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Press Release

Member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe pleads guilty to federal charge of assault by strangling

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

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Stephen C. Waites Jr., 32, of Mescalero, New Mexico pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 24 to assault on an intimate partner by strangling.

            A grand jury previously indicted Waites for this offense on Aug. 28, 2018.  In his plea agreement, Waites admitted punching and strangling his girlfriend at their home on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in Indian Country on July 26, 2018.  Both Waites and the victim are enrolled members of the Mescalero Apache Tribe.

            Waites is currently in custody awaiting sentencing. He faces a sentence of 37 up to 10 years in prison. 

            The FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 2, 2020

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-055