Fire chief accused of setting fires tribe was paid to fight

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The former head of an American Indian reservation’s volunteer fire department is accused of setting fires the tribe was paid to fight.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas says former Kickapoo Tribal Volunteer Fire Department chief Stephen Ramirez of Horton was charged Wednesday with four federal counts of wire fraud. Former volunteer firefighter Arlene Negonsott also was indicted on the same charges.

Prosecutors say Ramirez recruited Negonsott to set fires on the Kickapoo reservation from July to November 2015 that the fire department was called to fight.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs paid the fire department $600 for each fire it fought. The indictment alleges the defendants set six fires on the reservation.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he didn’t know if either defendant had an attorney.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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