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Police Blotter | Deputies arrest 3 for possession of dangerous drugs


On Feb. 3, deputies patrolled the Kayenta area and made a traffic stop on Highway 160 at milepost 283, near Kayenta, according to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office.

A consent search of the vehicle revealed nearly 6 pounds of methamphetamine and 1 gram of cocaine.

The street value of these drugs is more than $190,000.

Juan De Jesus Romero, 31, and Ryan Q. Rangel, 26, both of El Mirage, Arizona, were arrested and booked into Navajo County Jail.

Their charges include possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, and transportation of dangerous drugs.

Ramon Isaac Velazquez-Llanes, 21, of Phoenix, was arrested and charged with possession and transportation of dangerous drugs, promoting prison contraband, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

San Carlos Apache PD arrests non-Indian for selling dangerous drugs

SAN CARLOS, Ariz. – On Feb. 4, the San Carlos Apache Police Department arrested Michael McDaniel, a non-Indian, during a drug investigation at the Apache Gold Casino, according to Police Chief Alejandro Benally.

Based on a tip, McDaniel was reported to be attempting to distribute dangerous drugs, namely methamphetamine, to a member of the tribe.

After a K-9 alerted to McDaniel’s vehicle in the parking lot, a search revealed 1 pound of methamphetamine, 94 fentanyl pills, 22 grams of marijuana, three firearms – one firearm with the serial number filed off – multiple weight scales, plastic baggies, and glass pipes.

The street value of the methamphetamine is $45,800; for the fentanyl, $3,700; and for the marijuana, $186.00.

McDaniel, a previously convicted felon, was transported to the Gila County Jail, where he was booked on multiple charges.

Terry Rambler, San Carlos Apache chairman, said, “Meth has been crippling and killing our members for too long. Due to the tireless efforts of SCAPD, another link in the chain of addiction has been broken.

“In addition to enforcing our laws,” he added, “we also plan to assist our people with soon opening a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and expand upon it to help heal our people.”

Benally said, “I commend the outstanding work done today by our drug enforcement team that partners with the Gila County Drug Task Force. Their teamwork today clearly depicts their efforts on removing these drug suppliers and dangerous drugs off the streets, making every effort to ensure our communities, tribal members, and neighbors are safe.”

To report drug or alcohol activity in your neighborhood, make a confidential report to SCAPD at 928-475-TIPS (8477).

Nurse, companion found dead

GALLUP – The Gallup Police Department responded to a welfare check on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Erica Platero, 41, of Fort Defiance, and Abram “Abe” Wilson, 43, of Window Rock, were found deceased in the Mentmore home they shared.

Platero was found with a gunshot wound that resulted in her death. Wilson was also shot and killed, and a shotgun was found by his body.

Platero was a registered nurse who owned and operated Bee Happy Home Care, LLC, a home care business in Fort Defiance.

Funeral arrangements for Platero are pending. To donate to Platero’s funeral costs, visit GoFundMe account

Court throws out kidnapping charge

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ruled that a Navajo man who held his girlfriend while he assaulted her cannot also be convicted of kidnapping, saying such an expansion of kidnapping would lead to a “steroidal version” of assault laws.

The ruling Feb 3 by a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel let stand the assault conviction against Giordano Jackson but reversed his kidnapping conviction in the 2017 beating of his girlfriend, Alvina Nez.

Jackson was later convicted for Nez’s murder in a separate assault and is serving a life sentence on that charge. The court Feb. 3 upheld that conviction.

“This case requires us to define the limits of kidnapping,” said the opinion written by Circuit Judge John B. Owens.

Even though the standard for kidnapping only requires a “seizure,” he wrote that the seven minutes that Jackson held his girlfriend while severely beating her “is a far cry from the ‘substantial period of time’” that is required for a kidnapping.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined Friday to comment on the ruling. An attorney for Jackson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

FBI: Beware of romance scams

PHOENIX – The FBI’s Phoenix office wants to educate the public on romance scams, also known as confidence fraud.

Romance scams occur when individuals believe they are in a relationship (family, friendly or romantic) and are tricked into sending money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the fraudster.

This includes the grandparent’s scheme and any scheme in which the perpetrator preys on the victim’s “heartstrings.”

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, 651 Arizona victims reported losses of more than $20.9 million in connection with confidence fraud/romance scams in 2021.

The FBI suggests these tips if you develop a relationship with someone online:

  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
  • Never provide your financial information or loan money to someone online. Do not allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds. Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse for why they can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, you have good reason to be suspicious.
  • If you plan to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place, and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.

Victims may be hesitant to report being taken advantage of due to embarrassment, shame, or humiliation. It’s important to remember that romance scams can happen to anyone.

If you suspect your online relationship is a scam, cease all contact immediately. If you are a victim who has already sent money, immediately report the incident to your financial institution.

Then inform your local law enforcement agency or FBI Phoenix at 623-466-1999. Victims are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at


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