Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Federal Employee
ALBUQUERQUE – Charles L. Palmer, 23, of Farmington, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting a federal employee who was engaged in the performance of his official duties.
On Nov. 19, 2013, Palmer was charged in a two-count indictment with (1) assaulting a federal employee, and (2) driving a motor vehicle on federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) while under the influence of alcohol. According to the indictment, Palmer assaulted a BLM Ranger on May 25, 2013 and drove a vehicle in the Glade Run Recreational Area, which is located on federal lands administered by BLM, while under the influence of alcohol.
Today, Palmer entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of the indictment. According to the plea agreement, on May 25, 2013, Palmer was drinking beer at the Glade Run Recreation Area with about 30 other individuals. When two marked patrol vehicles with flashing emergency lights approached the group, Palmer got into his truck and began to drive away. A uniformed BLM Ranger tried to stop Palmer from driving away and ordered him to stop. Palmer disregarded the Ranger’s directions and instead struggled with the Ranger while the truck continued to move forward. As the truck passed a tree, the tree knocked the Ranger to the ground and Palmer accidently ran over the Ranger with his truck. Palmer then escaped in his truck and Deputy Sheriffs from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office apprehended Palmer later that day. In entering his guilty plea, Palmer admitted that his actions constituted a crime because the Ranger was performing his official duties.
According to court records, the BLM Ranger was not seriously injured and did not sustain any permanent impairment as a result of the assault.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Palmer faces a sentence not to exceed 14 months in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000, obtain an ignition interlock device for two years, and restitution to the BLM Ranger as ordered by the court.
This case was investigated by the BLM with assistance from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Pflugrath.