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Police Blotter: Drug task force seizes 2,600 pounds

WASHINGTON

On Monday the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Joint Opioid Reduction Task Force in Indian Country reported that in 2019 officials successfully led 14 operations across seven states, according to a DOI news release.

These operations resulted in more than 313 arrests and the seizure of 2,607 pounds of illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of $19.6 million.

Established by Interior in 2018 and led by the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services with support from other federal entities, the DOI Opioid Reduction Task Force continues to make an impact on illegal drug trafficking in Indian Country.

Abuse of baby leads to 10-year prison sentence

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge in Albuquerque has sentenced Randall Farnham to 10 years after he pleaded guilty to abuse of his two-month old son in 2011.

Farnham, 35, was given his sentence on Aug. 18, more than three years after his arrest in Gallup in June of 2017 – six years after the incident occurred. No reason was given in the court records as to why it took six years before the case was filed in federal court.

Although he was born and raised in Gallup, the incident for which he was charged occurred at a relative’s house on the reservation in McKinley County. According to court records, Farnham was spending his 26th birthday with his brother.

He had begun drinking early that morning and had continued drinking throughout the day even though he had been entrusted with the care of his two-month-old son. The baby began crying that evening and when he attempted to quiet the baby, court records said the baby was severely injured. Farnham was arrested by tribal police on June 22, 2011.

He was held in the tribal jail for 30 days before he entered into a plea agreement with the tribal prosecutor. He was sentenced with time served and placed on supervised probation for one year.

A sentencing memo by his court appointed attorney said after his release, he managed to turn his life around. Being born to alcoholic parents, Farnham was unable to connect with his feelings and became a binge drinker. During his probation period, according to the sentencing report, he reunited with his family and in 2013 became the primary caregiver for his son.

The mother of the boy told the court that the two bonded to the point where his son listened to him when he wouldn’t listen to anyone else. Since he was charged in federal court, his attorney said he completed a drug rehab course as well as a course in anger management and domestic violence.

Farnham was also paralyzed with grief over what he had done to his son, according to his attorney. While the prosecution was asking the court to impose a sentence of 10 years, the sentencing commission was arguing for a sentence of between 33 and 41 months.

A sentencing memo from the prosecutor in the case said the 10-year sentence was appropriate because of the violence of that night and because of the life-threatening injuries the baby received. The injuries gave the boy lifelong consequences.

According to the prosecutors, Farnham “shook, squeezed, hit, dropped and threw the victim, resulting in numerous injuries, including but not limited to broken ribs, fractured skull and a subdural hemorrhage.” The prosecution also argued that it would be inappropriate to allow Farnham to take care of the boy since he was the one who inflected the injuries. He will also meet with counselors for alcohol abuse after he is released.

Boyfriend charged with assault

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A Shiprock man, who had been living outside his girlfriend’s home in his broken down car, has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Darrin Begay, 28, is now being held in federal custody in Albuquerque. The reason he was living in his car was because the parents of his girlfriend, identified only as C.G., would not allow him in the house.

The two had spent the evening of August 23 arguing about their yearlong relationship via text messages on their cell phones. C.G. told police Begay came over later that night and knocked on her bedroom window, telling her to open it or he would break it. She told him she didn’t want him to come in but finally opened the window so he could get in. Once he was in, they began drinking alcohol and then went to sleep.

C.G. said she woke up about 5 a.m. and noticed that her jewelry was missing. She confronted Begay as they began arguing. She said she pushed him away and he took out a pocketknife and slashed her in the left leg. At that point her father came in the room saying he heard her crying and Begay left. Later, she said, she was walking toward the Shiprock Youth Complex when Begay came up to her. She began yelling for help.

She said Begay began kicking her, causing her to be thrown into a bush. Begay told her to shut up and then kicked her twice in the face, followed by several kicks to her body when she used her arms to protect her face. She told police she thought Begay was going to beat her to death. Instead, Begay pulled put his pocketknife and threatened to kill her.

At that point, Navajo Police, called by someone who heard her yell for help, arrived on the scene and arrested Begay. C.G. was taken to the Northern Navajo Medical Center where she received treatment for injuries to her leg and right eye, as well as for numerous bruises. Police said they found three pocketknives on Begay. Begay was later interviewed by the police and FBI. He said he was waiting for his girlfriend to get home.

She got home around 4 a.m. and they began arguing. He said C.G. then began hitting and kicking him. She then began crying which drew her father to her b bedroom. He told both of them to leave. They both left by going though the window. C.G. then asked for the return of her jewelry which she had given to him to hold.

He said she then picked up a rock and threw it, hitting his foot. He said the two then began walking together because he did not want to leave her. She didn’t like this so she began screaming for help. He said he didn’t like this so he pushed her to the ground. Begay said she then kicked him in the groin and he kicked her twice while she was on the ground. That’s when the police arrived. He admitted possessing pocketknives bur denied cutting her.


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