Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NC Times Reports Leroy Miranda Arrested

NC Times - PALA: Tribe's vice chairman arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public

The vice chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public at the tribe's casino early Saturday morning, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Deputies were called to the casino at 1:47 a.m., according to a Sheriff's Department report. Pala Vice Chairman Leroy Miranda, 46, was arrested shortly after deputies arrived at 2:56 a.m. Miranda was booked into the Vista jail at 4:13 a.m. and later released, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Officials at the Valley Center sheriff's station declined Tuesday to comment on the details of the incident.

Miranda was elected vice chairman of the tribe in 2001, one of six members of the tribe's governing council. He is the director of the Cupa Cultural Center, a museum on the reservation, according to the tribe's website.

Doug Elmets, a spokesman for Pala, said the tribe is reviewing the incident and declined further comment.

"The allegations are currently under investigation and the executive committee of the tribe will review the circumstances of the incident," Elmets said in a written statement.

Miranda was previously cited for allegedly soliciting a prostitute at the Happy Time Adult Book Store Nov. 6, 2009, in Moreno Valley, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct in February 2010.

Under the terms of the plea, Miranda agreed to pay a fine of $570, enroll in an AIDS education program, stay away from the Happy Time Adult Book Store and wear an electronic monitoring device, also known as an ankle bracelet.

The Pala tribe owns one of the largest casinos in the county, the Pala Resort & Casino, east of Fallbrook on Highway 76.

In recent years, the tribe has been embroiled in a bitter internal dispute over its membership. Tribal leaders have expelled 154 people who they say do not meet the requirements to belong to the 900-member tribe.
The feud goes back years, but critics say the removal of the tribal members was spurred by a failed effort to recall Miranda last year. Former Pala Chairman King Freeman, whose family members were expelled from the tribe, told the North County Times last year that the recall effort began after he learned about Miranda's 2009 arrest in Moreno Valley.

Miranda could not be reached for comment by phone Tuesday afternoon at the Cupa Cultural Center.