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Press Release

Federal charges brought in Fruitland abuse case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced that Derek Lorin Blackhorse was arraigned on Sept. 29 on a three-count indictment charging him with attempted aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and attempted sexual abuse. Blackhorse, 33, of Fruitland, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Blackhorse on Aug. 23. According to the indictment and other court records, on May 28, 2021, Blackhorse allegedly engaged in abusive sexual contact with a minor victim, identified as Jane Doe. The indictment also alleges that Blackhorse attempted to engage in sexual activity with Jane Doe.

In a separate incident on June 21, 2021, Blackhorse allegedly attempted to engage in a sexual act with a minor victim, identified in the indictment as John Doe.

Jane Doe and John Doe are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation and the alleged offenses occurred on the Navajo Nation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Blackhorse faces a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Mark Pfizenmayer is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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Updated October 3, 2022

Project Safe Childhood
Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 22-215