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Press Release

Sanostee Man Charged with Assault in Indian Country

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office,  announced today that Melvin C. Smith was arraigned on an indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. Smith, 62, of Sanostee, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, will remain on conditions of release pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Smith on April 11. According to the indictment, on Oct. 6, 2022, Smith assaulted two victims, identified as John and Jane Doe, with a long wooden stick with the intent to cause bodily harm to both John and Jane Doe, doing so within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary C. Jones is prosecuting the case.

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Updated April 25, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-86