A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the former chief of the Kickapoo tribe’s volunteer fire department on allegations he ignited the grass fires his crews were paid to fight, according to news release from Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall.
Stephen D. Ramirez, 26, of Horton was charged with four counts of wire fraud. The indictment accuses him of recruiting 34-year-old volunteer firefighter Arlene M. Negonsott to set six fires on the Kickapoo Reservation from July to November 2015. The Bureau of Indian Affairs had a contract with the tribe that paid it $600 for each fire it fought, Beall said. The reservation is in northeastern Kansas.
If convicted, Ramirez faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count. Negonsott, also of Horton, is charged with the same crimes, Beall said.