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Courts | Shiprock felon arrested on weapon, related charges


A Shiprock man, who has spent most of his adult life in federal prison, is now facing multiple felony charges for an incident in Shiprock on April 11.

Raydell Billy, 30, has been charged with a crime committed in Indian Country, assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a gun during a crime of violence, and a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to federal court records, the San Juan Sheriff’s Office was informed of a shooting in Shiprock on the evening of April 11. Police were also told that the victim had returned to his parent’s home in Waterflow and his vehicle received a bullet hole.

The victim, later identified as E.W., 31, told FBI investigators that three people were involved in the shooting and that one of them was Billy. E.W. said he was visiting his girlfriend in Shiprock when the incident occurred.

E.W. said he was lying down in bed when Billy and two others came into the bedroom demanding to talk to him. Billy had a pistol, while one of the others had a machete which he used to threaten him.

He was held down on the bed, resulting in bruises and scarring. The three demanded he turns over to them his car keys. When he hesitated, E.W. said Billy fired a shot into the foot of the bed and then used the pistol to hit him over the head.

They then demanded that E.W. leave with them, but he refused, believing they planned to kill him. After hitting him repeatedly and threatening to kill him, they left because of fear that the Navajo Police had been contacted.

As they left, one of the others took the pistol from Billy and shot his car several times. They also smashed the front windshield with an unknown object. They then got in their car and left the scene. E.W. said he got in his car and went toward Waterflow five minutes later, afraid Billy would return and kill him.

Billy had only gotten out of prison the week before and was on probation. At the time, there was also an active warrant out for his arrest for violating his probation.

Billy’s federal record goes back to September 2008. He was later convicted of battery of a police officer and received a prison sentence of two years. While serving his time, he was also arrested for battery on an officer during an incident in prison.

In January of 2013, he was arrested for being a felon in possession of a gun and received a sentence of six years and nine months.

He was arrested on April 25 and is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service in Albuquerque.

FBI agents later arrested Alvin White, 51, for assault with a dangerous weapon and committing a crime in Indian Country. He was identified as the person who came into the house with Billy and the one that carried the machete.

There is no federal record of the third person involved in the shooting.

Domestic abuser sentenced for assault

Rupert Jamie Noriega Jr. has been sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of domestic assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
After serving his sentence, he will be on supervised release for three years.

Court records show Noriega assaulted the victim, who was listed as the mother of his child, on two separate occasions in 2019.

On Feb. 11, 2019, he threw, dragged, kicked, and punched the victim, which resulted in her hospitalization.

Then on March 14, 2019, he punched and kicked the victim and strangled her before hitting her with a wooden object. He then hit her with a metal fire poker object and threatened to kill her.

He was arrested on May 9, 2014, and released until his trial. He then was charged with violating his conditions of release, but it took several months to locate him and arrest him again. He has been in federal custody since then.

He entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in September 2020. In the plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend that his sentence not exceed 41 months.

In a memo to the federal judge, prosecutors argued that sentencing him to 41 months in prison is “appropriate.”

The victim told federal prosecutors of being physically abused by Noriega, leading them to believe that it was not limited to the two charged occasions.

This is his first federal conviction, but prosecutors pointed out he has a long history in tribal courts of committing violent crimes and alcohol abuse, endangering the lives of others. This includes being aggressive to tribal police when intoxicated, combating medical providers, and getting arrested for DWI while having a toddler in his car.

A three-year probation with special conditions is warranted, prosecutors said.

“It is clear from the record that Noriega needs to participate in domestic violence and mental health treatment during his supervised release,” the prosecutors said in their memo.

They also recommended that he be required to take alcohol and drug counseling during that period. The court also would have to issue a restraining order to prevent him from having any contact with the victim.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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