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Justice News

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Acoma Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Intimate Partner by Strangulation

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Brian J. Juanico, 37, a member and resident of the Acoma Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty today to an indictment charging him with three counts of assault of an intimate partner by strangulation.  The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Juanico was arrested on Aug. 15, 2014, on a criminal complaint alleging that on April 6, 2014, he assaulted his intimate partner, an Acoma Pueblo woman, by strangulation.  According to the complaint, Juanico committed the crime on the Acoma Indian Reservation in Cibola County, N.M.  Court records reflect that Juanico was arrested on related tribal charges on May 1, 2014.

Juanico was indicted in Sept. 2014, in an indictment charging him with assaulting his intimate partner on April 6, 2014.  The indictment alleged that Juanico strangled and attempted to suffocate the victim three separate and distinct times on that day.

Today Juanico pled guilty to all three counts of the indictment.  He was remanded into federal custody after entering his guilty plea and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing Juanico faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.

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. Attorneys Novaline D. Wilson and 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.

Updated February 5, 2015