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Isleta Pueblo Man Receives Seven-Year Sentence for Using Firearm During Crime of Violence

ALBUQUERQUE—This morning, a federal judge in Albuquerque sentenced Joe Alex Abeita, III, a 21-year-old member and resident of Isleta Pueblo, to a seven-year term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Abeita also was ordered to pay restitution to the Indian Health Services for the cost of the medical care provided to Abeita’s victim.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that, on the night of December 10, 2010, Abeita fired a shotgun into an Isleta Pueblo residence four times. Three of the shotgun blasts penetrated a window in the residence. Pellets from one of the shotgun blasts struck an Isleta Pueblo woman on the right shoulder while she was sitting at her dining room table with several family members, including two young children.

On June 6, 2011, Abeita was arrested based on charges in a criminal complaint. He has been in federal custody since that time.

On December 2, 2011, Abeita entered a guilty plea to an information charging him with using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In his plea agreement, Abeita admitted brandishing a shotgun outside his victim’s residence on the night of December 10, 2010. He further admitted that pellets from a shotgun blast struck his victim and caused her to suffer serious bodily injury.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Justice Services, Southern Pueblos Agency, and the Pueblo of Isleta Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Barth.

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