ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Ferlando Wadsworth, 38, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, appeared in federal court today on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wadsworth will remain in custody pending trial.
According to a criminal complaint, on Oct. 14, Wadsworth allegedly arrived with two associates at a meeting to purchase food stamps from the victims. When the first victim refused to get into a vehicle with Wadsworth and his associates, Wadsworth allegedly exited the vehicle with a shotgun and followed her to the vehicle driven by the second victim. Wadsworth allegedly pointed the shotgun at the victims and demanded that they get out of their vehicle. When the second victim put the car into drive, Wadsworth allegedly attempted to open the door and then fired the shotgun into the vehicle as it began to drive away.
Navajo Police located the vehicle in which Wadsworth fled and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Wadsworth allegedly got out of the vehicle and was caught as he attempted to flee on foot. Officers located a shotgun with the serial number obliterated.
The incident took place on the Navajo Nation. As a felon previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a peace officer, Wadsworth cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition. If convicted, Wadsworth faces up to 10 years in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 10 years for assault with a dangerous weapon and a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.
A criminal complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI and the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick T. Mendenhall is prosecuting the case.