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Press Release

Jury Convicts Dulce Man of Aggravated Sexual Abuse

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI Albuquerque Office, announced today that on Jan. 19, 2024, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict against Joel Ruiz, 65, of Dulce, after a day and a half of deliberation. The jury convicted Ruiz of aggravated sexual abuse. Judge David H. Urias presided.

A federal grand jury issued an indictment against Ruiz on March 8, 2022. According to evidence presented at trial and other publicly available court records, between January 2016 and January 2020, Ruiz used candy to lure a child under the age of 12 into his trailer where he sexually assaulted her. The incident occurred on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, but neither Ruiz, nor the victim, are registered members of the tribe.

During her testimony, Jane Doe 1 testified that Ruiz abused her when she was six or seven years old.   The jury also heard from Jane Doe 2, who testified that Ruiz abused her once when she was three or four years old. Jane Does 1 and 2 both stated that Ruiz lured them into his trailer by offering them candy and described the same form of abuse.

Ruiz will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled. At sentencing, Ruiz faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to life in prison.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with the assistance of the Jicarilla Apache Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Caitlin L. Dillon and Matthew J. McGinley are prosecuting the case.

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Updated January 20, 2024

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