Police Blotter: Shiprock man faces aggravated sexual abuse charge
Wilfred Garcia, 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, appeared in federal court on Nov. 28 on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated sexual abuse, according to the FBI. A trial has yet to be scheduled. Agents from the Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety arrested Garcia in Shiprock on Nov. 22.
According to the criminal complaint, Garcia pulled up to the victim while driving his truck. He got out, put his arms around the victim, and held a hard object to her back while telling her, “Don’t move.” Garcia then forcibly placed the victim in his truck and drove to a dirt road where he sexually assaulted her.
The victim eventually got away from Garcia, flagged down a motorist for help, and reported the incident to police, who arrested Garcia later that day. The maximum penalty for aggravated sexual abuse charge is life in federal prison. This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety.
The prosecution of the case is part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Pilot Project in New Mexico, which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to ensure cases of violent offense against Native women are prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.
Gallup man sentenced to life for first-degree murder
ALBUQUERQUE – Brian Tony, 47, of Gallup, was sentenced to life in prison Nov. 27 in federal court in Santa Fe following his previous conviction at trial for first-degree murder and witness tampering, announced U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, FBI Agent James C. Langenberg and Jesse Delmar, director of the Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety. A jury found Tony, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, guilty of these offenses on Sept. 30, 2017.
On May 8, 2016, Tony drove his girlfriend’s Jeep to a home in Gallup with his brother and his girlfriend. Tony picked up the victim and the victim’s friend from this location. Tony also retrieved a hammer and placed it in his Jeep. According to testimony from the victim’s friend, Tony drove them to a place called “Superman Canyon,” where Tony ordered the victim out of the Jeep and led him to an area out of sight from the vehicle.
The victim’s friend heard the victim yell, but stayed in the Jeep because Tony’s brother threatened him. A short time later, the victim called 911 and told the operator he was in a ditch and bleeding.
The victim reported that Tony had hit him in the head with a hammer. The victim told the operator, “Hurry, here he comes now! Hurry!” The next day, the victim’s body was found in a ravine by Rock Flats Road near Church Rock, New Mexico.
There was a hammer and large rock with bloodstains nearby. The victim was wearing an empty knife sheath on his belt. The victim had more than 23 stab wounds and blunt force trauma to his head and neck.
The evidence at trial also established that Tony committed witness tampering while awaiting trial at the Santa Fe County Detention Center. Tony made more than 1,000 calls to friends and relatives, imploring them to convince the victim’s friend to leave town and to prevent the friend from testifying.
The jury also heard Tony try to persuade his girlfriend not to cooperate with law enforcement. During the trial Tony claimed that he killed the victim in self-defense.
“The FBI worked closely with the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety to make sure justice was done in this case,” said Langenberg. The Albuquerque and Gallup offices of the FBI investigated this case along with the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Newcomb man found guilty of child sex abuse
ALBUQUEQUE – A federal jury on Nov. 19 found Brian Adrian Sloan guilty on aggravated child sexual abuse charges following a five-day trial, according to the FBI.
The FBI arrested Sloan, 33, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Newcomb, New Mexico, in August 2016 on an indictment filed on Aug. 23, 2016, alleging child sexual abuse offenses. The indictment was superseded on Jan. 24, 2017, and Sloan was charged with sexually abusing a child under the age of 12 years on two occasions between May 2007 and December 2007, and between May 2008 and August 2008, and sexually abusing a second child under the age of 12 years between June 2003 and August 2003.
According to the superseding indictment, Sloan committed the crimes on the Navajo Reservation in McKinley County, New Mexico. Trial on the superseding indictment commenced on Nov. 13, 2018, and concluded Nov. 19. The jury found Sloan guilty on all four counts. Testimony established that Sloan began sexually abusing the victim referenced in Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the superseding indictment during the summer of 2007. The victim, who was 11 years old when the sexual abuse began, testified of being repeatedly sexually abused by Sloan from the beginning of the summer of 2007 through at least August 2008.
According to testimony, Sloan would find the victim alone at home and sexually abuse the victim while threatening and being physically abusive. The victim referenced in Count 4 testified that the victim stayed at a relative’s house on a night during the summer of 2003, on the Navajo Reservation, and during a night hide-and-seek game, the victim entered a dark bedroom where Sloan was hiding and Sloan grabbed and sexually molested the victim.
The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning a guilty verdict.
At sentencing, Sloan faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years and a maximum of life in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and will be required to register as a sex offender. Sloan remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Shiprock man sentenced for firing shotgun into residence
PHOENIX – On Nov. 26, Brandon Lee Curley, 26, of Shiprock, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 33 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to the FBI.
Curley had pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon. Curley admitted to firing a shotgun into a residence on the Navajo Reservation. The victim, who was inside the residence at the time, was not injured. Both Curley and the victim are members of the Navajo Tribe.
Teesto man convicted of first-degree murder
PHOENIX – On Nov. 13, Giordano Jackson, 39, of Teesto, Arizona, was convicted by a jury on all charges, including first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and kidnapping, according to the FBI. Jackson will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa in February 2019.
Jackson had a history of domestic violence against the victim, his girlfriend. In July 2017, Jackson beat the victim and dragged her by her hair with enough force to pull out chunks of hair. Then, in September 2017, Jackson brutally beat the victim to death outside his house in Teesto. Jackson was lying in wait when Navajo Nation Police Officers arrived to investigate the murder and assaulted two officers with a machete.
Both Jackson and the victim are members of the Navajo Nation and the crimes all occurred on the Navajo Reservation.
Round Rock man sentenced for sexual abuse
PHOENIX – On Nov. 13, Rodrick D. Begay, 64, of Round Rock, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 131 months in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, according to the FBI. The sentence reflects a downward adjustment of approximately four months to account for the time Begay served in tribal custody for the same incident.
Begay had previously pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact with a minor. On April 13, 2017, Begay, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, knowingly engaged in sexual contact with the minor victim, who is also a Navajo.
Piñon man sentenced for aggravated assault
PHOENIX – On Nov. 6, Paitric Small, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to 32 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for aggravated assault on the Navajo Reservation.
On March 19, 2018, Small assaulted the victim with a machete. Small had previously pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon.
Pueblo Pintado man pleads guilty to child abuse
ALBUQUERQUE – Theisman Tsosie, 26, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico, pleaded guilty Nov. 5 in federal court to a child abuse charge, according to the FBI.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Tsosie will be sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Tsosie was arrested on Feb. 23, 2018, and charged in a federal criminal complaint with slapping and kicking a six-year-old Navajo child requiring that the victim be sent to the hospital.
According to court documents, the victim suffered multiple injuries including: a complex occipital skull fracture, bruising on the face, abrasion on the left hip, bruise on the inner thigh, scab on the scalp, bruise on the left ear, linear bruise with quality of an overlying abrasion on the right cheek and jaw, scab on the chin, bruise on the right cheek, injured lip with bruising, bruise under the left nostril, bruise under the nasal bridge, bruise with abrasion under the left eye, bruise with abrasion on the left forehead and left eyebrow area, and a large left posterior flank contusion.
Tsosie was subsequently indicted on March 13, 2018, and charged with abandonment or abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm.
According to the indictment, Tsosie committed the offense on Feb. 21, 2018, on the Navajo Reservation in McKinley County, New Mexico. Tsosie remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
3 arrested in vehicle burglaries
FLAGSTAFF – On Nov. 29, three suspects were arrested for their alleged involvement in a vehicle burglary ring, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Kaiden Cox, 18, Jonathan Hernandez, 18, and Hipolito Zavala Molina, 18, face charges of first-degree burglary, theft, theft of a credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Cox also faces a possession of drug paraphernalia charge. The auto burglaries occurred in many communities in northern Arizona. On Nov. 20, three vehicle burglaries were reported in the Timberline neighborhood, north of Flagstaff. Deputies noted several firearms and credit cards were taken. Detectives tracked the credit cards through use at local businesses in Flagstaff and developed potential suspects involved with the theft and use of the stolen property.
On the morning of Nov. 29 at 3:30 a.m., the Sedona Police Department responded to a report of a burglary at the Thai Palace. Officers observed three suspects flee on foot from the scene leaving a vehicle behind. A search of the vehicle obtained information identifying Cox, Hernandez and Molina as suspects in the Timberline burglaries.
On Nov. 29 at 3:30 p.m., detectives located the three suspects at their homes in Flagstaff and served a search warrant at one of their residences in the Fox Glenn neighborhood. Stolen property was located, including four firearms (two handguns and two rifles), two stolen vehicles, and electronic equipment. Additional items were obtained which link these suspects to additional burglaries within the city of Flagstaff.
The Coconino sheriff’s office, Sedona Police Department, and Flagstaff Police Department are continuing the investigation, which could result in additional charges. Cox, Hernandez, and Molina are in custody at the Coconino County Jail with $25,000 bonds. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the community to lock their vehicles when unattended and secure valuables out of sight if being stored inside the vehicle.