The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico ("USAO-NM") recognizes its good fortune to represent a district that is home to a substantial Native American presence. The tribal communities that call the state home bring a rich cultural heritage to the community and contribute to the diversity that makes New Mexico a unique district. The United States Attorney’s office also appreciates the solemn trust responsibility that the federal government holds with respect to these communities. Pursuant to the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008, the USAO-NM is proud to adopt this Operations Plan for Public Safety in Indian Country ("Operations Plan"), which is designed to reflect, in a clear and concise manner, how the USAO-NM intends to discharge its responsibility to tribal communities in the district.
In furtherance of those goals, this Operations Plan emphasizes:
continued respect for tribal sovereignty, which is the cornerstone of interaction between the federal government and Indian tribal governments;
the practice of active communication with tribal officials regarding the progress of criminal cases which have been filed and other matters affecting public safety and law enforcement concerns in the District;
the appropriate sharing of information regarding pending cases with tribal officials, particularly where the tribe is a victim of a crime;
ongoing consultation between state, tribal, and federal prosecutors to maximize the protection of tribal communities through the coordination of investigation and prosecution of crime occurring in Indian country;
information sharing and consultation with Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs), victim witness personnel, and supervisory personnel regarding public safety initiatives, grant availability, training opportunities, and collaborative efforts to improve the delivery of justice to those located within Indian country;
continued reliance upon and development of investigative protocols and Memoranda of Understanding for enhanced investigation, prosecution and prevention of child abuse, domestic violence, and other crimes in Indian Country;
prioritization and encouragement of the development of cross-deputization agreements in areas where Indian country lands are located, with increased Special Law Enforcement Commission (SLEC) issuance to tribal, state, and local police officers;
the delivery of specialized training by AUSAs and federal agents to BIA and tribal law enforcement on law, procedure, federal practice, evidence gathering, and investigative techniques; and
a continuous review of the investigation and prosecution of crime arising from Indian country to identify inefficiencies, practices that limit effectiveness, or areas that need additional development and improvement.
I. Indian Country in New Mexico
The District of New Mexico is contiguous with the State of New Mexico. New Mexico is home to 22 Native American communities- nineteen pueblos: Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Kewa, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Taos, Tesuque, Zuni and Zia; two Apache tribes: Jicarilla and Mescalero; and the Navajo Nation. Crimes committed in Indian Country1 falling within the General Crimes Act- 18 U.S.C. § 1152, the Major Crimes Act- 18 U.S.C. § 1153, as well as federal crimes of general applicability are the responsibility of the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute.