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Justice News

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Navajo Man from Arizona Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Federally Commissioned Tribal Officer in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Nakai, 33, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Red Rock, Ariz., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting a federal officer.


Nakai was charged by criminal complaint in Oct. 2016, with assaulting a tribal police officer of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety who was commissioned as a Special Law Enforcement Officer by the BIA’s Office of Justice Services. According to the complaint, Nakai assaulted the officer by kicking the officer in the face following a traffic stop. Nakai subsequently was indicted on Nov. 15, 2016, and was charged with assaulting a federal officer on Oct. 9, 2016, in San Juan County, N.M.


During today’s proceedings, Nakai pled guilty to the indictment. In entering the guilty plea, Nakai admitted that on Oct. 9, 2016, he assaulted a federal officer by kicking and striking the officer in the head while the officer was arresting him for driving under the influence of alcohol.


At sentencing, Nakai faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Nakai remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.


This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Murphy is prosecuting the case.

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated July 6, 2017