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Press Release

Mescalero man pleads guilty to domestic assault

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Lance Cojo, 36, of Mescalero, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, pleaded guilty on April 26 in federal court to one count of assault of an intimate or dating partner resulting in substantial bodily injury and one count of assault of an intimate or dating partner by strangling. Cojo will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

In his plea agreement, Cojo admitted that on Dec. 31, 2021, on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, in Otero County, Mexico, he assaulted a victim, identified in court records as Jane Doe, by stomping on her foot, hitting her in the head multiple times, biting her cheek, and burning her on her right shoulder with a pipe used for smoking drugs. Cojo also grabbed Jane Doe by the throat to strangle her. The following day, Cojo continued to assault Jane Doe, hitting her in the head and kicking her in the back multiple times and strangling her.

Cojo’s assault resulted in serious injuries to Jane Doe, who is also a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Jane Doe was taken to a medical center for her injuries where she was treated for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs, bruising to both eyes, face, neck and ribs.

By the terms of the plea agreement, Cojo faces two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matilda McCarthy Villalobos is prosecuting the case.

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Updated April 28, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 22-93