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Press Release

Makah Tribal member sentenced to 16 months in prison for carjacking and threatening young boys

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant threatened boys with a machete, led police on high-speed chase

Tacoma – A enrolled member of the Makah Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 16 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Nicolas Joseph James Johnson, 33, pleaded guilty to robbery in March 2022.  U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle noted the trauma suffered by three young boys who were ordered out of the car at knifepoint.

According to records filed in the case, on the evening of September 18, 2021. Johnson carjacked a vehicle from outside the Mini-Market on Bay View Avenue in Neah Bay, Washington.  There were three brothers in the car, ages 16, 12 and 10.  Johnson used a machete to threaten the boys and ordered them out of the car.  After the boys got out Johnson sped off and led police on a high-speed chase.

Johnson has two prior convictions in state court related to stolen vehicles.  He had just terminated supervision on the state convictions when he committed this crime.

The case was investigated by the Neah Bay Police Department and the FBI. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.  Mr. London serves as Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated June 13, 2022

Violent Crime
Indian Country Law and Justice