Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Ken Chase
WDAY News 

Red Lake Reservation kicks out drug dealers, has neighboring towns worried


August 11, 2017

RED LAKE RESERVATION-The Red Lake Reservation is kicking drug dealers out of town in hopes of saving lives.

Drug dealers on the Red Lake Reservation will now need a new place to set up shop and neighboring communities fear that will put them on their streets.

"I'm nervous and anxious about and a little afraid of maybe the violence," said Rich Ray, Bemidji Resident.

People in Bemidji concerned for their hometown after the nearby Red Lake Reservation voted to banish members from the reservation who are caught selling drugs, regardless if they are convicted to deal with what they call a state of emergency.

Nearly 36 overdoses have been reported in the last six months.

"All it means is there's one less drug dealer off the reservation," said Gordon Johnson, Tribal Member.

The drugs have been funneled off the reservation for a while now.

Last year the Paul Bunyan task force seized nearly $200,000 of Meth in Beltrami County and now police are concerned more drug dealers could be on their way.

"It's a business that is booming and people make money off of it and people get addicted," said Robert Billings, Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force.

Banished members will not be allowed on the reservation for at least a year.

"If it's a situation where they're physically removed initially we wanna make sure we know where they're bringing them to and finding out where their next destination is," said Billings.

At the same time though, members of the drug task force think this could help them pinch the pipeline harder as they can work their investigations deeper since they don't have to deal with jurisdiction issues with the reservation.

We have a little bit easier time of those cases being accepted," said Billings.

We reached out to the Red Lake Nation's tribal council but have not heard back.

Tribal leaders do say in order to be allowed back into the tribe, a petition has to be filed six months beforehand showing they are rehabilitated.


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