May 9, 2019

Arrest Made for the October 2017 Vandalism of Nestora Granillo Piarote Memorial Statue on Tigua Reservation

On May 9, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a federal arrest warrant for the October 2017 vandalism of the Nestora Granillo Piarote Memorial Statue located adjacent to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Cultural Center on the Tigua Reservation.

In Atlanta, Georgia, 28-year old Justin Haggerty, former U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Bliss, was arrested for the alleged vandalizing of the memorial statue on Columbus Day 2017. Haggerty allegedly poured red paint onto the statue, along with placing a large red wooden cross in front of the statue.

Haggerty has been charged with one count of 18 U.S.C. 1363 Malicious Mischief regarding Building or Property within Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction and one count of 18 U.S.C. 1152 Laws Governing Indian Country.

Haggerty had his initial appearance today, May 9, 2019, in the Northern District of Georgia and will be transferred to the Western District of Texas by the United States Marshals Service.

“This arrest will serve to remind those who would commit such crimes, that the FBI will aggressively investigative these cases and work tirelessly to bring those who perpetrate violence to justice,” said Emmerson Buie, Jr., FBI El Paso special agent in charge. The Federal Bureau of Investigation El Paso Division investigated this case with assistance from Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Division, Tigua Tribal Police, El Paso Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Government.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.