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TRIBAL JUSTICE NEWS
Feb. 17, 2012
 

PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVES IN INDIAN COUNTRY

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER’S TASK FORCE EXAMINES CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO VIOLENCE IN RURAL AND TRIBAL COMMUNITIES

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence held a public hearing on Jan 31, 2012, in Albuquerque, N.M., on the challenges rural and tribal communities face in preventing children’s exposure to violence. In a recent survey of youth in New Mexico by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent reported they were bullied on school property and almost 10 percent experienced dating violence. Nearly 16 percent seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months before the survey.

“Protecting our nation’s children and young people from violence is a responsibility that every American shares.  For today’s Justice Department, this work is one of most important, and most urgent, priorities,” said Attorney General Holder. “That’s why this task force represents a powerful and promising step forward.  It brings a wealth of experience and talent together to focus on one of the greatest public safety epidemics of our time: children’s exposure to violence.”               

“Our children are exposed to far more violence than we realize,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, who delivered opening remarks at today’s hearing. “The task force will enhance how we work together to serve our children in cities and towns, on reservations and in rural areas throughout the nation.”

Speakers at today’s hearing at the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers also included task force co-chairs Joe Torre, chairman of the board of the Joe Torre Safe at Home® Foundation, and Robert Listenbee Jr., chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as other task force members and Albuquerque area residents who have experienced or witnessed family, community and other types of violence.    

“Rural and tribal communities face unusual challenges, such as lack of resources or access to services, that complicate efforts to reduce the impact of violence on children,” said task force member Sarah Deer, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and an assistant professor at William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul Minn. “This hearing in Albuquerque will help the task force understand these unique challenges and guide us toward solutions.”

The task force is comprised of 13 leading experts including practitioners, child and family advocates, academic experts and licensed clinicians. The full list of task force members is located at: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/tf-members.html.

The task force held its first hearing in Baltimore in November 2011, and will hold two additional hearings this spring in Miami and Detroit. Details on past and future hearings are available on the Defending Childhood website: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood.

The task force is part of the attorney general’s Defending Childhood Initiative and is staffed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), a nonprofit research and consulting agency.

About the Defending Childhood Initiative and the Task Force

For more information about Attorney General Holder’s Defending Childhood initiative, the Defending Childhood Task Force and upcoming hearings, please visit www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood and www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/task-force.html.

About the National Council on Crime and Delinquency

NCCD promotes just and equitable social systems for individuals, families and communities through research, public policy and practice. For more information about NCCD, please visit www.nccd-crc.org.

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ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES

Alabama Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Anhinga Feathers (U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama - www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/February/12-enrd-220.html)
Alexander D. Alvarez of Atmore, Ala., pleaded guilty in federal court on Feb. 15, 2012, to violating the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for illegally selling and possessing the feathers of anhingas and other migratory birds protected under the MBTA, the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama announced.  

Alvarez was charged by criminal information on Feb. 1, 2012, with one felony Lacey Act violation, one felony MBTA violation and one misdemeanor MBTA violation.  The Lacey Act charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  The felony MBTA charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  The misdemeanor MBTA charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine of $15,000.  Sentencing is scheduled for May 22, 2012.  

Under the MBTA, the Secretary of the Interior maintains a list of migratory birds which are protected from, among other things, being killed, sold, bartered, transported or possessed, except as otherwise permitted by federal regulation.  Enrolled members of federally-recognized American Indian tribes may possess eagle and other migratory bird feathers and parts for religious and ceremonial purposes, but federal law strictly prohibits the sale of migratory birds, feathers or their parts by any person.  Alvarez is not an enrolled member of a federally-recognized American Indian tribe.  The Lacey Act prohibits, among other things, the sale of wildlife knowing that the wildlife was taken or possessed in violation of any federal wildlife-related regulation or law.     

“Mr. Alvarez sought to profit from selling protected bird feathers he had no legal right to possess,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.  “Federal law prohibits the sale of migratory birds, feathers or their parts for commercial gain.  In enforcing these wildlife laws in partnership with tribal law enforcement, we share a duty to protect the nation’s scarce and precious wildlife resources.   In protecting these resources for future generations, we also ensure the ability of federally recognized tribal members to possess eagle and migratory bird feathers for religious and ceremonial practices.”

Wyola Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Trafficking in Eagles (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana - www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20120208135215.html)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Feb. 8, 2012, Ernie Lemuel Stewart, a 33-year-old resident of Wyola, pleaded guilty to unlawfully trafficking in eagles.  Sentencing has been set for May 9, 2012.  He is currently released on special conditions. Stewart faces possible penalties of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Crow Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Trafficking in Eagles and Hawks (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana - www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20120203155114.html)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Feb. 2, 2012, Gilbert G. Walks, Jr., a 49-year-old resident of Crow Agency, pleaded guilty to unlawfully trafficking in eagles and hawks. Walks faces possible penalties of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for May 4, 2012.  He is currently detained.

Mission Couple Sentenced for Selling Eagle Parts (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a man and woman from Mission charged with unlawfully trafficking in eagles were sentenced on Jan. 18, 2012, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.  Shane Red Hawk, 38, was sentenced to one month in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $125 to the Victim Assistance Fund; Noella Red Hawk, 41, was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $25 to the Victim Assistance Fund.  On Sept. 10, 2009, in Rosebud, the Red Hawks illegally sold an eagle feather fan and dance bustles with eagle feathers.  On Oct. 30, 2009, Shane Red Hawk illegally sold eagle feathers and hawk feathers.  They both pled guilty on Oct. 25, 2011.

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DRUG ENFORCEMENT

Wolf Point Woman Pleads Guilty to Meth Distribution (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana) 
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Feb. 8, 2012, Donna Lee Bigleggins, a 35-year-old resident of Wolf Point, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  She is currently detained.  In the investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fort Peck Tribes Criminal Investigation Division, Bigleggins was identified as a conspirator in an illegal methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  She faces possible mandatory minimum of five years in prison and could be sentenced up to 40 years, and/or a $2,000,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for May 10, 2012. 

Mexican National Sentenced to 12 Years For Meth Trafficking in Farmington (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico) 
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 8, 2012, Beatriz Adriana Cardenas-Uriarte, 32, of Mexico, was sentenced to a 144 months in prison and deportation. Cardenas-Uriarte and co-conspirator Yan Carlos Servin-Lopez, 25, also of Mexico, were charged in a seven count indictment filed on June 24, 2010. The indictment charged Cardenas-Uriarte with conspiring with Servin-Lopez and others to distribute methamphetamine in San Juan County, N.M., and distributing methamphetamine in San Juan County on five separate occasions between December 2009 and May 2010. Servin-Lopez pleaded guilty to trafficking charges on April 7, 2011, and he remains in federal custody awaiting a sentencing date.

Phoenix Man Sentenced To 120 Months in Prison For Methamphetamine Trafficking (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel announced that on Jan. 30, 2012, Jaime Abraham Gonzalez, 47, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to 120 months in prison. Gonzalez pleaded guilty, on Sept. 14, 2011, to two counts of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Gonzalez was also ordered to forfeit the money, firearm, ammunition, drugs and drug paraphernalia seized during this investigation.  The Gila River Police Department has partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to investigate and prosecute methamphetamine brokers, sellers, manufacturers and users. 

Hardin Man Sentenced for Meth Distribution (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana) 
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Feb. 2, 2012, Raul Garcia, a 41-year-old resident of Hardin, was sentenced to 87 months in prison in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Drug Enforcement Division has been involved in an ongoing investigation related to the distribution of methamphetamine in and around the Crow Indian Reservation.  As part of that investigation, Garcia was identified as a distributor and a supplier of methamphetamine.

Crow Man Pleads Guilty to Meth Distribution (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana) 
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Feb. 1, 2012, Iren Mann Mccurdy, a 34-year-old resident of Crow Agency, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  Sentencing has been set for May 3, 2012.  He is currently detained.

Wolf Point Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Deal Meth (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana) 
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Jan. 31, 2012, Angie Lee Grandchamp, a 32-year-old resident of Wolf Point, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Sentencing has been set for May 10, 2012.  She is currently detained.

Mississippi Man Sentenced For Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi) 
U.S. Attorney John Dowdy announced that Matthew Brescia, 20, of Choctaw, Miss., was sentenced in federal court on Jan. 27, 2012, to three years probation for possession with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana. The offense occurred within the boundaries of the Tribal Lands of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. 

Lower Brule Woman Sentenced for Possession of Marijuana (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi) 
 U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Jane Big Eagle, 32, of Lower Brule, S.D., was sentenced to 52 days in prison, one year of supervised release, a $1,000 fine and a $25 dollar special assessment. Big Eagle was indicted on July 12, 2011, for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and she pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana on Dec. 13, 2011.  She was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on Jan. 30, 2012.

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PUBLIC CORRUPTION AND FRAUD

Mt. Pleasant Woman Indicted for Stealing $300,000 (U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan)
U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced that Kelli Rae Smith, 53, of Mount Pleasant was arraigned on Feb. 10, 2012, after being indicted on Feb. 8, 2012, by a federal grand jury in Bay City, Mich., for 32 counts of theft of personal property over $1,000.  The indictment charges that between March of 2007 and July of 2010, Smith stole over $300,000.  Smith was the victim’s court appointed guardian at the time.  The victim is a Saginaw Chippewa tribal member and all of the alleged crimes occurred on the Isabella Reservation.  If convicted, Smith faces up to five years in prison.

Picuris Pueblo Woman Charged With Embezzling $132,000 from Pueblo (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 7, 2012, in federal court in Albuquerque, Norma Mermejo, 53, a member and resident of Picuris Pueblo, was arraigned on an indictment charging her with embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.  If convicted of this offense, Mermejo faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Mermejo entered a not guilty plea to the indictment during this morning’s proceeding.

Clark Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
US Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Daniel T. Weber, 59, of Clark, S.D., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Jan. 30, 2012.  Weber and others falsely claimed that cattle were owned by Cheyenne River Sioux members to obtain free access to tribally owned grazing units. U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange presided during the trial, where Weber claimed responsibility for one-third of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s financial loss and agreed to pay $12,252 worth of restitution. The sentencing date was set for April 16, 2012, and Weber faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in custody, a $250,000 fine or a combination of the two.

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VIOLENT CRIME PROSECUTION

Raymond Limpy Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office for the District of Montana announced that on Feb. 14, 2012, Raymond Limpy, 56, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor.  Limpy is a resident of Lame Deer and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Indians.  The incident occurred when, in August 2011, Limpy admittedly attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim while she was intoxicated.  Limpy faces possible penalties of 15 years in prison, $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.  Sentencing has been set for May 17, 2012.

Thomas Ray Crossguns Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana announced that on Feb. 15, 2012, in Great Falls, Mont., Thomas Ray Crossguns, 27, pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Corssguns is a resident of Browning and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe.  The incident occurred on March 17, 2011 when Crossguns hit the victim seven or eight times in the faced, head neck arms, hands and back.  Crossguns faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release.  Sentencing has been set for June 4, 2012.

Shaneal Bull Child Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Montana announced that on Feb. 9, 2012, in Great Falls, Mont., Shaneal Bull Child, 22, was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. Bull Child is a resident of Browning and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe. Bull Child testified that on April 9, 2011, she struck the victim intentionally while driving her boyfriend’s truck after having an altercation with the victim the previous night after she saw the victim hugging her boyfriend.  Bull Child faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for June 4, 2012.

Wyoming Man Pleads Guilty to Assault Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that, on Feb. 14, 2012,  Nathan I. Eastman, 32, of Lander, Wyo., pleaded guilty to a superseding information that charged him with assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a minor. The conviction stems from Eastman’s abuse of a child from Jan. 1999 to Feb. 2001.  A sentencing date was set for May 1, 2012.  The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshall pending sentencing. 

St. Francis Woman Sentenced for Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a St. Francis, S.D., woman, charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, was sentenced on Feb. 13, 2012, to 13 months in custody, two years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.  Valencia Four Horns, 34, pleaded guilty to the charge on Nov. 22, 2011.  The assault occurred on May 5, 2011, inside a residence in the Upper Swift Bear Housing in Mellette County.  Four Horns had an interaction with the victim where she broke a bottle and cut the victim’s face and head with the broken bottle.

Rosebud Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse of a Minor (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that on Feb. 13, 2012, a Rosebud, S.D., man charged with sexual abuse of a minor was sentenced to 5 months in custody, five months of home confinement, five years of supervised release and a $100 assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.  Wilson Provencial, 24, pleaded guilty to the charge on Nov. 22, 2011.  The conviction stems from an incident that took place on May 10, 2011, when Provencial knowingly engaged in a sexual act with the 16-year-old victim while giving the minor a ride from St. Francis to Rosebud.

Lower Brule Man Sentenced on Assault Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that on Feb. 13, 2012, a Lower Brule man was sentenced was sentenced to six months in custody, six months of home confinement, two years of supervised release and a $100 assessment for assault with a dangerous weapon.  John R. Estes II, 35, pleaded guilty in November 2011 to one count of the indictment.  In April of 2011 Estes and the victim had an argument during which Estes displayed a black handgun, pointed the gun at the victim and threatened to kill her.

Navajo Man Sentenced To 151 Months In Prison for 2nd Degree Murder Conviction (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 13, 2012, in Albuquerque, Darnell Begay, 36, was sentenced to a 151 months in prison for his second degree murder conviction.  He will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence.  On April 7, 2011, Darnell Begay and his cousin, Tyrus Begaye, 35, each pleaded guilty to killing Peyton Hogue on Feb. 6, 2010, in Burnham, N.M., a small community on the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Darnell Begay and Tyrus Begaye are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who reside in Burnham.  Their victim, Mr. Hogue, was also a member of the Navajo Nation.
 
Shiprock Man Arraigned On Child Sex Abuse Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 13, 2012, in Albuquerque, Samuel Jackson, 55, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was arraigned on an indictment charging him with aggravated sexual abuse of a minor under 16 years of age.  Jackson is charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Navajo girl in a residence in Shiprock on Aug. 5, 2011.  At the time of the offense alleged in the indictment and until his arrest in January 2012, Jackson was employed as a back-up bus driver at Shiprock division of the Central Consolidated School District No. 22.  If convicted of this offense, Jackson faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. 

Sacaton Man Sentenced To 37 Months In Prison For Stabbing (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
On Feb. 14, 2012, Eli Jackson, 44, of Sacaton, Ariz., was sentenced in federal court to 37 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Jackson pleaded guilty on June 20, 2011, to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The assault occurred on Feb. 17, 2011, on the Gila River Indian Reservation, when Jackson intentionally stabbed the victim with a knife and thereby caused the victim serious bodily injury.
            
Federal Jury Convicts Minneapolis Man for Child Sexual Abuse (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota - www.justice.gov/usao/mn)
On Feb. 8, 2012, in Fergus Falls, a federal jury found a 31-year-old Minneapolis man guilty of committing aggravated sexual abuse against a child.  Following a two-day trial, the jury convicted Joseph Valerian Parshall on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse against a child under the age of 12.  Parshall was indicted on Sept. 21, 2011.  According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Parshall committed two sexual acts against the child between February 1 and July 27, 2011. Parshall faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on each count, with a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years.

Two Redby Men Sentenced in Connection with November 2010 Killing (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota - www.justice.gov/usao/mn)
On Feb. 8, 2012 in federal court in Fergus Falls, two men from the town of Redby were sentenced in connection to the Nov. 3, 2010, killing of one man and the wounding of two others on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.  U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim sentenced Donald Leigh Clark Jr., 23, to 120 months in prison on one count of discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, specifically, the shooting of Julian Keith DeMarrias.  Clark’s co-defendant, Cruze Anthony White, 23, was sentenced to 80 months on one count of voluntary manslaughter, for aiding and abetting Clark.  

Pinedale Man Charged With Murdering Girlfriend (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 9, 2012, FBI agents arrested MacArthur Cooke, 36, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Pinedale, N.M., on a federal criminal complaint charging him with murder.  Cooke is charged with killing Vivian Watson, a 29-year-old Navajo woman, on Jan. 13, 2012, in Vanderwagen, N.M., which is located within the Navajo Indian Reservation.  According to the criminal complaint, Cooke allegedly killed Ms. Watson, his girlfriend of two years, with an axe in her Vanderwagen home.  If convicted of the offense charged in the complaint, Cooke faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.  Charges in indictments are only accusations, and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Navajo Woman Sentenced To Prison For Federal Felony Child Abuse Conviction (U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that on Feb. 9, 2012, in federal court in Albuquerque, Katrina Martinez, 26, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for her conviction for first degree felony child abuse.  Martinez, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Counselor, N.M., will serve three years of supervised release after completing her prison sentence.  Martinez pleaded guilty to felony child abuse on Nov. 14, 2011.  Martinez admitted that, on Jan. 1, 2008, she was driving while intoxicated.  Passengers in her vehicle included her two children, a three-year-old and a two-year-old.  Martinez lost control of her vehicle, causing it to flip over a number of times.  Her three-year-old son was thrown from the vehicle and sustained serious bodily injuries.  

Lame Deer Man Pleads Guilty to Domestic Assaults (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that Michael Bryant Jr., a 48 year old resident of Lame Deer, Mont., and enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, pleaded guilty to two domestic assaults by a habitual offender.  On Feb. 29, 2011, Bryant kicked, punched, bit and threatened his first victim on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.  On May 7, 2011, Bryant threatened and choked his second victim.  Bryant’s sentencing date is May 9, 2012, and he faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each charge.

Fort Thompson Man Sentenced for Involuntary Manslaughter (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Austin P. Abernathy, 20, of Fort Thompson, S.D., was sentenced on Feb. 7, 2012, to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.  Abernathy was indicted of involuntary manslaughter by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2011, and pleaded guilty to the charge on Nov. 14, 2011.  The conviction involved a hit-and-run pedestrian/motor vehicle collision that occurred while Abernathy was intoxicated.

Mission Man Sentenced for Interstate Domestic Violence (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Aaron Young, 28, of Mission, S.D., was sentenced to 48 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release and $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund on Feb. 6, 2012.  Young was indicted of interstate domestic violence by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2011, and pleaded guilty to the charge on Nov. 15, 2011. The incident occurred when Young struck the victim across the chest twice during an interstate drive on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, 2011.  The driving route caused the victim to enter and exit Indian country several times.

Manderson Man Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Michael Ghost, 18, of Manderson, S.D., pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge on Jan. 19, 2012.  In August 2011, Ghost got into an argument with the victim, ran him over with a pickup truck and then fled the scene.  A sentencing date was set for April 4, 2012, and Ghost confronts a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Porcupine Man Guilty of Assaulting a Federal Officer (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Dre Red Feather, 19, of Porcupine, S.D., pled guilty to an indictment that charged him with assaulting a federal officer on Feb. 3, 2012.  The event occurred when Red Feather resisted arrest and hit an officer multiple times on June 4, 2011. A sentencing date was set for May 7, 2012, and Red Feather confronts a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Man Indicted For Aggravated Sexual Abuse and Witness Tampering (U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan - www.justice.gov/usao/mie/index.html)
U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced that Allen Wade Pego Sr., 56, of Mount Pleasant, Mich., was arraigned on Feb. 2, 2012, after being indicted for three counts of aggravated sexual abuse, three counts of sexual abuse, three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and eight counts of witness tampering.  The indictment charges that between November 1989 and November 1993 the defendant sexually assaulted a minor victim numerous times, and between June 2008 and July 2011, the defendant sexually abused a different victim.  All of the alleged offenses occurred on the Isabella Reservation. The indictment also alleges that Pego tampered with witnesses scheduled to appear before the grand jury from Jan. 8-18, 2012.  If convicted as charged, Pego faces up a maximum penalty of life in prison. 

Mount Pleasant Man Sentenced For Assault With A Dangerous Weapon  (U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan)
U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced that Arthur Raymond Steele, 43, of Mount Pleasant, Mich.,, was sentenced to 35 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for assault with a dangerous weapon with the intent to do bodily harm.  In August 2011, Steel intentionally threw a wooden chair at his girlfriend and hit her in the head with it on the Isabella Reservation in Mount Pleasant. Steele pleaded guilty to the assault on Oct. 31, 2011.
                                                                 
Hays Man Pleads Guilty to Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Vincent Matthew Fortin, 23, of Hays, Mont., pleaded not guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault by a habitual offender before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong on Feb. 2, 2012.  He is currently detained while awaiting conviction.  If convicted, Fortin faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, three years supervised release and $250,000 fine.

Parker Man Indicted For Murder of Six Month Old Baby (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
On Jan. 31, 2012, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a two count indictment against Brice Thompson Little, 21, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, for second degree murder of a child and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  On March 29, 2011, while Little lived with the six month old victim in Parker, Ariz., the child was taken to the hospital with severe inflicted head injuries.  After being sent to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the victim passed away on April 13, 2011. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of 30 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Mississippi Woman Sentenced For Abusive Sexual Contact (U.S. Attorney for the District of Southern Mississippi)
U.S. Attorney John Dowdy announced that Kristen Willis, 21, of Philadelphia, Miss., was sentenced to three years probation for abusive sexual contact of a person in custody. The offense occurred in the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ Detention Center where Willis was employed as a detention officer.

St. Francis Man Sentenced for Abusive Sexual Contact (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Israel A. Left Hand Bull, 28, of St. Francis, S.D., was sentenced to three years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $100 special assessment and registration as a sex offender.  On June 19, 2010, Left Hand Bull engaged in sexual contact with an incapacitated victim. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 10, 2011, and pleaded guilty to the charge on Nov. 1, 2011. The sentencing occurred before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on Jan. 31, 2012, and Left Hand Bull was immediately turned over to the U.S. Marshal’s custody.
             
Parmelee Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Minor (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Michael Phillip Guerue, 23, of Parmelee, S.D., pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on Jan. 31, 2012.  From Jun. 17-20, 2011, Guerue had sexual contact with a 13-year-old female.  A sentencing date was set for April 17, 2012, and the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Lame Deer, S.D., Man Pleads Not Guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
Arlyn Castro, 28, of Lame Deer, S.D., pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault and sexual abuse before U.S.  Magistrate Judge Carolyn S. Ostby on Jan. 31, 2012.  He is currently detained while awaiting conviction.  If convicted, Castro faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

Northern Arapaho Man Sentenced for Escape (U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming)
U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts announced that Blaine Yellow Fox, 23, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, was sentenced to eight months in prison, one year supervised release and $100 special assessment. YellowFox willfully failed to return on time to the Community Alternatives of Casper, an institutional facility in which he was lawfully confined at the direction of the Attorney General by virtue of a judgment and commitment of the United States for the District of Wyoming for an original conviction of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and aiding and abetting. Yellowfox was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal on Jan. 30, 2012.

Northern Arapaho Man Sentenced for Involuntary Manslaughter (U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming)
U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts announced that Phillip Spoonhunter, 26, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tripe of the Wind River Reservation, was sentenced following his guilty plea for involuntary manslaughter.  The incident occurred when Spoonhunter was driving while intoxicated and killed two victims. Chief Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal sentenced Spoonhunter to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $200 special assessment and $1,697.15 restitution.

Northern Arizona Man Sentenced To Federal Prison for Arson (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow sentenced Brennan Larry Nez, 21, a resident of Lipton, Ariz., a member of the Navajo Nation, to 39 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release on Jan. 30, 2012. Nez pleaded guilty to arson on Nov. 4, 2011. The incident occurred when Nez lit his girlfriend’s mother’s residence on fire on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Kobuk Man Sentenced to 46 Months (U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska)
Elvin Wood, a resident of Kobuk, Alaska, was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to 46 months in prison for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Wood pleaded guilty under a plea agreement on Nov. 29, 2011.  In March 2011, Wood traveled by snowmachine to Shungnak from Kobuk to check on some family property.  Wood was carrying a .44 caliber revolver when he went to Shungnak. Alaska State Troopers received reports that Wood was extremely intoxicated in Shungnak and had made threats to a Village Public Safety Officer.  Wood was later questioned by Alaska State Troopers and admitted that he had been in Shungnak and in possession of a firearm.

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For more information on Justice Department initiatives and programs in Indian Country visit the Tribal Justice and Safety Website:  www.justice.gov/tribal/.