tuesday, April 8th in Menard after surging with four runs in the third inning and following up with a three-run fourth inning.