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Press Release

Mescalero Apache Man Sentenced for Federal Assault Conviction Arising Out of Drive-By Shooting

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Rufus Juan Lester, 23, a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation, was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for his assault conviction.  Lester was sentenced to 66 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Lester was arrested on Aug. 6, 2013, on a criminal complaint alleging that he fired multiple shots at a residence located on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in the early hours of Nov. 24, 2012.  Lester subsequently was indicted and charged with eight counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of discharging firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence.

On May 16, 2014, Lester pled guilty to Counts 1 through 8 of the indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon.  In his plea agreement, Lester admitted riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle while another person drove past a residence in Mescalero, N.M.  As the vehicle went past the residence, Lester used two rifles to shoot at the residence.  Lester acknowledged that the residence was occupied by two adults and six children at the time of the shooting, and that he assaulted each of the occupants when he shot at the residence.

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

Updated January 26, 2015