Written by Yuma News Now
Phoenix, Arizona - A federal grand jury has indicted 19 individuals,
18 of whom have now been arrested, following an intensive gang and drug
enforcement operation on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation. Charges
filed in this investigation include drug trafficking and firearms
violations, as well as charges stemming from a gang-related assault.
“The United States Attorney’s Office remains committed to the
important mission of fighting crime in Indian Country,” said Acting U.S.
Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “Those involved in gang activity and
drug trafficking will find that Arizona’s Indian reservations do not
provide safe havens for criminal activity. I commend the FBI and its
federal, state, and local partners for the multi-agency investigation
that led to these indictments and arrests.”
FBI SAC James L. Turgal stated, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation
takes very seriously the safety of our streets and communities all
across the state of Arizona. These indictments and arrests are the
culmination of efforts by the FBI, Arizona Department of Public Safety,
Bureau of Indian Affairs, and our partners on the Northern Arizona
Violent Gang and Safe Streets Task Force, which includes ATF and DEA.
The FBI will continue to combat drug trafficking and violent crimes on
the Indian Reservation and utilize our relationships with our task force
partners to keep the citizens of our community safe.”
This investigation was spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Arizona Department of Public Safety as part of the
FBI’s Northern Arizona Violent Gang and Safe Streets Task Force. The
Bureau of Indian Affairs provided significant assistance with this
investigation. The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Flagstaff Police
Department also assisted in the investigation and arrests.
Convictions for the drug distribution charges alleged carry maximum
penalties ranging from five years to life in prison and maximum fines
ranging from $250,000 to $10,000,000. Convictions for the firearms
violations carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and maximum fines
of $250,000. Convictions for the assault charges carry a maximum penalty
of 10 years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000. In determining an
actual sentence, the assigned federal judges will consult the U.S.
Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The
judges, however, are not bound by those guidelines in determining a
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with
criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is
presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that
establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges and arrests are
anticipated. The prosecution is being handled by Dimitra H. Sampson,
Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.