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Press Release

Navajo Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charges

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Patrick Yazzie-Tso, 28, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Santa Fe, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assault charges.

Yazzie-Tso was arrested in Jan. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault.  According to the complaint, on Dec. 13, 2015, the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribal Police Department responded to a report regarding a domestic violence situation occurring on Pojoaque Pueblo in Santa Fe County, N.M.  The complaint alleged that Yazzie-Tso assaulted the victim, a non-Indian, by punching her repeatedly on the head and face, slamming a large painting canvas on her, and strangling her by wrapping his hands around her neck and throat. 

Yazzie-Tso was subsequently indicted on Feb. 9, 2016, and charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and strangling an intimate partner.  During today’s proceedings, Yazzie-Tso pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Yazzie-Tso was remanded into federal custody after entering his guilty plea.  He will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Yazzie-Tso faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.

 This case was investigated by Northern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Spindle.

Updated June 1, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice