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Immigration Day 4: Recap of Crimes of the year

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of the fourth day in a seven-day series about the cost of immigration.

Over the past year, several crimes involving illegal or questionable immigrants have made major headlines.

They include:

• Joel Medina-Ortiz allegedly stabbed Daniel Cook, 22, and then slashed his brother Lance's arm in Prescott on Oct. 28, 2006.

Mark McClain of the Prescott Police Department said, "The suspect Joel Medina-Ortiz has reportedly fled back into Mexico."

He was an illegal alien, as were the other four men police arrested in the case.

Daniel and Lance Cook were trying to pull into the parking lot of a motel on Gurley Street when they got into an argument with two Hispanic men who were blocking the entrance.

Those men came back later with at least four others and, in the ensuing altercation, Daniel Cook suffered a fatal stab wound and Lance Cook suffered a slashing wound on his arm.

Police subsequently arrested Carlos Medina Sixto-Gill, 24, Miguel Medina-Ortiz, 23, and Eric Ortiz-Hernandez, 19, and a 17-year-old juvenile on rioting charges.

This is a long way from the first time local authorities have dealt with tragedy inflicted by someone who then made it back across the border.

• On Christmas Eve, 1998, a Ford Ranger plowed into a truck carrying 33-year-old Candice Adamson, her husband and two sons - one 5 and one 12.

The crash killed Adamson and injured the rest of her family and a passenger in the Ranger. The driver of the Ranger, then 34-year-old Manuel Dera, disappeared shortly after the crash. Authorities now believe him to be in Mexico.

• On April 6, 2007, Prescott Valley police pursued a reckless driver and 10 hours later arrested three fugitives at Robert Road Baptist Church.

Members of the Prescott Valley Police Department Special Response Team arrested the trio in the attic of the 7,000-square-foot church after combing the building for more than three hours.

They arrested a Hispanic man and woman shortly after 8 p.m., and caught the other suspect - a bare-chested Hispanic man with a shaved head - about 20 minutes later, said police spokeswoman Jennifer Miller.

• On August 19, witnesses on Vallejo Street reported hearing gunfire and officers later arrested Jesse Frias, 21, and charged him with

disorderly conduct with a firearm and aggravated assault charges.

Lt. Ken Morley said Frias allegedly fired a gun in the air three times during an initial altercation with a 28-year-old Prescott man and a 16-year-old suspect who were arguing over a girl.

Frias allegedly fired more shots and hit a City of Prescott trashcan. Frias is a legal resident.

• On Aug. 30, only a day after 70 residents from the Vallejo Street area met to take back their community, police arrested a burglary suspect after two residents called in suspicious activity.

Police arrested 18-year-old Samuel J. Reyes and booked him into Yavapai County Jail on two counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of criminal trespassing, and one count of minor consumption of alcohol.

Officials said a resident called Prescott Police to the 500 block of First Street about a possible burglary in progress. The caller said a man appeared to be breaking into a neighbor's vehicle. However, police said the suspect fled before they arrived.

Police received another call from a resident on Lincoln Street reporting another possible burglary in progress. The caller said a man was walking around the neighborhood, looking in windows, and had gone into a garage. When police arrived, they found the owner of the garage and a neighbor detaining Reyes.

After further investigation, police said Reyes was the same person who allegedly burglarized the vehicle on First Street. Prescott Police Lt. Ken Morley said that after officials took Reyes to the Camp Verde Jail, he did admit involvement in the burglaries. Reyes is a legal resident.

At the time of arrest, Morley said police found women's earrings, a portable CD player with an adapter for a vehicle, three $100 bills and $19.08 in coins on Reyes.

"We are extremely pleased with how the neighborhood handled that (incident). Watching out for each other is the best deterrent of crime," Morley said.

A group of Vallejo Street area residents met with Prescott Police officials and city council members Tuesday at the Dexter Family Resource Center to discuss concerns of drug dealing, transients, illegal immigrants, speed demons, and guns taking over their neighborhood.

Contact the reporter at jtwaddell@prescottaz.com


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