News and Press Releases

Laguna Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Laguna Pueblo
Woman and a Federally Commissioned Tribal Police Officer

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Preston Marmolejo, 32, a member and resident of Laguna Pueblo, pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of a four-count indictment under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Marmolejo will be sentenced to a prison term within the range of 100 to 120 months followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Marmolejo was arrested on Dec. 2, 2013, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault on a federal officer.  He subsequently was charged in a four-count indictment with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assaulting a federal officer, and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

According to court filings, on Nov. 29, 2013, officers of the Pueblo of Laguna Police Department responded to a domestic violence call reporting that Marmolejo was assaulting his girlfriend, a Laguna Pueblo woman, with a knife. When the tribal officers arrived at Marmalejo’s residence, Marmolejo was holding a shotgun.  Marmolejo disregarded the tribal officers’ commands that he put the weapon down and instead fired towards the officers and injured an officer who is federally commissioned by the BIA.

During today’s proceedings, Marmolejo entered guilty pleas to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and assaulting a federal officer, respectively.  In his plea agreement, Marmolejo admitted assaulting the female victim with a knife and the federal commissioned tribal police officer with a shotgun.

Marmolejo is in federal custody and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Laguna Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez. 

The case was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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