Evangelist compound raided in child porn case

FOUKE, AR The raid at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries south of Texarkana started an hour before sunset. Armed guards regularly patrol the ministry headquarters, but there was apparently no resistance as agents moved in.

"I have not heard of any shots fired," state police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

U.S. Attorney Bob Balfe said before the raid that he expected an arrest warrant would be issued later for Alamo. It wasn't known whether he was present during the raid.

Shortly after the raid began, a sport-utility vehicle hauling a trailer backed up to the ministry building's front door. FBI vehicles blocked off a dead-end road.

A Fouke School District bus also arrived and pulled up near 12 unmarked vans, SUVs and sedans parked alongside the low-slung ministry headquarters along U.S. 71 just inside the city limits of tiny Fouke.

Sadler said a search would be conducted at the compound headquarters and also at Alamo's home nearby.

A helicopter circled overhead, and onlookers stopped along the two-lane highway to watch the raid.

Alamo's church is in a single-story building that looks like a strip mall. A white cross stands atop the structure, with a small steeple to the right side.

Alamo was once accused in California of directing the beating of a church member's 11-year-old son. In 1994, he was sentenced to six years in prison on tax evasion charges filed in Memphis, Tenn.

The judge in the tax case ordered him held pending sentencing after prosecutors argued that the evangelist was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation. U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla said he was concerned over "the very great control Mr. Alamo has over a number of people."

      Quick headlines | 100 most recent national stories | News alerts
              Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.