PHOENIX—Jason Joaquin Yniguez has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of assault with intent to commit murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. He was also indicted for the use of a firearm in a crime of violence.
The federal government has jurisdiction of felonies committed on Indian reservations. Yniguez is a Native American. The incident occurred in front of tribal headquarters in Kykotsmovi on or about May 22.
The indictment was announced through a news release issued by Cathy Colbert, public affairs officer for the Arizona branch of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
According to the news release—the victim, who was under 18, was waiting at a bus stop when the defendant pulled up in a vehicle. Yniguez allegedly got out an put the gun to the victim’s head and beat him about the head. The defendant allegedly then hit the victim several times while calling him names and using profanity. Yniguez allegedly then got back into the car and drove away after threatening the victim.
The news release states that the victim believes he was assaulted because he reported another student for attempting to sell him drugs at school.
In another juvenile reservation case, four students at Pinon School District were given probation for bringing drugs to school. This is under a new system that sends drug cases straight to federal prosecutors and bypasses the tribal courts.
Three students received a year of federal probation while a fourth was sentenced to six months federal probation. The intent of the new system is to more effectively curb drug use on the Navajo Reservation.