9 busted in Eastern Agency drug sweep

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Oct. 21, 2010

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Nine people on and near the Navajo Nation's Eastern Agency were arrested Monday in a major drug bust orchestrated by Navajo Nation police with the assistance of federal drug enforcement offices and BIA police.

Sgt. Wallace Billie, head of the Navajo Nation Police's Drug and Gang Enforcement Unit, said the arrests are the result of a four-month investigation.

Codenamed "Operation Ye'iitsoh" (giant), the investigation began with allegations of drug sales, mostly marijuana, on the reservation including some schools.

The officers began their roundup at 5 a.m. in Tohatchi, N.M., and spent the rest of the day going from community to community, finishing about 5 p.m. The arrests occurred without incident.

Those arrested were:

  • Tohatchi - Brothers Dion Chato, 23, and Nephi Chato, 21, face federal charges of distribution and sale of drugs, some to high school students in Tohatchi. Another brother, Levi Chato, 25, was arrested on tribal charges of possession of marijuana.
  • Crownpoint - Melvin Patton, 37, who was described as a major dealer in the area, faces federal charges of distribution of drugs.
  • Prewitt - Michael Goodson, 46, and Georgia Goodson, 35, face federal charges of drug distribution. Police allege that their arrests were due, in part, to an investigation of drug sales to students in the Thoreau area.
  • Grants - Lance Rochlitz, 28, Jason Jarimillo, 32, Gilbert Aragon, 33, and Matthew Gonzales, 40, are all facing federal charges of distribution of drugs.

All of the suspects, in one way or another have been involved in the reservation drug trade, Billie said.

Man dies after being run over

A Fort Defiance man died on Oct. 4 when he was run over by a car.

Navajo Nation police found Ned Long, 27, outside his residence. He was unresponsive and it was apparent that he had been injured severely.

His shirt was torn, he had abrasions to his left cheek and a fractured left rib cage with tire marks on his shirt. He also had a broken left forearm.

Police later said Long had died and there were no witnesses to how he received his injuries. An autopsy, however, said the injuries were consistent with being run over by a vehicle.

The case was turned over to the Department of Criminal Investigations for investigation.

Fort Defiance man stabbed

Tribal police said they have no suspects in the Oct. 2 stabbing of a Fort Defiance man.

Antonio Charley, no age given, was stabbed on the left side during a scuffle with seven males, none of whom had been identified when the report was written.

Man attacked at Hunter's Point

Seven unidentified males attacked an individual Sept. 28 at Hunter's Point, Ariz.

The victim was identified as Marceleno Angles, 23.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Angles outside his travel trailer with injuries to his head, including lacerations.

Police said the matter is still under investigation.

Burntwater man sought in knife attack

Anther aggravated battery occurred Oct. 5 in Burntwater, Ariz.

The victim, Cleofus Begay, 27, of Burntwater, was drinking outside her parent's home with Wilbert Begay, 36, also of Burntwater, when they got into an argument that eventually escalated into a fight.

Wilbert Begay produced a knife and stabbed the victim on the left chest and on the left shoulder. She fled into the house and shut the door. Wilbert Begay broke a window and then fled the area. Police are still searching for him.

The victim was transported to Albuquerque for treatment.

Kaibeto man sought in knife attack

A Kaibeto, Ariz., man is facing aggravated battery charges for an Oct. 5 incident in Navajo Canyon.

The man, Lakin Bennett, 25, has been accused of stabbing two people, one a 15-year-old youth from Kaibeto and the other Christian Yazzie, 63, also of Kaibeto.

Police gave no details of the stabbing but said the youth had a laceration to his left forearm and was taken to the Tuba City hospital for treatment.

Yazzie had lacerations to the right and left side of his face, on the left side of his ribs, and the upper right side of his chest. He was flown to Flagstaff.

Police said they tried and failed to locate Bennett.

Man arrested in Cross Canyon stabbing

A Cross Canyon, Ariz., woman was stabbed in an incident that occurred Oct. 2 in that community.

Police said Alexio Cook, 23, of Cross Canyon, stabbed Lupita Lynn Cook, 33, with a pocket knife in the back of the head.

The victim drove herself to Sage Memorial Hospital and police later arrested the suspect.

Shiprock man charged with attempted murder

ALBUQUERQUE - Michael Harrison, 29, of Shiprock has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly slashing the throat of his common-law wife, Cherlyncia Yazzie, during a Sept. 23 domestic dispute.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said law enforcement authorities learned of the attack from staff at the Northern Navajo Medical Center who reported that Harrison drove Yazzie to the hospital, where she was treated for injuries to her throat.

According to the criminal complaint, Yazzie had "a deep laceration that went through her trachea, windpipe, voice box, neck muscles, and close to the spinal cord."

Harrison was arrested by tribal police and was later transferred to federal custody. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

Man charged with child abuse

PHOENIX - A federal grand jury in Phoenix has indicted Emery Kado Begay, 35, of Grand Canyon, Ariz., for child abuse, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

On or about Sept. 9, Begay got so drunk he passed out while babysitting a toddler in a mobile home inside Grand Canyon National Park, according to the complaint against him.
The toddler exited the trailer and wandered about half a mile into the woods. He eventually crossed South Entrance Road, one of the busiest streets in Grand Canyon National Park, and was spotted by a road construction worker who rescued him.

Begay's blood alcohol concentration allegedly measured .249 at the time of his arrest.

If convicted, Begay faces up to 3.75 years in prison, a $150,000 fine or both.

Begay is currently in federal custody in Coconino County awaiting transport to Federal District Court for arraignment on the charge, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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