Non-Native Man from Albuquerque Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Tribal Officer on Taos Pueblo
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 24, 2013|
ALBUQUERQUE—Dallas Chase Barth, 22, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, pleaded guilty this morning to a felony information charging Barth, a non-native, with assaulting an Indian with a dangerous weapon on August 28, 2013, in Taos Pueblo.
Barth was arrested on August 29, 2013, based on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon. According to the criminal complaint, on August 28, 2013, Barth stole a van belonging to a U.S. Postal Service contractor that contained U.S. mail from outside a convenience store in Espanola, New Mexico, and led officers from several law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase to Taos Pueblo. Barth continued speeding through Taos Pueblo lands pursued by two tribal police officers in marked police vehicles.
Barth’s escapade ended when he drove to a dead end, made a U-turn, and began driving at a high rate of speed towards the two tribal officers who were standing by their parked police vehicles. One of the tribal officers had to jump out of the way in order to avoid being hit by Barth’s van, and the other tribal officer, a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, narrowly escaped injury by moving towards the rear of his police vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Barth was arrested after crashing the van.
In his plea agreement, Barth admitted leading a high-speed chase that began in Espanola and ended in Taos Pueblo while driving recklessly and at high speeds as he attempted to flee from officers from several law enforcement agencies. Barth further admitted driving towards two tribal officers, including one who is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, at a high rate of speed with the intention of causing bodily harm to them and without any justification or excuse.
At sentencing, Barth faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Barth has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Santa Fe Resident Agency of the FBI and the Northern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services with assistance from the Taos Pueblo Department of Public Safety, the New Mexico State Police, Taos County Sheriff’s Office, and Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito.