News and Press Releases

Laguna Puelbo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting
his Intimate Parnter by Strangulation

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Brian Dyea, 28, pleaded guilty this morning to an indictment charging him with assaulting an intimate partner by strangulation.  The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, DuWayne W. Honahni, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of District IV of BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and Acting Chief Brian Carr of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department.

Dyea, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna who resides in Mesita, N.M., was arrested on Jan 21, 2014, on a criminal complaint alleging that he assaulted his intimate partner, a Laguna Pueblo woman, by strangling and biting her.  Dyea subsequently was indicted and charged with assaulting his intimate partner by strangulation on Jan. 12, 2014 in a location within the Pueblo of Laguna.

In entering his guilty plea, Dyea admitted assaulting the victim on Jan. 12, 2014, by biting her and strangling her, by placing his hands around her neck and impeding her normal breathing.  Dyea acknowledged that the victim suffered contusions to her forehead and foot, three bite-marks to her left hand and forearm, a wrist sprain, and a head injury with the loss of consciousness as a result of the assault. 

Dyea has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  He faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Laguna Agency of BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams.  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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