Navajo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Federally Commissioned Tribal Officer
ALBUQUERQUE – Adrian Lopez, 25, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fruitland, N.M., pled guilty this morning to assaulting a federal law enforcement officer. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director John Billison of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Lopez was arrested Sept. 12, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault on a federal officer. According to the complaint, Lopez assaulted a tribal officer who was commissioned as a special federal officer by the BIA on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M., on July 28, 2014, following a high speed vehicle pursuit. Lopez subsequently was indicted and charged with assaulting a federal officer.
During today’s hearing, Lopez pled guilty to the indictment. In his plea agreement, Lopez admitted being in a vehicle that was fleeing from the tribal officers. Lopez admitted that he and another person fled from the vehicle after it crashed, and that they ignored commands from the officers. As officers attempted to arrest the couple, Lopez grabbed an officer’s belt and pulled him to the ground. Lopez then struck the officer in the head several times and pushed his head into the ground with his hands.
Lopez has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Lopez faces a statutory maximum penalty of eight years in prison.
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 Linda Mott is prosecuting this case.