ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An ongoing federal investigation into fake Native American jewelry resulted in a second set of indictments earlier this month.
The investigation began in 2012 and has spanned several states, including New Mexico, where stores were selling jewelry actually made in the Philippines as “Navajo” or Indian, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.
“The indictments filed as a result of this continuing investigation are not only about enforcing the law, but also about protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of Native Americans,” Damon Martinez, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, said in a statement.
Imad Aysheh, Iyad Aysheh, Nedal Aysheh, Raed Aysheh and Nael Ali were all indicted earlier this month on conspiracy charges and for violating the Indian Arts and Craft Act. The group operates at least eight stores across the country, according to the indictment.
Ali, Christina Bowen and Mohammed Abed Manasra were indicted on similar charges in 2015 as part of the same federal investigation.
A federal court website indicates that some of the men from the recent case have already been appointed attorneys and pleaded not guilty to the charges, while others were still awaiting…