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Press Release

Member of Navajo Nation pleads guilty to aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country

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

              ALBUQUERQUE – Derrick Mason, 24, of Fruitland, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty in federal court on Sept. 21 to an indictment charging him with aggravated sexual abuse, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and aggravated burglary in Indian Country.

              A grand jury previously returned an indictment against Mason on Jan. 10, 2019.

According to the plea agreement, Mason acknowledged that on the evening of Oct. 16, 2015, he went to the victim’s house in Nenahnezad, New Mexico, and turned off the circuit breakers, an electrical service box located outside of her home. When the victim stepped outside to check on the circuit breakers, Mason used the opportunity to enter her house, where he hid until she fell asleep. At about 1:00 a.m., Mason went to the victim’s bed, dragged her to the side of the bed, and sexually assaulted her twice. He punched the victim in the face several times and strangled her until she lost consciousness. As a result of Mason’s attack, the victim suffered serious bodily injury.  The attack took place within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation in San Juan County.

              Mason is in custody, pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. By the terms of the plea agreement, he faces 17 years in prison.

              The Farmington office of the FBI, the Navajo Nation Criminal Investigations unit, and the Navajo Nation Police Department investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Raquel Ruiz-Velez is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 28, 2020

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-170