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Tulalip's Pacheco sentence to 9-plus years in prison for assault

TULALIP — Tulalip Tribal member Elijah Pacheco, 32, was sentenced, on March 2 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, to 110 months in prison and three years of supervised release for two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Pacheco and two other tribal members were charged last year, following the beating and kidnapping of a 40-year-old Canadian tribal member on March 5, 2009. The assault was the second time in less than a month that Pacheco had badly beaten someone on the reservation.

At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman called them "egregious assaults."

"Each time the violence escalates," Pechman said. "He is perpetuating crime on the community that might otherwise embrace him."

According to records filed in the case, Pacheco and two other Tulalip Tribal members — Gilbert Moses Jr., 42, and Melodie Ancheta, 39 — were all riding in the victim's car when they became angry at the victim, claiming she had referred to Ancheta with a derogatory Spanish word. Moses was kicking at the victim in the back seat of the car, while Pacheco pulled her out of the car, and both men began beating and kicking her in the head, face and torso. All three then loaded the victim into the car trunk. One threatened to drive the car into the water. Ancheta drove the car to another tribal member's house to get a change of clothing, and showed her friend the woman in the trunk. The other tribal member urged the three to get medical attention for the victim, but they refused. Ancheta then slammed the trunk shut and the three drove off. The other tribal member notified law enforcement. The car was located, and the victim was rescued and taken to the hospital, suffering from bleeding on the brain and a broken vertebrae, as well as cuts and bruises.

Just three weeks before this incident, on Feb. 18, 2009, Pacheco beat another man after they had been socializing at a camp fire, on Marine View Drive in the Tulalip reservation. Pacheco and Ancheta beat the victim and stole his car and wallet, leaving him so injured he had to crawl to the side of the road for medical aid.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and William H. Redkey Jr. prosecuted the case and asked for a lengthy sentence.

"The community, particularly the Tulalip Tribes and the reservation, need to be protected from further acts of violence and other crimes that may be committed by the defendant," Woo wrote in her sentencing memo. "The government anticipates that it is highly likely that the defendant will revert to criminal behavior upon release from prison, and that he has demonstrated an increasing pattern of violent behavior and the public must be protected."

Moses and Ancheta were sentenced last year to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Tulalip Tribal Police and the FBI.

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