Bootlegging Suspects Nabbed on Navajo Nation

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (LAWFUEL) – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., joined United States Attorney Diane J. Humetewa in Flagstaff Tuesday morning to announce the results of a Bootlegging Operation on the Navajo Nation over the weekend. Twelve people were arrested over the weekend by officers of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety with assistance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The arrests in the Window Rock and Chinle areas are the result of a four month long investigation into bootlegging operations on the Navajo Reservation.

“The use of alcohol or drugs is present in the vast majority of the violent crimes committed in Indian Country and prosecuted by my office,” stated U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa. “I am grateful that President Shirley has made a demonstrable commitment to what we jointly believe is a preventive measure to these crimes. I want to commend the Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety Drug and particularly the Gang Enforcement Unit, who worked this case from beginning to end, knowing that they were making a difference. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also lent important support to this operation. Acting together we are committed to removing the roots of what later contribute to property and violent crime on the Navajo Nation.”

“Our Navajo teachings tell us that monsters still live among the five-fingered, intelligent Earth dwellers called homo sapiens. Today, a monster among us is alcohol abuse which harms children, the elderly and so many of our families. It has heaped misery upon our Navajo and Native American people,” stated Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., “I am especially grateful to U.S. Attorney Diane Humetewa’s office, her federal prosecutors, the FBI and our Navajo Division of Public Safety for working cooperatively, and diligently going after these people who bring harm into our communities.”

John E. Lewis, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated that “The illegal sale of bootlegged alcohol feeds much of the underlying violent crime that exists on Indian reservations. This investigation is another example of the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Navajo Department of Public Safety’s continued efforts to combine forces in combating these crimes.”

The following individuals face charges for dispensing intoxicants in Indian Country (AKA “Bootlegging), a Class A misdemeanor:
ARTHUR, Elton J. 08-4173M 47 Many Farms, Ariz.
CURLEY, Marian 08-4155M-001 56 Burnside, Ariz.
DAVIS, Raymond 08-4164M 69 Many Farms, Ariz.
GRANDSON, Johnny 08-4162M 63 Pinon, Ariz.
HOT, Lena 08-4179M 49 Sweetwater, Ariz.
HOT, Lilly 08-4180M 51 Sweetwater, Ariz.
LEWIS, Albert 08-4158M 57 Chinle, Ariz.
TSO, Roger 08-4155M-002 49 Burnside, Ariz.
WATCHMAN, Margaret08-4193M-001 69 Ft. Defiance, Ariz.
WATCHMAN, Michelle J.08-4171M 32 Ft. Defiance, Ariz.
YAZZIE, Clinton 08-4172M 41 Chinle, Ariz.
YAZZIE, Winnie 08-4163M 67 Chinle, AZ

A conviction for bootlegging carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or up to a $100,000 fine. The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navajo Department of Public Safety. The prosecution is being handled by Joe Lodge, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Flagstaff.

RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-183(Navajo Bootlegging)

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