WEEK OF MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2009
Arizona Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for “Walk-By” Shooting Homicide (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
George Villareal, 19, of Laveen, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 31, 2009, by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to serve 30 years in federal prison. Villareal pleaded guilty on May 22, 2009, to a shooting death that occurred on the Gila Indian Reservation in Laveen. Villareal, a gang member, was walking through the neighborhood on May 7, 2008, firing a 9mm pistol into residences. Villareal fired 37 rounds during the incident. One round went through the wall of a residence, killing a young, pregnant female victim.
North Dakota Man Sentenced for Obstructing a Federal Investigation (U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota)
U.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced that on Aug. 31, 2009, Donald C. Luger, aka Jody Luger, 58, of Fort Yates, N.D., pleaded guilty and was sentenced for altering or concealing a tangible object in a federal investigation. Luger was sentenced to serve three years of probation, during which time he will be placed at Centre, Inc., a halfway house in Mandan, for one year and one day. The FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs were conducting an investigation into the death of Alfred Agard, 47, of Fort Yates, who was struck by a vehicle and killed on Nov. 15, 2008, as he crossed a roadway on foot toward a bar in the Sioux Village area of Fort Yates. During the course of the investigation, federal agents spoke with Luger, the bar owner, multiple times. At his plea hearing, Luger admitted that he was the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed Agard, and that he had lied to the federal investigators by telling them he had sold his vehicle on a date prior to the collision.
Kayenta Health Center Employee Indicted For Taking Bribe (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona announced on Aug. 28, 2009, that a Kayenta Health Center emergency room employee has been indicted by a federal grand jury for accepting a bribe. Ella Babbitt, 46, has been charged with one felony count of receiving a bribe by a public official. The indictment alleges that on May 13, 2009, while working as a medical support assistant at the Indian Health Services’ Kayenta Health Center on the Navajo Nation, Babbitt accepted $6,000 for directing medical air transport business to AeroCare Medical Transport. The indictment further alleges that an investigation was launched in February 2009 into allegations of possible bribery and kickbacks being paid in connection with medical air transport from the Indian Health Services facility at Kayenta.
Arizona Man Sentenced for Selling Bald Eagle Feathers (Environment and Natural Resources Division)
Cedric E. Salabye of Dilkon, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2009 in federal court in Phoenix for selling 11 bald eagle tail feathers. Salabye pleaded guilty on April 23, 2009, to one count of a federal indictment charging him with selling eagle feathers in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Judge David G. Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona sentenced Salabye to five years of probation, six months of home confinement and 150 hours of community service. At the time Salabye committed the violation in 2006, the bald eagle was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The bald eagle was removed from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2007. However, two other federal laws still provide protection for the bald eagle - the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Mesa Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Second Degree Murder (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Joshua Phillips, 33, of Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2009 to 20 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell. Phillips pleaded guilty on April 28, 2009, to Second Degree Murder. Phillips and co-defendant Augustine Thomas were involved with the homicide of an adult male on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The victim had allegedly been spreading rumors that he was having an intimate relationship with co-defendant Thomas’ girlfriend. When the pair arrived at the victim’s home, the victim came outside with a garden hoe. The victim allegedly began hitting Thomas’ vehicle with the hoe. Thomas then got out and began stabbing the victim. Phillips assisted in the assault. The two men overpowered the victim and repeatedly stabbed, beat and kicked him. The victim died at the scene as a result of multiple stab wounds suffered during the assault. Thomas pleaded guilty to the same offense and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 23, 2009.
San Carlos Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse of Four Children (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Titus Case, 31, of San Carlos, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 26, 2009 to 30 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg. Case pleaded guilty on June 10, 2009, to three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor and one count of abusive sexual contact which took place on both the Gila River and San Carlos Indian reservations. The charges involved the sexual abuse of four children under the age of ten.
Tribal and Municipal Police Trained in Federal Enforcement Authority in Indian Country (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona announced on Aug. 26, 2009, that approximately two dozen tribal and municipal police officers completed a three day training course last week led by federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. Those that pass an exam, administered by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), will receive special certification to enforce federal laws on reservations. The training was the seventh time that the BIA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona have teamed up to give the training, with approximately 250 tribal and state police officers certified through the program so far. The Special Law Enforcement Certificate Card (SLEC) card empowers tribal police to make arrests on federal charges in Indian Country, including misdemeanor and felony violations of federal law. This increases the tools and protection available to officers to address areas as common as fire and dumping misdemeanor violations up to and including investigations and arrests for felonies such as drug trafficking, child sex abuse and murder.
Casino Strong-Armed Robbery Results in Prison for Joplin Man (U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma)
Acting U.S. Attorney Thomas Scott Woodward announced on Aug. 25, 2009, that a 25 year-old man was sentenced to federal prison for robbing a woman in an Indian casino parking lot. Gregory Ryan Seward, a non-Indian from Joplin, Mo., was sentenced to 37 months in the Federal Bureau of Prison plus three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of $5,649 to the victim. Seward had earlier pled guilty to a grand jury indictment issued in May for attacking an Indian woman on April 27, 2009, in the parking lot of the Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino in Ottawa County.
Alex Charles Good Rider Sentenced in U.S. District Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Aug. 24, 2009, Alex Charles Good Rider, a 37-year-old resident of Browning, Mont., was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $60,770 in restitution and perform 80 hours of community service. Good Rider was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to defraud an Indian tribal organization and theft from an Indian tribal organization.
Soo Tribe Batterer Sentenced to Prison (U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan)
MARQUETTE, Mich. – Brandon James Vert, 23, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for domestic assault by a habitual offender, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced on Aug. 21, 2009. In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar ordered Vert to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison, to pay a $100 special assessment, and to have no further contact with the victim. Vert was also ordered to pay $5,942.64 in restitution to the victim. Vert pleaded guilty to the offense on April 28, 2009. The charge stemmed from an incident at the Kewadin Casino and Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie on Dec. 7, 2008, during which Vert assaulted his wife, breaking her ribs. Vert was previously convicted of domestic violence against the same victim on three separate occasions, and was on probation stemming from one of those convictions at the time he committed the offense.
Ronald Allen Mullenberg Sentenced In U.S. District Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Aug. 21, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, Ronald Allen Mullenberg, a 50-year-old resident of Lodge Grass, appeared for sentencing. Mullenberg was sentenced to a term of 121 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Mullenberg was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to two counts of abusive sexual contact. On Sept, 12, 2005, W.B. disclosed to a doctor at Indian Health Services that she had been touched in a sexual manner by Mullenberg. The incident took place within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation.
Joral Trebor Syril Stewart Sentenced In U.S. District Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Aug. 20, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, Joral Trebor Syril Stewart, a 21-year-old resident of Crow Agency, appeared for sentencing. Stewart was sentenced to a term of 12 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Stewart was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to accessory after the fact to the crime of robbery.
Nathaniel Jay Reed Sentenced In U.S. District Court (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on Aug. 20, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, Nathaniel Jay Reed, a 21-year-old resident of Crow Agency, appeared for sentencing. Reed was sentenced to a term of 151 months in prison, followed by supervised release for the remained of his life. Reed was sentenced after having been found guilty during a 1½-day trial of aggravated sexual abuse which took place within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation.
Sacaton Man Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Federal Prison for Use of a Firearm (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Timothy James Terrazas, 20, of Sacaton, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 20, 2009, to 158 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow. On Nov. 10, 2008, Terrazas pleaded guilty to use of a firearm in a crime of violence. On April, 5, 2007, the victim was driving his vehicle on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Terrazas, in what appeared to be a robbery attempt, shot at the vehicle 18 times. The victim, who was not seriously injured during the incident, kept driving and reported the offense to police.
Northern Ariz. Man Sentenced to 4 1/2 Years in Prison for Aggravated Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Donald Carl Bennett, 38, of Kaibeto, Ariz., was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison on Aug. 20, 2009 by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone. After Bennett’s release, he is required to reside in an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program while on three years of supervised release. Bennett pleaded guilty on Sept. 23, 2008 to assault resulting in serious bodily injury which occurred on the Navajo Nation. Bennett assaulted his wife with a knife and caused her serious injury. During sentencing, the federal court remarked that the assault was extraordinarily violent and that it was done in front of children who witnessed an irrational, unprovoked assault.
Man Guilty of Shooting in Indian Country (U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma)
Acting U.S. Attorney Thomas Scott Woodward announced that a 19 year-old man pled guilty in federal court today to shooting an Indian female acquaintance in the neck Brandon Charles Tyler Hendricks, an Indian male from Locust Grove, Okla., admitted that he shot the female victim at a party at a mobile home near Locust Grove on May 30, 2009. He was charged in a July 2009 grand jury indictment with assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to cause bodily harm. The sentencing for Hendricks has been set for Dec. 8, 2009. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Woman in Court for Social Security Fraud Charge (U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana)
Bill Mercer, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on Aug. 18, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, Summer Lee Many White Horses, a 32-year-old resident of Browning/Great Falls, Mont., appeared on a charge of Social Security fraud. She is currently detained. If convicted of this charge, she faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. The defendant pled not guilty to the charge.
Casa Grande Man Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison for Aggravated Assault (U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona)
Alfredo Sergio Alarcon, 20, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced on Aug. 18, 2009, to 41 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Paul Rosenblatt. On June 3, 2009, Alarcon pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. On Feb. 15, 2009, Alarcon, a non-Native American, was living with his girlfriend on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Alarcon and his girlfriend began to argue when he grabbed a knife and stabbed her in the abdomen, shoulder and arm. She was treated at a hospital and released the same day.
Snohomish County Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Drug and Gun Crimes (U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington)
Jimmy Dale Burleson, 23, of Snohomish County, Wash., was sentenced on Aug. 17, 2009 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for Possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Burleson was arrested on June 17, 2008, on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Burleson had been banned from the reservation because of his criminal activity. A Tulalip Tribal Police Officer found him sleeping in his car with a significant quantity of methamphetamine and a Glock semi-automatic pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets.