Cherokee man sentenced for assaults, firearms offense

Cherokee man sentenced for assaults, firearms offense

Martin Medina, 32, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release for a firearms offense, assaulting federal officers and assault with intent to commit murder. 

In addition to the sentence imposed for the weapons and assault convictions, Medina was ordered to serve an additional 30 months in prison for violating the terms of his federal supervised release, for a total sentence of more than 16 years.

Medina was convicted of federal charges in 2012 for abusive sexual contact and related offenses. Medina was sentenced to a term of imprisonment followed by a lifetime of supervised release. As a convicted felon, Medina was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Also, among the conditions of Medina’s supervision were warrantless searches of his person and his residence.

According to court documents and court proceedings, on June 14, 2022, probation officers and a deputy with the Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD) arrived at Medina’s residence, located in Swain County within the Qualla Boundary, to conduct a warrantless search. Medina met the law enforcement officers outside, then quickly ran inside his residence. A federal probation officer began to negotiate with Medina to come outside, but Medina did not comply. Law enforcement continued to negotiate with Medina, and over the course of the negotiations, law enforcement observed shell casings in the driveway. This led officers to believe that Medina was armed even though he was prohibited from possessing firearms.

A SWAT team was called to the scene. Law enforcement reported potential gunfire coming from inside the residence. Medina continued to refuse to surrender, even after law enforcement deployed non-lethal gas into the residence. After deploying more gas into the home, law enforcement was again met with gunfire. Medina continued to fire at law enforcement, causing one of the officers to sustain a non-fatal injury. Eventually, Medina agreed to surrender.

Court records show that following Medina’s arrest, officers executed a search warrant at Medina’s residence, seizing five firearms, including three shotguns, assorted ammunition, extended magazines loaded to capacity for all weapons, two ballistic vests, a ballistic helmet, night vision goggles, a gas mask, various fixed-blade knives, suspected marijuana and several thousand dollars in cash.

Medina remains in federal custody awaiting transfer to the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a facility.

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