News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 03, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

Federal-Tribal Takedown of Drug Operation on
Colorado River Indian Tribes Community

The operation snags three who pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine


NOV 03
-- PHOENIX – Melody Stevens, 37, of Parker, Ariz., and a member of the Colorado River
Indian Tribes, was sentenced yesterday to 60 months in federal prison by the Honorable G. Murray Snow after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.

For over a year the La Paz County Narcotics Task Force has worked undercover and in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration to target individuals with a known history of dealing methamphetamine out of their homes and places of work in the Colorado River Indian Tribe’s community.

“Methamphetamine is a destructive poison that can cause terrible harm to the quality of life in tribal communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall. “Side by side with our tribal and local law enforcement partners, we are holding meth dealers accountable and shutting down their distribution networks. Our job is not done. We will continue to work toward eliminating this threat.”

“Today we salute the fine work of the La Paz County Narcotics Task Force, and join with them and our other law enforcement partners in the Colorado River Indian Tribes community to combat illegal drug dealings on tribal lands.” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “Meth has had a devastating impact in Arizona’s rural and tribal communities. We will not allow Indian country to be a safe haven for drug dealers.”

“We are satisfied and encouraged that what we have accomplished with our "Alice in Wonderland" drug operation on the Colorado River Indian Reservation worked and will continue to be beneficial in combating the introduction and sale of illicit drugs within the Colorado River Indian Reservation,” said Richard M. Armstrong, Chief of Police of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Stevens, already a convicted felon, was working with a co-conspirator when she sold 12.7 grams of “actual” methamphetamine to a confidential informant for $600. “Actual” methamphetamine refers to a high level of purity of the drug.

In June 2010, Stevens’ roommate Clorinda Nopah, 61, of Parker, Ariz. and also a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, was convicted and sentenced on federal charges of possessing “actual” methamphetamine with the intent to distribute for different deals on different dates. The Honorable Earl H. Carroll sentenced Nopah to 60 months in federal prison for selling methamphetamine three times on the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation.

On October 7, 2010, Rosie Cruz Leivas, 32, of Parker, Ariz. and a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, pleaded guilty to the federal crime of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. Leivas sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant while she was at work at the tribe’s Farms Office in Poston, Ariz. Leivas sold the buyer 18.8 grams of actual methamphetamine for $1400. Leivas faces a maximum term of 40 years in prison. The Honorable David G. Campbell will sentence Leivas on December 20, 2010.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the La Paz County Narcotics Task Force, the Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The prosecution is being handled by Jennifer E. Green, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

 

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