Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Deputy Charley Armendariz Implicated MCSO "Command Staff," Says Activist Lydia Guzman

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She told him she wasn't sure about watching his house, but that she could drive by his house for a welfare check.

"Then I heard on the news that he quit the MCSO," she explains. "The moment I learned that, I called the Department of Justice, and the FBI. I left them several messages, e-mails. I said, `Guys, he's no longer with MCSO.'"

But she's still unclear on whether the FBI and/or the DOJ took advantage of the opportunity to speak with a newly-unemployed Armendariz.

Neither the DOJ, nor the FBI, have responded to my requests for comment on this story.

Similarly, I've asked the MCSO to respond to the allegations in this piece, and have yet to receive a response.

Guzman says she passed in front of Armendariz's house in the early afternoon of the day Armendariz was found dead by the MCSO. No one was around, and Armendariz's truck was parked nearby. So she figured he had gotten his ankle bracelet and all was well.

But when she rolled by again later that afternoon, she saw MCSO patrol cars and SWAT vehicles. The MCSO had sought Armendariz's arrest, after he failed to pick up his monitoring device.

Armendariz's lifeless body was discovered instead.

Guzman says Armendariz never described to her the criminal activity he may have been involved in, and whenever he tried to do so, she told him that she didn't want to know.

She wanted Armendariz to speak directly to the DOJ, she says, and she did not want her position to be compromised.

Interestingly, during a May 7 hearing before Judge G. Murray Snow, the court and the parties in Melendres discussed the implications of the Armendariz case, one day before Armendariz supposedly killed himself.

Arpaio's Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan told the court how the MCSO had recently interviewed Armendariz.

"We did interview Charley," Sheridan explained, according to the unsealed transcript of the hearing. "We interviewed him on Friday [May 2]. Criminally, he invoked. So we have a stopped criminal interview on that.

"We started an administrative interview. He talked to us for about an hour and a half. The first hour or so was just chitchat about getting him to loosen up to talk to us. Then when we started asking him specific questions about these things he began to implicate some other people that worked at HSU, kind of accusing them of doing it and he was innocent, and then he shut up. And then he resigned Friday afternoon. And so we -- he stopped the interview."

Judge Snow asked if the MCSO was investigating whether Armendariz had been "shaking down some illegal aliens."

Sheridan replied, "That is part of our understanding; he very well could have. What's mysterious to me is why we didn't get any complaints from those people."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons