October 28, 2014
Contact: Erica C. Curry
Phone Number: (602) 664-5600
17 Arrested In Tuba City Drug Sweep
PHOENIX - Following a coordinated federal, tribal and state task force investigation into drug trafficking on the Navajo Nation, 20 individuals have been charged with federal drug trafficking crimes. Five remain fugitives. In addition to the 15 arrested on drug trafficking charges, two individuals were arrested for alleged violations of the terms of their pretrial release having been arrested in May on assault-related charges, along with 10 other individuals during the Tuba City violent offender initiative-the first phase of this community impact initiative.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Coconino County METRO Drug Task Force led this enforcement action, with substantial assistance from the United States Marshals Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
United States Attorney John S. Leonardo said, “This joint investigation is an example of the impact that federal, state and tribal law enforcement agencies can have in disrupting drug trafficking activity in Indian Country when they coordinate their resources.”
Navajo Nation Captain Harry Sombrero, who currently serves as Director of Criminal Investigations, also said, “The undercover drug investigation was conducted over a period of months and involved hundreds of hours of team investigative work. It is believed that these arrests will have a significant impact on the local drug trafficking network. The credit goes to the field investigators for their commitment, dedication and hard work to keep the community safe.”
Convictions for the drug offenses currently charged, which involve trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine, carry penalties up to 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines.
Although these individuals have been charged with federal crimes by way of Complaint or Indictment, these charging documents are simply methods by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raise 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 prosecution is being handled byDimitra H. Sampson of Phoenix and Adam Zickerman of Flagstaff, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona.