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Press Release

Navajo Man from To’hajiilee Sentenced for Federal Misdemeanor Assault Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Bruce Piaso, 37, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from To’hajiilee, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to three years of probation for his conviction on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Piaso was arrested on June 3, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting a federal officer.  The complaint charged Piaso with attacking a tribal officer of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, who was federally commissioned by the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, on May 28, 2016, on the Navajo Indian Reservation by punching and kicking the officer while attempting to avoid arrest.  The complaint alleged that Piaso jumped on the officer and attempted to take control of the officer’s weapon.  Piaso was taken into tribal custody on May 28, 2016, and remained in tribal custody until he was arrested on the federal charge.

Piaso was indicted on June 30, 2016, and was charged with assault on a federal officer resulting in bodily injury, and assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.  The indictment alleged that Piaso committed the crimes on May 28, 2016, in Cibola County, N.M.  On Dec. 21, 2017, a federal jury found Piaso guilty of the lesser included offense of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and acquitted Piaso on the other charges in the indictment, after a three-day trial.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Marshall prosecuted the case.

Updated August 29, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice