Newsletters

TRIBAL JUSTICE NEWS
Jan. 27, 2012
 

PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVES IN INDIAN COUNTRY

Task Force To Examine Children’s Exposure To Violence In Rural And Tribal Communities (U.S. Department of Justice - www.justice.gov/usao/nm/pr/)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence will hold its second public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers at One Civic Plaza, N.W. Albuquerque, N.M.

The task force will gather testimony on the epidemic of children’s exposure to violence from nationally recognized experts and members of the Albuquerque community. Hearing speakers include Associate Attorney General Thomas G. Perrelli, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, Task Force Co-chairs Joe Torre and Robert Listenbee, task force members as well as Albuquerque and regional residents who have experienced family, community and other types of violence. 

The task force, a key part of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative, held its first hearing in Baltimore in November 2011.  Additional information on the task force, its hearings and the Defending Childhood Initiative is available at: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/task-force.html.

Justice Department Announces Grant Solicitation for Funding to Federally-Recognized Tribes and Tribal Consortia (U.S. Department of Justice)

$ 101.4 Million Available Through the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Jan. 18, 2012, that the comprehensive grant solicitation for funding to support improvements to public safety, victim services and crime prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native communities was posted at www.justice.gov/tribal/open-sol.html. All materials are now accessible for review. The Community Partnerships Grants Management System will begin accepting electronic applications on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

A total of more than $101.4 million is available through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) and is administered by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The funding can be used to conduct comprehensive planning, enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, support and enhance tribal efforts to prevent and control delinquency and strengthen the juvenile justice system, prevent youth substance abuse,  serve victims of crimes like domestic violence and sexual assault, and support other efforts to combat crimes. To view the fact sheet on the FY 2012 CTAS, visit www.justice.gov//tribal/ctas2012/ctas-factsheet.pdf.

The deadline for submitting applications in response to this grant announcement is 9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

GANGS

Sweeping Racketeering Indictment Charges Alleged Members Of The Native Mob (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota)

A federal indictment charges 24 alleged members of the Native Mob gang with conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and other crimes. The Native Mob is a regional criminal gang that originated in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Members routinely engage in drug trafficking, assault, robbery and murder. Membership is estimated at 200, with new members, including juveniles, regularly recruited from communities with large, young, male, Native American populations.    The indictment alleges that since at least the mid-1990s, the defendants named in this case and others have conspired to conduct criminal activity through an “enterprise,” namely, the Native Mob, in violation of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). 

Gang members are alleged to have distributed illegal drugs, from crack cocaine to ecstasy, and are also charged with numerous charges including violent assaults, firearms violations, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, among other charges.  If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum sentence of between 20 years and life in federal prison. 

The case is the result of a long-term, cross-jurisdictional investigation conducted by local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement officers dedicated to making our streets and communities safer. 

For more information, visit www.justice.gov/usao/mn/nativemobindictment.html.

PUBLIC CORRUPTION

Spirit Lake Tribal Officer Found Guilty of Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization (U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota - www.justice.gov/usao/nd/)
U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Jan. 25, 2012, Justin Yankton, 38, of Fort Totten, N.D., was found guilty by a 12-person jury of theft and embezzlement from an Indian Tribal organization. U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson presided over the two-day trial. Yankton and Brooke Black shared a residence in Fort Totten. Brooke Black applied to receive benefits meant for the low income and poverty level homes of the reservation. In that application, Black omitted the name and income of Yankton. Because of this omission, the home qualified to receive home heating financial assistance. Justin Yankton, as the secretary/treasurer of the Spirit Lake Tribal Council, knew the household was improperly receiving fuel assistance and at times actually ordered fuel to be delivered under Black’s account. The incidents occurred from October 2008 through March 2011 on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. The charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Black, 29, an employee with the Food Distribution Program, pleaded guilty on Jan. 26, 2012, to a charge of theft and embezzlement from an Indian Tribal organization.

VIOLENT CRIME PROSECUTION

Peach Springs Man Indicted on Assault and Firearm Charges (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona - www.justice.gov/usao/az/)
Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel announced that on Jan. 24, 2012, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a five-count indictment against Cooper Price Susanyatame, 19, of Peach Springs, Ariz. The indictment charges Susanyatame with violations of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, use of a firearm in a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered firearm. The allegations in the indictment stem from the previously filed complaint, which alleges that on Dec. 25, 2011, on the Hualapai Nation Indian Reservation, Susanyatame fired a .22 caliber rifle through the window of a neighboring home, missing a juvenile victim who was playing outside near the window and striking an adult victim in the back of the head while she was standing in a hallway inside the home. The adult victim was airlifted to a Las Vegas Hospital, where the bullet was extracted from her scalp. If convicted for the assault and unregistered firearm offenses, Susanyatame faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentence for use of a firearm in a crime of violence must run consecutive to any other sentence, with a maximum penalty of life in prison.  

Box Elder Man Sentenced for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana - www.justice.gov/usao/mt/)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Jan. 26, 2012, Thompson Densmore St. Pierre, 21, of Box Elder, was sentenced to a term of 51 months, consecutive to another sentence, to be followed by three years of supervised release in connection with his guilty plea to assault with a dangerous weapon.  The assault, in which the victim was stabbed and beaten by several individuals including St. Pierre, took place near Box Elder, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.

Christopher Max Dawes Sentenced In U.S. District Court (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. 25, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, Christopher Max Dawes, 33, of Browning, appeared for sentencing. Dawes was sentenced to a term of 28 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Dawes was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury. On April 24, 2011, Dawes assaulted the victim, resulting in a broken jaw. The offense occurred at the Medicine Bear Shelter, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Eagle Butte Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota - www.justice.gov/usao/sd/)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that an Eagle Butte, S.D., man charged with sexual abuse was sentenced on Jan. 23, 2012. Jerry Matthew Chasing Hawk, 52, was sentenced to 131 months in prison, five years of supervised release. Chasing Hawk was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 12, 2011, and was found guilty after a federal jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota, on October 19, 2011. The conviction relates to Chasing Hawk’s sexual abuse of an Eagle Butte woman on Aug. 8, 2009, in Fort Thompson, S.D.

Federal jury convicts Redby woman for being an accessory to violent Red Lake crime (U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota - www.justice.gov/usao/mn)
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones announced that on Jan. 24, 2012 in federal court in Duluth, a jury found a 22-year-old Redby woman guilty of attempting to hide a suspect from federal agents. The jury convicted Jerilee Jane Head on one count of being an accessory after the fact. Head was indicted on March 8, 2011. According to the indictment and the evidence presented at trial, on Jan. 15, 2011, Head assisted her boyfriend, Donald Leigh Clark, Jr., in his attempt to allude authorities. Clark was hiding from law enforcement after being charged with the Nov. 3, 2010, killing of one man and the wounding of two others on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Clark was ultimately found hiding under a blanket in the back seat of Head’s vehicle, after Head had tried but failed to lure federal agents away from the car.

Heart Butte Man Sentenced for Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana -www.justice.gov/usao/mt/)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that on Jan. 23, 2012, in federal court, Hiram Evans, a 28-year-old resident of Heart Butte, was sentenced to 27 months in custody to be followed by three years of supervised release. Evans was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury, related to a January 2011 assault on the Blackfeet Reservation that resulted in the victim being airlifted to Kalispell. The victim’s injuries
included a punctured lung, broken rib and several lacerations to his face and head .

Ramah Navajo Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Assault Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, Kerley K. Biggs, 22, entered a guilty plea to a federal assault with a deadly weapon charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Biggs pleaded guilty to a September 2010 assault on another Navajo man by beating him about the head and face with a metal expandable baton at Biggs' residence in Ramah, N.M.  As a result of the assault, the victim sustained a significant wound to the back of his head that required 12 staples to repair. Biggs faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.  

Eagle Butte Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Contact (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Daniel Red Horse, Jr., 41, of Eagle Butte, appeared in federal court on Jan. 19, 2012, and pleaded guilty to sexual contact.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is 2 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release. The conviction stems from a report on March 31, 2011, in which the Cheyenne River Sioux Department of Social Services received information that a minor had been sexually abused by Red Horse, Jr. in 2009. A forensic interview was completed, and the victim indicated that the abuse occurred while the victim was sleeping. Red Horse later admitted during an interview with an FBI agent that he sexually abused the victim while the victim was sleeping. A sentencing date was set for April 16, 2012.

Coushatta Tribal Member Pleads Guilty to Burglary Charges (U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana - www.justice.gov/usao/law/)
U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced on Jan. 19, 2012, that a member of the Coushatta Indian Tribe pleaded guilty to burglary charges in federal court in Lake Charles, La. Jordan Hawk John, 18, of Kinder, La., was charged in December 2011 with simple burglary. This case stems from an August 2011 break-in at the Coushatta Convenience Store in Elton, La. The defendant broke into the rear of the store and caused property damage totaling $244,999.00 when he set fire to the store. At sentencing, John faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 12 years.

Frazer man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Assault with Intent to Commit Murder (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. 12, 2012, Robin Roy Martell, a 35-year-old resident of Frazer, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Martell was sentenced after a federal district court trial in which he was found guilty of assault with the intent to commit murder, assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon. Starting on Aug. 4, 2010, and on the morning Aug. 5, 2010, Martell brutally assaulted the victim, including assaulting her with a three-foot metal bar, knocking her teeth out and biting off a portion of her ear off. 

Lodge Grass Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening a BIA Officer (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Jan. 11, 2012, Roland Todd Brown, a 47-year-old resident of Lodge Grass, pleaded guilty to impeding a federal officer by threats. Sentencing has been set for April 11, 2012. He is currently detained. On June 21, 2011, Brown was arrested at his home in Lodge Grass. During the arrest, Brown resisted arrest and repeatedly threatened to assault and harm one of the arresting officers. Brown had to be tasered during the arrest. Brown faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Lame Deer Man Sentenced to 20 Months in prison for Domestic Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Jan. 11, 2011, Fred Martin Belly Mule, Jr., a 35-year-old resident of Lame Deer, was sentenced to 20 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, having previously pleaded guilty to the charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.Belly Mule was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury. On the evening of March 28, 2011, the victim was with Belly Mule at his residence in Lame Deer. Belly Mule was intoxicated and became angry. Belly Mule kicked the victim twice in the face and in the legs, punched the victim repeatedly with closed fists, dragged her around by the hair, and bit and choked her. 

FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER

Walthill Man Sentenced for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender (U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska)
John R. Moniz, 33, of Walthill, Neb., was sentenced in federal court for failing to register as a sex offender. Moniz was sentenced to 30 months in prison. After his release from prison Moniz will be required to serve a five year term of supervised release. Moniz was convicted in tribal court on the Omaha Indian Reservation of rape. His tribal conviction requires him to register as a sex offender in Nebraska or any other jurisdiction in which he resides. Moniz lived in Walthill until March, 2011, when he moved to his girlfriend’s residence in Omaha. He did not notify the state of Nebraska that he had left the Omaha Reservation and moved to Omaha. He did not register as a sex offender at his new residence as required under state and federal law. 

Lower Brule Man Pleads Guilty to Failure to Register Eagle Thunder (U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Glen Eagle Thunder, 37, of Lower Brule, appeared pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2012 to the indictment that charged him with failure to register as a sex offender. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a period of supervised release of a mandatory minimum term of five years up to a maximum of life. A sentencing date was set for March 26, 2012. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending sentencing.

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