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Press Release

Fruitland Man Charged with Assault

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

ALBUQUERQUE – A Fruitland man is facing federal charges following allegations that he and his brother instigated a confrontation at a residence which culminated in a standoff with law enforcement officers. Justin Tso, 36, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, appeared in federal court for an initial appearance where the Court detained him pending a detention hearing, which has been scheduled for April 12, 2024.

The criminal complaint alleges that on March 23, 2024, Tso and his brother, Walliford Tso, went to Jane Doe’s home in Fruitland, New Mexico. Tso went into Jane Doe's home and asked for a cigarette. When she told him that she had no cigarettes, Tso took a machete that was lying near the front door without permission, then left.

Jane Doe’s significant other, John Doe 1, yelled after the brothers and a verbal altercation followed. After the exchange, the brothers chased John Doe 1 into the house and assaulted him.  John Doe 1 was able to get away by slipping out of his shirt and exited the house with Jane Doe and their small child. The brothers followed and continued to assault John Doe 1.  Jane Doe and John Doe called 911 using their cellphone. A Navajo Police Department officer arrived shortly after the incident and detained Tso.

Tso is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and aiding and abetting. If convicted of the current charges, Tso faces up to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office, made the announcement today.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Meg Tomlinson is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated April 11, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-144