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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Intimate Partner

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Sonny Roy Valdez, 19, a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation, entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a federal assault charge.  The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Valdez was arrested on June 5, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  According to the criminal complaint, Valdez assaulted his intimate partner, a Mescalero Apache woman, on May 27, 2014, by biting off part of her lip.  The victim’s injuries required medical treatment and hospitalization. The offense occurred within the Mescalero Apache Reservation in Otero County, N.M. 

Today Valdez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and admitted assaulting the victim. 

Valdez has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Valdez faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Mescalero Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron O. Jordan of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

The case was brought pursuant to 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.
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Updated January 26, 2015