Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Drug and Violent Crime Sweep Nets Nearly 30 on and Around the Yavapai-Apache Nation

PHOENIX, AZ—Following a coordinated federal, tribal, and state investigation into drug trafficking and related violent crime on and near the Yavapai-Apache Indian Nation, 22 individuals are under indictment on federal charges with another five facing tribal criminal charges and two are facing state charges. Almost all of the individuals charged were taken into custody over the past several days or were already in local custody on other charges. Three remain fugitives.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Arizona Safe Streets Task Force, the Yavapai County Drug Task Force, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Police Department led this coordinated enforcement action. They received significant operational assistance from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office; the Cottonwood Police Department; the Camp Verde Marshals Office; Arizona Department of Public Safety; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Coconino County METRO Drug Task Force.
“The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to support community impact investigations to reduce violent crime and drug activity both on and off the reservations,” said U.S Attorney John S. Leonardo. “I commend the numerous federal, local, and tribal agencies for their effective cooperation.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas G. Price, Phoenix Division, stated, “The FBI is committed to enforcing federal laws in Indian Country. These charges are the result of a coordinated effort by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to fight violent crime and drug matters. The goal of this investigative operation is a positive impact on the community by reducing violent crime and the availability of illegal drugs. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat criminal activity and improve the quality of life in Indian Country.”
“Methamphetamine has plagued our community for years,” said Yavapai Apache Nation Vice Chairman Robert Jackson, Sr. “Addressing this issue as an independent law enforcement agency has been ongoing and overwhelming. The Yavapai-Apache Police Department and prosecutors have been fortunate to work in full cooperation with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this proactive investigation since fall 2012, resulting in one of the largest single actions against individuals who have infiltrated our community with meth. We appreciate the cooperative approach between all law enforcement agencies, which has made one more of our Verde Valley communities a safer place for our youth, elders, and community members.”
Convictions for the drug offenses currently charged, which involve trafficking of methamphetamine and marijuana, carry penalties up to 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines. Assault and related charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years to life in prison, as well as maximum fines of $250,000.
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation in this case is ongoing, and additional charges and arrests are anticipated.

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