Speed, drugs, guns

One man faces drug charges, one still at large

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi' Bureau

CHINLE, June 19, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)


A Laveen, Ariz., man appeared on drug charges in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff Monday while another man is still at large after the two led Navajo Nation Police officers on a high-speed car chase over Buffalo Pass last Thursday, then fled on foot into the Chuska Mountains.

A preliminary hearing for Eddie Clayton Thomas, 22, is set for 10 a.m. today (Thursday). He is being held by U.S. marshals in Coconino County.

Thomas is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. According to the police affidavit, a duffel bag found near the vehicle in which he had been riding contained 28 grams of methamphetamine, 2.5 kilograms of marijuana, small plastic bags, two scales, a loaded handgun and $2,186 in cash.

Navajo Nation Criminal Investigator Cornelia Tso stated in her affidavit that she was in an unmarked police car driving south on Navajo Route 12 at 7:40 a.m. on July 12 when she heard Navajo Nation Police Lt. Dempsey Harvey radio for help to pull over a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Navajo Route 12 near Tsaile, Ariz.

Tso turned around and gave chase along with Harvey. She estimated the suspect vehicle was traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour as it turned east onto Navajo Route 13, toward Buffalo Pass.

The light-green SUV continued at speeds, "I considered to be reckless and dangerous" over the top of the pass, Tso reported. She caught up to Harvey and the suspect vehicle on the other side of the pass, where she observed the vehicle crashed by the side of the road and two males getting out.

Harvey pursued the driver, who ran north, and Tso pursued the passenger, who ran west.

Tso could not see the man's face as he was running away from her but she noticed the pattern of his boxer shorts sticking out above his baggy pants as he ran away.

The subjects eluded the officers and a subsequent search of the area did not turn them up, Tso reported.

However, at about 3 p.m. a community member contacted police and reported a barefoot young man, non-Native, had approached the community member's remote sheep camp asking for water.

Police responded to the area and arrested Thomas, whom Tso identified as the man she had chased based on his build, complexion, and "multi-colored boxer shorts."

Thomas, according to Tso, had apparently traveled 13 miles from the crash site over extremely rugged country with no shoes.

The other suspect, described by Tso as having "little or no hair," has not been apprehended in spite of an extensive search.

The suspects' vehicle, according to Tso's affidavit, was traced to a rental company in Phoenix, which had rented it to a Linda N. Thomas on July 7. Linda Thomas told police she was Eddie Thomas's mother. Neither Linda nor Eddie Thomas provided the name of the other individual in the SUV, according to Tso.

Anyone who has more information about the incident or the whereabouts of the other male is asked to call Navajo Nation Criminal Investigations.

Eddie Thomas has a prior criminal record including a January 2010 conviction for possession of marijuana. He served 18 months probation for that charge and was released Aug. 3, 2011.

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