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Press Release

Navajo Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Charge

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Fanderick Chiquito, 22, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Upper Fruitland, N.M., pleaded guilty today to an indictment charging him with involuntary manslaughter.  Chiquito entered his guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Chiquito was arrested on Dec. 31, 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he killed a Navajo woman on Dec.23, 2013, while driving under the influence of alcohol in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation.  According to court filings, Chiquito caused a three-vehicle collision near mile marker 25 on Navajo Route 36 when he tried to pass a line of vehicles and struck another vehicle head on while driving in the oncoming lane.  Both vehicles spun out of control on impact and one of the vehicles struck a third vehicle.  The victim, a passenger in Chiquito’s vehicle, died of internal injuries after she was transported to a hospital in Farmington, N.M.  After Chiquito was treated for minor injuries, he was arrested on tribal charges based on blood test results indicating a .29 BAC.

On Jan. 22, 2014, Chiquito was charged with involuntary manslaughter in an indictment alleging that he killed the victim while driving a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor and operating a vehicle carelessly and in wanton disregard for the rights and safety of others.  Chiquito pleaded guilty to the indictment during this morning’s proceedings.

At sentencing, Chiquito faces a maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  His sentencing hearing 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 and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.

Updated January 26, 2015