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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Acoma Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Intimate Partner

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Hugh H. Poncho, 27, a member and resident of Acoma Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting his intimate partner.  Under the terms of his plea agreement Poncho will be sentenced to eight months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Poncho was arrested on Sept. 15, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting an intimate partner by strangulation.  According to the complaint, on Sept. 11, 2014, officers of the Acoma Pueblo Tribal Police Department responded to a report of assault occurring in Acoma Pueblo in Cibola County, N.M.  The complaint alleged that Poncho assaulted the victim, an Acoma Pueblo woman, by punching, kicking, head-butting and strangling her.

During today’s proceedings, Poncho entered a guilty plea to a felony information and admitted assaulting the victim by pushing her and causing her to fall.  Poncho also admitted kicking the victim on her legs, punching her in the face, and head-butting her in the forehead.   Poncha acknowledged that the victim sustained temporary but substantial injuries as a result of the assault.

 This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Acoma Pueblo Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shammara H. Henderson.

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.

Updated March 4, 2015