Zuni man pleads guilty to federal firearm offense
ALBUQUERQUE -- This morning, Dan Keith Bobelu, 20, a member of the Pueblo of Zuni, pleaded guilty to using a firearm during a crime of violence before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office. Bobelu has been in custody since his arrest on March 1, 2010 and faces a mandatory minimum ten year term of imprisonment at sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the charges against Bobelu stem from a January 1, 2010 incident during which Bobelu shot and injured Kent Banteah, Jr., also a member of the Pueblo of Zuni. Bobelu initially was charged in a criminal complaint filed on March 1, 2010. On March 24, 2010, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Bobelu with (1) assault with a dangerous weapon; (2) assault resulting in serious bodily injury; and (3) use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the United States Attorney’s Office will move to dismiss Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment when Bobelu is sentenced.
According to the criminal complaint, officers of the Pueblo of Zuni Police Department (ZPD) learned about the shooting when called upon to investigate how Mr. Banteah came to be injured. At the time, Mr. Banteah was receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to the upper right arm at the Zuni Indian Hospital (ZIH). Investigation by the ZPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that, on the evening of January 1, 2010, Mr. Banteah and another man were driving around the Pueblo of Zuni and came upon a pedestrian later identified at Bobelu who was walking down the middle of the street. When Mr. Banteah’s passenger asked Bobelu to get out of the way, Bobelu responded with profanity, identified himself as a “West Side Crip,” and pulled a firearm from his waistband and fired at Mr. Banteah’s vehicle. The round entered the passenger’s side, rear door window and struck Mr. Banteah in the upper right arm above the triceps. Bobelu ran off while Mr. Banteah and his passenger drove to the ZIH to get medical treatment.
During subsequent investigation, the ZPD recovered the firearm used in the shooting from Bobelu’s brother and the FBI learned that witnesses heard Bobelu admit to shooting Mr. Banteah and saw Bobelu brandishing the firearm used in the shooting. Thereafter, Bobelu was interviewed by the FBI and ZPD. According to the complaint, Bobelu admitted being a member of the “West Side Hustler Crips” and asserted that Mr. Banteah and his passenger were members of a rival gang called the “Money Making Kings.” Bobelu also admitted shooting into Mr. Banteah’s vehicle after Bobelu and Mr. Banteah’s passenger exchanged profanity.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the ZPD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.