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Press Release

Ohkay Owingeh Man from Santa Fe Sentenced to Eleven Years for Federal Kidnapping Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Earl Adams, 53, an enrolled member of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo who resides in Santa Fe, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 11 years for his conviction on a federal kidnapping charge. Adams will receive credit for a year of tribal confinement on related tribal charges, requiring him to serve an additional ten years in federal custody. Adams will be on supervised release for two years after completing his prison sentence.


Adams was arrested on March 2, 2017, on an indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and kidnapping. According to the indictment, Adams committed the offenses on March 1 and 2, 2016, on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in Rio Arriba County, N.M.


On May 9, 2017, Adams pled guilty to the kidnapping charge. In entering the guilty plea, Adams admitted seizing and confining the victim in a residence on March 1, 2016, because the victim refused to take him to the store to purchase alcohol. Adams assaulted the victim by punching and kicking her, dragging her around the residence by her hair, and binding her hands and feet with zip-ties. As the result of the assault, the victim suffered a black eye, a nasal fracture and a forearm fracture, both of which required surgery. The victim also sustained injuries to the hand and wrist, which required physical therapy, and loose front teeth. Adams admitted that he did not release the victim until March 2, 2016, when police arrived at the residence.


This case was investigated by the Northern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy Solimon prosecuted the case as part of 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 American 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.

Updated August 29, 2017

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime