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Press Release

Man from Mescalero faces federal assault charges

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

ALBUQERQUE, N.M. – Lance Cojo, 35, of Mescalero, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, appeared in federal court on Feb.1 for a preliminary and detention hearing on charges of assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to an intimate partner and assault of an intimate partner by strangulation in Indian Country. Cojo will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

According to the criminal complaint, on the evening of Dec. 31, 2021, through Jan. 1, 2022, Cojo allegedly assault the victim, identified in records as A.K., at her residence on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, in Otero County. Cojo allegedly accused A.K. of cheating on him and assaulted her by stomping on her foot, hitting her in the head multiple times, biting her cheek, burning her shoulder using a smoking pipe and choking her. The next morning, Cojo again allegedly accused A.K. of cheating and grabbed her from her bed, where she and her children were lying, and began to choke her and kick her.

The victim, who is also a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, was taken to a medical center for her injuries where she was treated for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs, bruising to both eyes, face, neck and ribs.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Cojo faces up to ten years in prison.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matilda McCarthy Villalobos is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 3, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 22-23