Friday, April 18, 2008

Tribal members convicted of attempted murder

In January we featured a story about the San Manuel Band of Indians, their casino, links to crime and their feelings that this is none of the publics business. We follow up here today - with the convictions of said members. Nice folks we have tied to out California Indian Casinos. Attempted Murder. Gang Membership. Methamphetamine charges and more. Personally I just cannot WAIT until they open one of these fine establishments in my back yard. Oh. Wait. They already have. Perhaps that is why crime is up for 2007 by 35% in my neighborhood?

San Manuel tribal members plead guilty in murder-for-hire case
06:05 PM PDT on Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

SAN BERNARDINO - Two San Manuel tribal members and gang member pleaded guilty this afternoon to charges involving a 2006 murder-for-hire scheme.

Salvador Orozco Hernandez, 43, identified in federal documents as a Mexican Mafia leader in the San Bernardino area, agreed to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder charge and conducting the crime to benefit a criminal street gang.

Tribal member Stacy Cheyenne Barajas-Nunez, 25, also pleaded guilty to attempted murder charge and admitting criminal gang activity. She also pleaded guilty to charges of transporting methamphetamine and possessing illegal substances in a jail.

Her brother, Erik Barajas, 35, pleaded guilty to one charge of assault with a firearm and admitted gang membership.

Both tribal members will receive probation when they return for sentencing Aug. 7.

Two others also charged in the case, Janette Amaya, 51, and Alfred Orozco Hernandez, 39, brother of Salvador Hernandez, also pleaded guilty.

Amaya pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting methamphetamine and the sentencing enhancement of criminal gang activity. She pleaded no contest to a forgery charge in a separate case. She will be sentenced to probation.

Alfred Hernandez pleaded guilty to an attempted murder charge as well as admitting criminal gang activity. He will be sentenced to nine years in prison in August.

The Hernandez brothers and Barajas siblings were initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder in September 2006.

According to court records, the plot was to kill the manager of The Brass Key, a Highland bar. The business is owned by Greg Duro, son of former tribal Chairman Henry Duro.

The pleas emerged after five hours of back-and-forth plea negotiations in San Bernardino County Superior Court before Judge Michael Dest.

Defense attorneys said the agreements were better than going to trial, where the accused risked significantly longer sentences.

Deputy District Attorney Doug Poston said the case helped keep criminal gangs away from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which own a huge and profitable casino near Highland.

"We don't want the tribe members bringing the criminal element onto Indian lands or into Indian businesses," Poston said outside the courtroom. "We've done everything we can in this case to rid that problem from Indian land and Indian business."

Today's convictions resulted from Dec. 12, 2006, law enforcement raids lead by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The raids targeted the drug trade in the San Bernardino area.

Authorities made 19 arrests and seized more than $1 million in methamphetamine and cash as well as 56 guns.

Reservation homes were also raided, documents show.

DEA records included in the case file show that Hernandez was collecting "taxes" from Inland Hispanic gangs and making a methamphetamine deal at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.

Another DEA document said investigators fear the Mexican Mafia has infiltrated the reservation and is extorting money from tribal members, who receive $100,000 checks from casino profits each month.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chumash Casino Drug Busts - Tip of the iceberg

Keep in mind this Casino is less than a mile from the high school in the Santa Ynez Valley. Keep in mind many kids from that high school have been in the casino - no one checks ID upon entry. And now you have a 17 year old kid buying meth AT the casino. Nice neighbors they have there in Santa Ynez. And these cretins want to expand their gambling operation? From the police blotter in the SYV Journal:

Unit block of Bobcat Springs, Buellton

A 17-year-old male from Buellton was arrested for being in possession of methamphetamine after a citizen reported that she found methamphetamine in her son’s jacket pocket. She also told the officer that her son was on probation for other offenses and was routinely checking his room to make sure he didn’t have any contraband. The minor was questioned at the Solvang Sheriff’s Station, where he told police that he bought the methamphetamine from an acquaintance at the Chumash Casino. He informed police that he frequented the casino, even though he was not of legal age. He was booked into the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall for being in possession of a controlled substance.

3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez (Chumash Casino)

A 55-year-old female from Santa Maria was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance after officers on patrol at the casino questioned her because she exhibited behavior that is usually associated with drug addiction. The woman admitted to using methamphetamine the previous night. She was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez (Chumash Casino)

A 42-year-old female from Thousand Oaks was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance after an officer on patrol at the casino contacted her at a gambling machine. The woman’s urine tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine.

3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez (Chumash Casino)

A 44-year-old male from Oceano was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after an officer responded to an auto accident that occurred at the casino. While the officer questioned the man about the accident, he noticed that the man exhibited signs of being intoxicated. The man failed a series of sobriety tests. He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.


3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez (Chumash Casino)
A 43-year-old female from Santa Paula was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance after an officer on patrol at the casino noticed her exhibiting tell-tale signs of drug use. The woman’s urine tested positive for methamphetamine. She was cited and released.

3000 block of East Highway 246,
Santa Ynez

A 48-year-old male from Solvang was arrested for being in possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia after Chumash Casino valet parking security reported that the man was under the influence of a controlled substance. Officers visited the hotel at which the man was staying and found the illegal substance. The man was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tribe in New York attempts to stifle free speech

The Mohawks look to be taking a page out of CAIR's (Council of American Islamic Relations - and unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Trial) book. CAIR is famous for screaming 'hate crime! slander! libel! racisism!" etc, when ever anyone has the temerity to suggest that something a Muslim is doing, could actually endanger US citizens. Well it wasn't Catholics, or Amish, or Lutherans flying planes into skyscrapers on September 11th. I guess here the Mohawk's want us to believe that people who build casinos have the natures of innocent three year olds, and create worlds full of fluffy bunnies and pretty rainbows. Anything else is libel and slander!! Spend a little time in almost any Indian casino and the nature of the beast is obvious - and it isn't fluffy bunnies.

Hey Mowhawks - you are free (for now) to run your dictatorial regimes on your reservations and harm your citizens the way you see fit (again, for now). Here in the United States there is a little thing called freedom of the press. If you want to persist in your rude, uncivilized attack on democratic systems, perhaps treating you like any other barbarian regime is in order? (Think Iraq, Afghanistan, Nazi Germany...) Also when casino Indian tribes allow YOUR workers, your citizens, your patrons the same right you are attempting to exercise right now - taking you to court like you are doing to The Post, (knock off the no jurisdiction nonesense), then perhaps you should be entitled to do so. Until then, in net vernacular because your legal stunt deserves no better... STFU.

Tribe Sues Paper Over Casino Editorials
Special to the Sun
February 20, 2008

An American Indian tribe that is seeking to build a casino in upstate New York is suing the New York Post for $60 million because of two editorials the newspaper published that accused the tribe of being a "criminal enterprise" with "an extended history of often-violent criminality."

In a February 21, 2007, editorial, "The Gov's Gambling Goof," the Post chronicled the efforts of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council to build a casino on the site of the former Monticello Raceway in the Catskills. The Post editorial accused the council of being involved in a $687 million contraband smuggling ring, importing illegal immigrants from China, and engaging in shoot-outs with the New York State Police.

The council is suing the Post for two counts of libel.

Also included in the lawsuit is a January 8 editorial, "A Bad Bet on the Mohawks," that criticizes Governor Spitzer for supporting the council's bid to build the Catskills casino and repeats the previous editorial's allegations of criminality.

The Post's series of accusations against the council "tends to injure them in their profession, and tends to expose them to public contempt, ridicule, aversion, and disgrace," the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in New York State Court in Manhattan, says.

A spokeswoman for the Post, Suzanne Halpin, declined to comment.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hey California!! Change! We needed it! We got it! .. uh.. whoops?

Thats right.. step right on up Californians.. the more YOU LOSE, the more money the State will have to spend! What a deal! Let's all go get big L's tatooed in the middle of our foreheads after forking over our money to the sacred slot machine to show 'we care'. From the Morgan Hill Times:

Filling a slot

The current presidential campaigns, which have now gone on longer than FDR's presidency and spent a sum of money nearly equal to the gross national product of Mitt Romney, have mutually decided that there is a single word which defines, delineates, describes, and distills what America wants, needs, and hopes for in the next administration. That word is change. No, make that Change; wait, I've got it: CHANGE. No, I mean CHANGE!!!. No, hold on -- imagine an enormous billboard, say, the size of western Nebraska, floating overhead and imagine the word CHANGE completely filling it, in flashing neon with Roman candles going off and cannons firing, and the special effects guys from "Lord of the Rings" making it do all kinds of really interesting things, and ... .

Anyway, we need change; we get it. And in California, thanks to the small piece of this miserable circus which actually wended its annoying over-commercialized way to a conclusion on Stupor Tuesday, we, alone among our sister states, have officially declared that we really need change, need it bad, need it now.

We need change, preferably quarters, to funnel into the shiny, flashy, electronic noise-making new slot machines, all 17,000 of them, which we approved by a large margin after discovering that slot machines have recently become a threatened species due to excessive expansion of non-gambling activities in this state, requiring that drastic steps be taken to preserve and protect our precious casino environment before it's too late. If through our own negligent selfishness we fail to grow our native slot machine population so that our descendants can enjoy the awesome beauty of thundering herds of one-armed bandits roaming free across the Southern California plains grazing on our money we will have deprived posterity of a sacred right.

Naw! I was just joshing with you; we didn't do it for the environment, we did it for the money! Yes, we decided to partner up with the tribes to "share the revenues" and help bail out the State after discovering that pesky $14 billion shortfall. Perfect: just as the public is hit with the body-blow of a huge budget crisis the tribes come along and generously offer to help -- a win-win outcome if ever there was one, so of course everybody says look, free money and just when we need it. And now we all have a vested interest in the success of those bigger and better casinos, because the more they make the more they share and the more we get the better off we are.

There is a small fly in the ointment, really nothing worth bothering about: revenue sharing comes from profits and profits come from gamblers who lose. That's how it works -- players lose, house wins, house gives some to us. The more of the first the more of the second and the more of the third. So the logic of the situation takes us far beyond legalizing gambling and far beyond tolerating gambling; it is now officially in our interest to ENCOURAGE gambling, or more specifically, to encourage losing. We have to want our fellow Californians (who are the majority of the gamblers in Indian casinos) to get in there and lose, lose big, lose often. If we don't have a large continuous stream of players pouring coins, bills, and credit cards into those machines without equal reward there won't be much profit, and we will be getting chump-change out of the deal. All those millions that the tribes could afford to spend on advertising, all the sympathy generated for their earnest desire to become self-reliant so they could share the wealth with us, will produce only a drop in the deficit bucket.

So come on, people! Step up to the plate and show us what you're made of; put your money where your vote was. We don't want to pay several dollars more in taxes, do we? Of course not; root canals without anaesthetic are infinitely better than paying any amount at all in increased taxes no matter what they're used for. So it's up to us to make the alternative work; we have to go to the Indian casino of our choice and lose hundreds, thousands if possible. We need to be making bad bets, reckless wagers; don't quit just because you're behind.

This will be good, really. It's not a bad thing, it's totally different. See, the problem with traditional gambling is that traditional gamblers are pitiful creatures, blowing the rent money on their favorite roulette number, staking the kids' college fund on long odds, and getting deeper and deeper in the hole because they always think the next bet is going to turn it all around; they're going to become winners raking in the chips and overtipping the croupier like in the movies. But we're just the opposite: we WANT to lose -- winning is not an option. If we go into a casino and don't come out broke we've failed California: we've failed our kids' schools, we've failed our highways and bridges, we've failed our cops and firefighters. Every dollar we don't put in a slot machine means revenue the casinos can't share with the State. Can't have that; defeats the whole purpose of the election.

So, in keeping with the version of reality California has always been most fond of, the only way to win is to lose. If we all do our part someday the Governor will call a press conference, smile that inimitable Schwarzenegger smile, and proudly announce that our budget woes are over because we have met the challenge: we are all losers.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Poor Oklahoma indians may have to pay millions to fund education

Sounds like they're on to something. Most would agree that casino indian tribes are not paying fairly into our tax system. The article was interesting enough, but then I got to the comments. Take a peek for yourself. Apparently one person felt that our government is not giving to the tribes and only takes, takes, takes. Last time I checked, the government IS still giving indians millions in aid. So our government is taking our tax money and turning around to give it back to the indian people...poor indians? - don't think so.

Proposed gaming restrictions could hurt tribes
By Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A proposed new federal restriction on the types of slot machines tribes can offer at casinos could cost Oklahoma tribes millions of dollars each year, but would boost funding for the state's education system.

The National Indian Gaming Commission wants to create a greater distinction between Class II games based on bingo and Class III, or Las Vegas-style, slot machines.

The distinction is important because states can only collect a portion of tribes' profits from Class III games.

Indian gaming experts have said the vast majority of existing Class II machines would become illegal in 2013 if the new regulations, as proposed, take effect.

Tribes have almost universally denounced the plan as an unfair imposition on their sovereignty.

Two Oklahoma congressmen seem to agree, according to their recent letters to the commission.

"I remain deeply concerned that there has not been sufficient consideration of the economic impacts of these proposed regulations," Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., wrote in a Dec. 20 letter.

Boren joined Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., in a second letter asking that the comment period on the proposed changes be extended
until June.

However, a letter signed by 10 other congressmen urges "prompt adoption" of the proposed rules.

Both Boren and Cole are on the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees Indian gaming.

The 30,044 Class II machines in Oklahoma at the end of 2006 represented 59 percent of all such machines in the country, economist Alan Meister reported in a study prepared for the Indian gaming commission.

In 2004, Oklahoma voters approved compacts allowing tribes to offer modified Class III slot machines. In return, tribes must pay the state 4 percent to 6 percent of the revenue.

That money goes to fund teacher pay raises and other education programs. Tribes paid the state $54.5 million from Class III machine revenue in 2007, according to the Office of State Finance.

Most state tribal casinos have incorporated Class III games, and a few have moved solely to compacted machines. However, Class II machines still comprise a large majority of the games available in Oklahoma, Meister reported.

Meister said the proposed Class II restrictions would force tribes to use only compacted machines by 2013.

If that happens, Oklahoma tribes would have to pay the state an estimated $122.3 million a year in revenue-sharing costs, Meister reported.

Oklahoma's current tribal gaming compacts expire in 2020.

Indian casino cheats patron with their sovereign immunity

Once again we have a tribe playing their sovereign immunity card, kind of like a "get out of jail free" card in Monopoly. Only Monopoly is a level playing field where everyone has to play by the same rules. Casino tribes don't play by the same rules governing the rest of us. They get to ignore planning departments, OSHA regulations, fair labor practices, taxes, environmental laws AND still get free health benefits paid by you and me while individually making monthly incomes of ten, twenty, forty thousand dollars a month or more depending on the tribe.

Judge dismisses jackpot lawsuit against Sandia casino
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 02/04/2008 05:09:19 PM MST

ALBUQUERQUE—A state district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Bernalillo County man who accused Sandia Resort & Casino of not paying him a jackpot of nearly $1.6 million.

Gary Hoffman claimed he was playing a slot machine in August 2006 when hit the jackpot. The casino refused to pay, saying the machine wasn't working properly and that Hoffman had actually won about $400.

Hoffman alleged the casino violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act and he sued for the jackpot winnings plus punitive damages.

Paul Bardacke, an attorney representing Sandia Pueblo, argued that the tribe couldn't be sued in state district court because of sovereign immunity, and Judge Linda Vanzi agreed during a hearing Monday.

Hoffman's attorney, Sam Bregman, said he will appeal the ruling.

Bregman argued that tribal sovereignty wasn't meant to protect tribes from luring people to their casinos and then cheating them out of their winnings.

"This decision has national implications," he said. "There are billions of dollars at stake when it comes to Indian gaming and the idea that they never have to be held accountable is very troubling."

previously on TribalWatch:
Ripped off on the Reservation

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What is wrong with sovereign immunity

In America - if a child were to be sexually assaulted in a day care center, the day care would be shut down (for more than a week or two) and the employees held to account along with the owners. The victim and family would have their day in court. But in a dictatorial regime where they build Indian casinos sovereign immunity protects all the guilty parties. It may get to court but all the tribe does is send in their attorney - he tells the judge 'no jurisdiction' and its over. The attorney for the victim's family in the story below from the AP says ""The family's main concern right now is to make sure this doesn't happen to another kid." Good luck with that.

Child Accused of Sex Assault of Boy, 3
By PATRICK CONDON – Jan 31, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An American Indian tribe has closed the child-care centers at its two casinos while authorities investigate a reported sexual assault by a child against a 3-year-old boy.

Tribal authorities said the suspect is a boy between 8 and 10 years old but wouldn't identify him further or discuss whether he was in custody. The police report will remain confidential at least until the investigation is finished, tribal police Sgt. Justin Churchill said.

The 3-year-old was attacked Jan. 23 inside a crawling tube in a play area at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, in the central Minnesota town of Onamia, run by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

A worker noticed bruises on the boy and had his parent paged in the casino, tribal attorney Tadd Johnson said. The next day, the parent noticed more bruising and took the boy to a doctor, who concluded a sexual assault may have happened.

Johnson said that the suspect was identified from surveillance video, but that the tube obscured footage of the actual assault.

Criminal charges against the older boy won't be possible under state law if he is younger than 10, said Mille Lacs County prosecutor Jan Kolb, whose office would handle any resulting criminal case. She said she hadn't yet reviewed the case for possible charges.

She and Johnson said that if the older boy isn't charged, a social services agency could intervene to investigate his family situation.

The Kids Quest child-care center at that casino and the tribe's other casino in nearby Hinckley will remain closed at least until the investigation ends, Johnson said.

"We're doing everything we can to get a quick and accurate resolution to the case," he said.

Both of the casinos' child-care centers are operated by New Horizon Academy, a Twin Cities company that leases space from casinos in 11 states and runs freestanding day-care centers.

In a written statement, New Horizon said employees failed to follow its "comprehensive" procedures to keep children safe.

"We deeply regret the actions of these employees," spokeswoman Beth LaBreche said in the statement. Company officials declined Thursday to answer questions about the assault or the status of the employees being accused of not following procedures.

Richard Ruohonen, an attorney for the victim's family, said the younger boy had bruises and scratches on his face, arm and back. The attorney said it was unbelievable such an assault wasn't stopped.

"The family's main concern right now is to make sure this doesn't happen to another kid," he said.