Three of the suspects charged in theft of 78 firearms

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FARMINGTON — The San Juan County Sheriff's Office has arrested five suspects involved in an alleged racketeering ring. They are accused of engaging crimes including methamphetamine trafficking, extortion and the theft of nearly 80 firearms.

Stephen Dye, Wiatt Jones, Kyle McDonald, Robert Walker and John Williams are accused of a variety of charges including a second-degree felony count of racketeering, according to a Sheriff's Office press release.

Dye, McDonald and Jones were charged in the alleged theft of 78 firearms, including rifles and handguns, from a residence east of Bloomfield in January, according to court documents.

Dye is accused of 87 charges including extortion, trafficking methamphetamine, distribution of marijuana and 78 counts of conspiracy to commit larceny of firearm.

McDonald is accused of 84 charges including conspiracy to commit trafficking methamphetamine, burglary of a structure, criminal damage to property and 78 counts of larceny of a firearm.

Jones is accused of 79 charges including 78 counts of larceny of a firearm.

Steve Murphy, Jones' attorney, said there is absolutely no evidence of any racketeering and any larceny of any firearm.

Dye, McDonald, Walker and Williams did not have a public defender assigned to their cases this morning.

When search warrants were executed on Dye's residence in January, the 78 stolen firearms were located along with a plastic bag with about 18 grams of suspected methamphetamine and about a quarter pound of marijuana in multiple plastic bags.

Body armor and a "pineapple grenade" were found in a room in Dye's residence.

The Farmington Police Bomb Squad determined the grenade was a live device.

The firearms were allegedly stolen from a relative of Jones who lives east of Bloomfield, according to court documents.

The alleged victim told the detective Jones stated he took the firearms during an altercation.

The firearms were stored in a safe, which was found with multiple holes and multiple spots where the door of the safe was damaged.

A review of text messages found on Williams' cell phone showed some of the suspects conspiring to keep the victim of a battery case involving Walker from testifying, according to court documents.

Dye, McDonald, Walker and Williams are being held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a no bond hold.

Jones was released from the county jail per a court order.

Williams, Walker and McDonald have their preliminary examination set for Thursday morning. Dye and Jones' preliminary examination is set for the morning of Feb. 14.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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