U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
August 19, 2015

Santa Clara Pueblo Man Sentenced for Federal Assault Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE—Leon J. Tafoya, 20, a member and resident of Santa Clara Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 84 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his assault conviction.

Tafoya was arrested on Sept. 16, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and aggravated assault. According to the complaint, Tafoya committed the crimes in Santa Clara Pueblo in Rio Arriba County, N.M. The complaint alleged that on Sept. 7, 2014, officers of the Santa Clara Pueblo Tribal Police Department responded to a call reporting an assault. They arrested Tafoya for stabbing another member of the Santa Clara Pueblo three times and assaulting a tribal police officer who responded to the stabbing. The complaint asserted that Tafoya attempted to gain control of the officer’s service weapon while the officer was placing Tafoya under arrest.

On May 7, 2015, Tafoya entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. In entering the guilty plea, Tafoya admitted that on Sept. 7, 2014, he possessed a firearm and assaulted a victim by displaying that firearm in a threatening manner. Tafoya also admitted to assaulting another victim resulting in serious bodily injury to that victim.

This case was investigated by the Santa Fe office of the FBI, the Northern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and the Santa Clara Pueblo Tribal Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson.

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