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Press Release

Torreon, N.M., Man Sentenced to Ten Years for Using a Firearm During an Assault on a Native Woman

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Permanuel Castillo, 23, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Torreon, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon to ten years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

The charges against Castillo arose out of the Sept. 27, 2012 shooting of his girlfriend.  On that day, New Mexico State Police officers responded to a call regarding a shooting at Castillo’s residence, which is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation.  During questioning, Castillo initially claimed that his girlfriend had been the victim of a drive-by shooting.  After further questioning, Castillo admitted shooting the victim multiple times in the chest but claimed that it was an accident. 

Castillo was arrested on Sept. 27, 2012, on tribal charges by officers of the Navajo Division of Public Safety and was held in tribal custody until his arrest on Oct. 24, 2012, on a federal criminal complaint.  Castillo subsequently was charged in a three-count indictment with (1) assault with a dangerous weapon, (2) assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and (3) using a firearm during a crime of violence. 

On April 30, 2013, Castillo pleaded guilty to Count 3 of the indictment, charging him with using a firearm during a crime of violence, and admitted assaulting the victim by shooting her with a rifle.  As a result of the assault, the victim sustained three gunshot wounds to the chest.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and the New Mexico State Police, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson. 

The case was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, and 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.

Updated January 26, 2015