Tribal-led task force dismantles meth ring on Tohono O’odham Nation

Staff reports
11/30/10

SAN LUCY VILLAGE, Ariz. – Law enforcement officers from the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department led a multijurisdictional task force in an afternoon sweep recently resulting in four arrests and one federal search warrant. The combined tribal-federal operation targeted a network of alleged methamphetamine dealers in the San Lucy area on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Evelyn Lopez, 50; Lisa Siquieros, 28; Angel Siquieros, 30; and Roberto Gonzalez, 33, were arrested as a result of this seven month investigation led by the Tohono O’odham Police Department’s Anti-Violence Unit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The search warrant was executed at the home of Evelyn Lopez at San Lucy Village, Ariz.

“We are extremely proud of the leadership role the Tohono O’odham Police Department has taken with these efforts and congratulate them on their service to not only the Tohono O’odham Nation, but to the state of Arizona,” said Ned Norris Jr., chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation. “This was truly a multi-jurisdictional investigation that would not have succeeded without the cooperation of all law enforcement entities. The dedication and hard work of all involved has resulted in safer communities for our families and friends.”

“Through unprecedented partnerships with tribal law enforcement, we are making major progress in preventing meth trafficking from taking hold on tribal lands,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “I commend the Tohono O’odham Police Department for their hard work and for being key partners in combating illegal drugs.”

“Methamphetamine is a devastating poison that negatively impacts the quality of life for Arizona” said Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall. “This coordinated investigation and takedown is another example of the important partnership between our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to make our communities a safer place.”

Two separate complaints charge Lisa Siquieros, Angel Siquieros and Roberto Gonzalez with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. A conviction for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine carries a maximum penalty of life in federal prison and a fine up to $400,000 or both.

One additional complaint charges Evelyn Lopez with managing a drug establishment for the purpose of unlawfully storing, distributing and using controlled substances. A conviction for managing a drug establishment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $500,000 or both.

A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Tohono O’odham Police Department AVU has participated in a joint-training program by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The training enables qualifying officers to obtain a Special Law Enforcement Certification card from the BIA, which grants tribal police authority to investigate and arrest on federal charges.

The Tohono O’odham Police Department is also a recipient of a U.S. Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhood pilot program grant to enhance targeted law enforcement and community education on gun and gang-related violence.

Tactical support for the takedown operation involved agents from the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecution is being handled by Kimberly E. Hopkins, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson. Additionally, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office indicted 12 individuals also involved in the meth ring operating in Gila Bend and the San Lucy area.

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