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Press Release

Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Failing to Update his Sex Offender Registration

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Dabert Wayne Comanche, 34, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).  The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and U.S. Marshal Conrad E. Candelaria.

SORNA, also known as the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act, requires that a convicted sex offender register in each jurisdiction where the offender resides, where the offender is employed, or where the offender is a student, and that the sex offender maintain current registrations.

Comanche was charged in a criminal complaint on Feb. 23, 2016, with violating SORNA by failing to update his sex offender registration.  On March 23, 2016, Comanche was indicted on that same charge.  According to the indictment, Comanche failed to update his registration between April 7, 2014 and Feb. 20, 2016, San Juan County, N.M.

According to the criminal complaint, Comanche was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country in April 2003 and was sentenced to a 78-month prison term.  On June 1, 2011, Comanche registered as a sex offender in Mescalero, and agreed to notify the jurisdiction to which he moved if he relocated outside of the jurisdiction.  Thereafter, Comanche failed to register as a sex offender with the Mescalero Apache Tribe.

During today’s hearing, Comanche pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that he was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in April 2003, and was required to register as a sex offender as a result of that conviction.  Comanche further admitted that he last reported to the Mescalero Apache Nation on Jan. 7, 2014 and should have reported in April 2014, but failed to comply.

At sentencing, Comanche faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in federal prison followed by not less than five years of supervised release.  Comanche will be required to register as a sex offender following his prison sentence.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Marshall is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 6, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice