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Press Release

Fruitland Man Pleads Guilty to Charges Arising from Machete Attack on Motorist

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

ALBUQUERQUE – A Fruitland man pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening a driver, brandishing a machete and hatchet, stealing her car, and leading police on a high-speed chase.

In his plea agreement, Brandon Barber, 38, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, admitted that on May 9, 2022, Jane Doe was driving her Jeep when his co-defendant, Lindsey Yazzie, threw a large rock at the windshield, forcing her to stop. Barber then attacked Jane Doe’s vehicle with a machete and hatchet, smashing the windshield and windows.

Barber and Yazzie then pulled Jane Doe from the vehicle, and Barber proceeded to steal Jane Doe's Jeep, briefly stopping to allow Yazzie to enter the vehicle as a passenger. As Barber drove away in the stolen Jeep, he saw Jane Doe standing in the roadway and accelerated the vehicle towards Jane Doe, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

When encountered by the Navajo Police Department, Barber led them on a high-speed chase until the police were forced to terminate the pursuit due to public safety risks.

The Court ordered that Barber remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

At sentencing, Barber faces up to 15 years in prison. Upon his release from prison, Barber will be subject to up to three years of supervised release.

Lindsey Yazzie is currently scheduled to stand trial on July 8, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, made the announcement today.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Robert James Booth II is prosecuting the case.

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Updated May 20, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-180