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DA files charges over casino incident

At a press conference late Friday afternoon Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz released the names of 15 individuals who have been charged in connection to the takeover incident on Oct. 9, at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.

Fourteen defendants were hit with a variety of charges including seven counts of kidnapping, seven counts of false imprisonment, eight counts of assault with a firearm, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of battery inflicting serious bodily injury, and five counts of assault with a stun gun.

Those being charged include David Lee Dixon, Timothy Tofaute, Tex McDonald, Shawn Fernandez, John Olivera, Tyrone Mark Twain Bishop, Vernon King, Benjamin James Rhodes, Jim Glasscock, Brian Lec Auchenbach, John David Cayanne, Ronald Jones, David Paul Anderson, and Miguel Ramos.

In separate charges Eric Domingo Flores Suniga is charged with five counts of assault with a stun gun.According to a press release many of the defendants are also charged with various special allegations for processing and using firearms during an alleged crime.

All charges are considered felonies and are punishable by imprisonment.

The charges come following an investigation by the Madera County Sheriff’s Department which submitted recommendations on Oct. 28, 2014 that charges be filed.

In a released statement David Leibowtiz, spokesman for the on-site tribal council, said he believes non of the members of the on-site tribal council or casino police did anything illegal and were well within their right to take control of the casino.

"These officers and tribal leaders had the authority necessary to regain control of the Tribal Gaming Commission, which had been taken by force from the Council weeks prior in an incident Madera County law enforcement did nothing to prevent or to stop," Leibowits said. "Our police officers and leaders put no patrons in danger and they harmed no one. In fact, the only patrons truly endangered in this incident were subjected to a gun pointed at them by the amateur security guards hired by the Lewis/Ayala faction."

Leibowitz said his clients plan to fully cooperate with the district attorney.

"We fully intend to work cooperatively with the District Attorney's Office to bring this matter to a quick conclusion and to clear these trained professionals' and leaders' names, just as we will continue to pursue justice for the Chukchansi people in the eyes of the law," Leibowitz

All charges are allegations and each defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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