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Press Release

Jicarilla Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Tyson Atole, 30, an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation who resides in Dulce, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assault charges arising out of two separate incidents during which he attacked Native American women.

Atole was arrested in Feb. 2016, on an indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon, a bottle, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The indictment alleged that Atole committed the crimes on May 2, 2015, on the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation in Rio Arriba County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Atole pled guilty to one count of the indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and admitted assaulting a woman with a bottle on May 2, 2015.  Atole also plead guilty to a felony information charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and admitted assaulting another woman and causing her to sustain serious bodily injury by intentionally striking her with his fist on Jan. 28, 2016.  Atole admitted committing both crimes on the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation.

Atole was remanded into custody after entering his guilty plea.  He will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Atole faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in federal prison on each of the two assault charges.

 This case was investigated by the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Spindle. 

This case was brought as part of 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 American 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 May 16, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice