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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kewa Pueblo Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Assault Conviction

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Ruben Cheykaychi, 29, an enrolled member and resident of Kewa Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 28 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on an assault charge.

The BIA arrested Cheykaychi in May 2017, on an indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm.  According to the indictment, Cheykaychi committed the crime on April 20, 2016, on the Kewa Pueblo Indian Reservation in Sandoval County, N.M.

On Feb. 27, 2018, Cheykaychi pled guilty to the indictment and admitted assaulting his former girlfriend on April 20, 2016, after seeing her vehicle parked in an area of Kewa Pueblo.  In his plea agreement, Cheykaychi stated that, after a failed attempt to engage the victim in conversation, he became upset and began yelling at her.  Cheykaychi admitted retrieving a BB gun, which resembled a real handgun, from his vehicle and holding it to the victim’s head while threatening to shoot her.  He also admitted putting the BB gun in the victim’s mouth while continuing to yell at her and threatening her, and attempting to take her car keys from her to prevent her from escaping.

This case was investigated by Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA, Office of Justice Services.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Marshall prosecuted the case 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 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.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Updated July 19, 2018