U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez announces Selection of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Assistant United States Attorney for the Southwest Region
ALBUQUERQUE – Edward A. Garcia, 51, a non-Indian man residing in Isleta Pueblo, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing a firearm.
The Isleta Pueblo Tribal Police Department arrested Garcia on a criminal complaint in July 2017, for assaulting an Isleta Pueblo woman by biting her and striking her on the face and threatening her with a sledgehammer. The complaint alleged that Garcia committed the assault in Isleta Pueblo in Bernalillo County, N.M.
Garcia subsequently was charged in a four-count indictment that was filed on July 27, 2017. The indictment charged Garcia with two assault offenses: assault of an intimate partner resulting in substantial bodily injury on June 6, 2017, and assault with a dangerous weapon, a sledgehammer, on June 7, 2017. It also charged Garcia with using a cellphone to engage in a course of conduct that caused substantial emotional distress to the victim and placing her in fear of death and serious bodily injury from June 7, 2017 through July 6, 2017, and with unlawfully possessing a firearm in July 2017. According to the indictment, Garcia was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of possession of a controlled substance.
During today’s change of plea hearing, Garcia pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. In entering the guilty plea, Garcia admitted that on July 7, 2017, when he was arrested by law enforcement authorities, he was in possession of a handgun. Garcia admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.
At sentencing, Garcia faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. Garcia remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Isleta Pueblo Tribal Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson is prosecuting the case pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico, which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.