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Press Release

Shiprock man pleads guilty to assaulting a federal officer

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

           ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Derrick Begay, 33, of Shiprock, New Mexico, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque on Nov. 6 to assault on a federal officer involving physical contact. 

           According to the plea agreement and other court records, on Jan. 22, a federal special agent with the a Bureau of Indian Affairs made contact with Begay on the side of a road in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation. The special agent requested that Begay get out of the vehicle, but Begay did not comply.  At one point Begay lunged out of his vehicle and hit the special agent in the face.  Begay got back into his vehicle and fled the scene with law enforcement in pursuit.  Begay reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.  The weather was poor and there were school buses on the roadway, so law enforcement called off the pursuit.  Begay was later arrested on May 1.

           Begay is currently in custody pending sentencing.  He faces up to eight years in prison. 

           The Farmington office of the FBI investigated this case along with assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Navajo Nation Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Cowen is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 10, 2020

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-217