Former Fort Bliss soldier charged in connection with Tigua statue vandalism

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A former Fort Bliss soldier suspected of vandalizing a Tigua statue in 2017 was arrested in Georgia on Thursday.

Justin Haggerty, 28, was arrested on May 9 by the U.S. Marshals Service on a warrant. He used to be stationed at Fort Bliss and a news release from the FBI says that on Columbus Day 2017, he allegedly poured red paint onto the Nestora Granillo Piarote Memorial Statue and placed large red wooden crosses in front of it.

The statue is located adjacent to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Cultural Center on the Tigua Reservation. 

Haggerty is facing one count of malicious mischief regarding a building or property within a special maritime or territorial jurisdiction and one count of violating laws governing Indian Country.

An FBI news release says he will be transferred back to El Paso for further court appearances. 

“This arrest will serve to remind those who would commit such crimes, that the FBI will aggressively investigative these cases and work tirelessly to bring those who perpetrate violence to justice,” said Emmerson Buie, Jr., FBI El Paso Special Agent in Charge, in the release. 

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