News and Press Releases

Navajo Men Sentenced to Prison for Drive-By Shooting

March 8, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE – This morning in Albuquerque federal court, Jarin Scott, 20, was sentenced to a 36-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release based on his federal assault conviction.  His co-defendant, Chancey Begay, 19, received a 24-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised released for his role in the same assault.  Scott and Begay are both enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who reside in Shiprock, New Mexico.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the charges against Scott and Begay arise out of a drive-by shooting of an apartment in Shiprock, New Mexico on April 12, 2010.  According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on April 12, 2010, an officer of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Shiprock Division (NNDPS) who was working in the vicinity of a Shiprock apartment complex, heard two gun shots and observed a truck driving away from the direction where the gun shots sounded.  The officer radioed the description of the truck to the NNDPS dispatcher who conveyed the information to another officer who executed a traffic stop of the truck. 

The complaint alleges that the driver of the truck was Begay and there was a shotgun on the right rear passenger floor board.  Begay told the officer that, at Scott’s request, he had driven Scott through the apartment complex and that Scott pointed the shotgun out of the truck and fired two shots at an apartment.  Thereafter, Scott was interviewed and admitted that he shot at the apartment because he wanted to scare the brother of his former girlfriend whom Scott held responsible for causing a breakup between Scott and the  girlfriend.  At the time of the shooting, the apartment was occupied by three adults and three children.  The shots damaged a living room window and a bedroom window; five individuals were in the living room at the time the shots were fired.  None of the apartment’s occupants was injured by the assault.

Scott and Begay were taken into tribal custody on April 13, 2010.  Federal charges against the two men were filed on April 16, 2010.  On May 11, 2010, Scott and Begay were charged in a two-count indictment with (1) assault with a deadly weapon, and (2) using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

Scott was arrested on April 29, 2010 and has been in federal custody since that date.  On December 8, 2010, Scott entered a guilty plea to count one of the indictment, assault with a deadly weapon, under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.  In his plea agreement, Scott admitted shooting into the occupied apartment with the intent to cause bodily harm to one or more of the apartment’s occupants.  Scott also stated that Begay assisted him in committing this assault by driving him to the apartment complex with knowledge of Scott’s intent.

Begay was arrested on April 27, 2010 and released under pretrial supervision.  After violating the terms of his release, Begay was taken into federal custody on June 30, 2010 and has remained in custody since that time.  On December 8, 2010, Begay entered a guilty plea to count one of the indictment under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.  In his plea agreement, Begay admitted driving Scott to the apartment’s occupants while knowing that Scott intended to shoot into an occupied apartment.

 After sentencing Scott and Begay, the court dismissed count two of the indictment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NNDPS, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jack E. Burkhead.

(Download Criminal Complaint adobe icon)



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