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Press Release

Sanostee Man Sentenced to Supervised Probation for Assault

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

ALBUQUERQUE – 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 sentenced to one year of supervised probation. Smith must also pay full restitution to both victims. Smith, 63, of Sanostee, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty to assault by striking, beating, or wounding on November 28, 2023.

According to court records, on October 6, 2022, Smith used a long, hard wooden walking stick to assault his brother-in-law and his brother-in-law’s girlfriend. Smith also punched the girlfriend in the face. Following the assault, the two victims drove to Shiprock for medical treatment. Smith’s brother-in-law suffered a fractured forearm and cuts to his hand. His girlfriend suffered various contusions and a concussion without loss of consciousness. Days later, Smith called his brother-in-law and left an apologetic voicemail.

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

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Updated February 26, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-81