News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2006

For Information Contact
Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

34 Individuals Charged with Federal Drug Crimes on the Navajo Nation
Results of a Joint Nation and Federal Agency Undercover Investigation into Methamphetamine Dealing

United States Attorney Paul K. Charlton, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Kenneth Hancock, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Douglas Hebert, Drug Enforcement Administration, announce the federal charging of thirty-four (34) individuals for the distribution and/or possession of methamphetamine on the Navajo Nation. Speaking from the Federal Courthouse in Flagstaff, Arizona, United States Attorney Paul K. Charlton and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, accompanied by officials of the FBI, the DEA and Officers of the Navajo Division of Public Safety, announced that the arrests were the result of a six-month joint undercover operation.

United States Attorney Paul K. Charlton stated “Like rural America, Indian Country is experiencing an increased threat of methamphetamine being introduced into their communities. The Navajo Nation is to be commended in responding to this threat and the Navajo tribal and federal law enforcement agencies represented here are to be congratulated on this successful joint undercover investigation. We are united on this issue and we will continue to work toward eradicating this threat.”

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley stated “The Navajo Nation takes the threat of methamphetamine seriously. We will continue to use whatever resources are available to us to target those who bring illegal drugs onto the Nation. I commend the personal commitment of each of the police officers involved who worked day and night on this mission.” Over twelve police officers from several of the Navajo Nation’s Police Districts were involved in the undercover investigation and arrests including, Chinle, Dilcon, Kayenta, Tuba City and Window Rock.

“Methamphetamine is a significant threat to the tribal communities, and it is impacting the quality of life on the reservations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “DEA is fighting meth like never before. Side by side with our courageous tribal and federal law enforcement partners, we are holding meth dealers accountable, seizing their profits and shutting down their distribution network. This operation puts us one step closer to our goal of eliminating this threat and protecting tribal communities from the harmful effects meth leaves behind.”

John E. Lewis, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Phoenix Division, stated, “The FBI enjoys a strong relationship with the Navajo Department of Law Enforcement in this collaborative effort with the Arizona Safe Trails Task Force to ensure agencies maximize resources to attack the root causes of violent crime on the Navajo Nation. The FBI is also appreciative of the U S Attorney’s office for their proactive efforts in not only prosecuting these crimes, but making these cases a priority and recognizing the significant impact of methamphetamine in Indian Country.”

Last summer, U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton invited the 21 Arizona Indian tribal police chiefs and the Arizona federal law enforcement agencies to a round table discussion on how to collectively address the methamphetamine problem confronting their communities. At that meeting the respective Special Agents in Charge of the DEA, the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement committed their offices to cooperate and provide assistance to the tribal police departments requesting their assistance. As a result, an Arizona Indian Country Methamphetamine Eradication Proposal was developed. Among the goals of the Arizona Indian Country Methamphetamine Eradication Proposal are to:

  • Send a message that dealing methamphetamine in Indian Country amounts to long federal prison sentences;

  • Focus limited resources on individuals who constitute the greatest threat to Indian tribal communities.

  • Prosecute all readily provable methamphetamine felony crimes against targets who have a significant negative impact in their communities; and

  • Encourage Indian tribes to use their limited judicial systems and resources to prosecute individual methamphetamine possession cases in their tribal courts.

The proposal was presented in July, 2005 to the 21 Arizona Indian Tribes, the FBI, BIA and DEA. Since then, the Navajo Nation and several Arizona Indian tribes have actively joined with federal law enforcement agencies to implement the methamphetamine eradication initiative.

Those charged under the Navajo Nation methamphetamine initiative include:

NAME, AGE, CHARGE

Richard Chee Allen 36 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC §841(a)(1))

Nathan Gene Begaye 19 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1))

Randall Gene Begaye 18 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1))

William Kee Begay 22 -Conspiracy to Possess w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 846); -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting (21 USC §§ 841(a)(1) & 841(b)(1)( C); -Forfeiture Allegation (21 USC § 853)

Roderick Ben 42 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844(a)

Danny Chee 39 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1))

Randy Claw 40 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine(21 USC.§§ 841(a)(1) and 21 USC § 841 (b)(1)( C)

Eugenia Dahozy 33 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844(a))

Donovan Fulton 22 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844(a))

Dean Alan Greene 45 -Conspiracy to Possess w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 846) -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21USC §§ 841 (a)(1) & 841(b)(1)( C) -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine & Aiding and Abetting 21 USC §§ 841(a)(1); 841(b)(1)( C) -Forfeiture Allegation (21 USC § 853)

Russell Griswold, Jr. 41 -Conspiracy to Possess w/Intent to Distribute Actual Methamphetamine (21 USC § 846) -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC §§ 841 (a)(1) & 841(b)(1)( C), Aiding and Abetting (18 USC § 2) -Forfeiture Allegation (21 USC § 853)

Phoebe Heyde 44 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1))

Jonathan Huskon -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC §844(a))

Victoria Mike 20 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844(a)) -Knowing Possession of a Firearm by an Unlawful User (18 USC § 922g(3))

Rojaer Nelson 22 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine (21 USC § 844(a)

Angelita Price 19 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) 21 USC § 844(a))

Norman Roldan 43 -Conspiracy to Possess w/Intent to Distribute Actual Methamphetamine (21 USC § 846); -Possession with the Intent to Distribute Actual Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting (21 USC §§ 841(a)(1) & 841(b)(1)( C) & 18 USC § 2) -Forfeiture Allegation (21 USC § 853)

Pilar Secody 20 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1)) -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844)

Donovan Lyle Segodi 31 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1)) -Possession of a Firearm by an Unlawful User (18 USC 922g(3))

William Lee Tom 28 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) (21 USC § 844(a))

Helen Whitesheep 68 -Possession w/Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (21 USC § 841(a)(1))

Pat Yellowhair 47 -Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana) (21 USC § 844(a))

Twenty-two (22) individuals were arrested on Tuesday, July 27th and made their initial appearances in U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff. Six (6) individuals have not been located.

As part of the joint federal and Navajo Nation methamphetamine eradication initiative, charges were filed earlier this year on the following individuals:

  • Effie Nezzie, 81, her daughter Marjorie R. Conley, 63 and Frederica Ann Conley, 39 of Dilkon, Arizona. Nezzie was charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. Marjorie Conley and Frederica Ann Conley were each separately charged with Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. They each entered not guilty pleas to the charges and are pending trial;

  • Theresa Mae Charley, 41, of Lupton, Arizona was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. She is awaiting trial on this charge;

  • Robert William Dicken was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine After a Prior Conviction and Possession of a Firearm by Unlawful User/Addict of a Controlled Substance. He is awaiting trial;

  • Stephen Andrew Day was sentenced on June 19, 2006 to 100 months in federal custody for Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine on the Navajo Indian reservation. The federal district court judge who sentenced Day imposed an enhanced sentence because he possessed a weapon during a drug transaction.

The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of Conspiracy to Possess w/Intent to Distribute Actual Methamphetamine pursuant to Title 21 U.S.C. § 846 is 20 years in federal custody and/or a $1,000,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of Possession with the Intent to Distribute Actual Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting pursuant to 21 USC §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)( C) is 20 years in federal custody and/or $1,000,000. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of Possession of a Controlled Substance is not more than 1 year in federal custody and/or a $1,000 fine or both. The Forfeiture allegations pursuant to 21 USC Section 853 provide a process whereby property derived from proceeds obtained from a drug violation or property used to commit such violations are subject to forfeiture.

The United States Attorney emphasized that a grand jury indictment and a federal criminal complaint are 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 was conducted by the Navajo Division of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The prosecution is being handled by Joseph Lodge, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Flagstaff and Kim Hare, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Phoenix.