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Tue, Sept. 17

Grand jury indicts couple in alleged murder plot

PRESCOTT – A Chino Valley couple who allegedly offered drugs and a motorcycle to an undercover cop to contract the death of another officer now face formal conspiracy and solicitation charges.

A Yavapai County grand jury returned a formal indictment against Joshua Long, 23, and his wife, Deidre, 39, on Thursday, charging each with solicitation of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of drug paraphernalia, weapons misconduct and child abuse. Joshua Long faces an additional charge of resisting arrest.

The grand jury action precludes a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for today. The Longs, whose next court appearance will be for their arraignment before Judge Howard Hinson Jr. Aug. 28, are in the Yavapai County Jail. A magistrate judge denied them bail on the current charges because they were already on release pending trial on a drug case.

Chino Valley Police Officer Mark Garcia, an 11-year veteran who until recently served on the undercover Prescott Area Narcotics Task Force (PANT), was the target of the alleged plot. Garcia and the Longs have had at least three run-ins in the recent past, but it was the Prescott Police Department who put the couple in their most recent legal jeopardy, busting the pair at a local motel and charging them with possession of dangerous drugs – methamphetamine – and possession of drug paraphernalia. Deidre Long has an additional pending case in which she faces charges of conspiracy to possess chemicals and equipment to manufacture methamphetamine and attempted possession of the dangerous drug.

That case is set for trial Sept. 13 before Judge Hinson, but may be delayed because of the new case. A conviction on the conspiracy to commit murder charge carries a potential life sentence, and the maximum penalty for solicitation of murder is 8.75 years.

A detective posed as a hit man after local drug agents learned of the Longs alleged desire to kill Garcia. His undercover work led to the couple's Aug. 9 arrest.

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