The Amish beard-theft ring whose crimes shocked the world last October is now in police custody after the FBI raided their Ohio compound and arrested seven men in connection with the attacks. Hate crime charges have been filed.

The men arrested belong to a breakaway sect "with some of the attributes of a cult," the LA Times reports. Their controlling leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., left the Amish community of Ohio in 1995 to establish his own group, and ordered the others to break into Amish homes at night and cut off the beards of men and hair of women, none of which is supposed to be cut after marriage, according to religious law. One victim said he would rather have been "beaten black and blue than to suffer the disfigurement and humiliation of having his hair removed." Mullet Sr. claims the assaults were an act of retribution against the Amish community for having shunned his sect.

Among the arrested were Mullet Sr., his three sons Johnny, Daniel and Lester, his son-in-law Emanuel Schrock, and two other sect members, Levi and Eli Miller. They face up to life in prison if convicted. [LAT, Photo: From left: Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet, Daniel Mullet, Levi Miller and Eli Miller wait to make their pleas Oct. 19 in Holmes County Municipal Court in Millersburg, Ohio. Credit: Mike Schenck / Wooster Daily Record]