ALBUQUERQUE ― Wilfred Garcia, 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, appeared in federal court Wednesday in Albuquerque on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated sexual abuse. Trial has yet to be scheduled.
Agents from the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety arrested Garcia Nov. 22 in Shiprock. According to the criminal complaint, Garcia pulled up to the victim while driving his truck. He got out, put his arms around the victim, and held a hard object to her back while telling her, “Don’t move.” Garcia then forcibly placed the victim in his truck and drove to a dirt road where he sexually assaulted her.
The victim eventually got away from Garcia, flagged down a motorist for help, and reported the incident to police, who arrested Garcia later that day.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for aggravated sexual abuse charge is life in federal prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick T. Mendenhall, III, is prosecuting the case as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project 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 ongoing efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.