Another news reports states that reservations are increasingly being used to smuggle drugs across U.S. borders.
“Traffickers in Mexico and Canada increasingly are using Indian reservations along the borders as conduits for bringing marijuana, Ecstasy and other illicit drugs into the U.S. The drug gangs take advantage of weak and underfunded tribal police forces and the remoteness of tribal lands, and they find that high unemployment rates and resentment of federal law enforcement agencies make some young native Americans ready allies.
Drug seizures on the tribal lands have risen sharply. In 2005, law enforcement agents made 292 seizures totaling 67 tons of marijuana. By 2009, they tallied 1,066 seizures totaling more than 159 tons.
Cocaine also is moving in. On June 11, the U.S. attorney for Arizona indicted nine Tohono people on trafficking charges, ending a five-month probe in which undercover agents made 39 buys totaling over 250 grams of cocaine.
The U.S. Justice Department is closely watching on two reservations where it says the problems are most acute: the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in upstate New York and the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona.
As much as 20 percent of all the high-potency marijuana grown in Canada each year is smuggled through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2010 drug threat assessment report.
Drug gangs smuggle 5 percent to 10 percent of all the marijuana produced in Mexico through the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona, it adds.
The Tohono O’odham Police Department employs some 65 officers, yet they must cover a sprawling Sonoran Desert reservation the size of Connecticut. Roads are good, but communities are far apart. . . .
The trafficking is in people as well as drugs, and the Tohono O’odham reservation pays dearly. Mexican migrants leave trash strewn across the desert, break into homes in search of food, receive treatment at the tribal health services clinic and impose a burden on tribal police. The tribe has paid for autopsies for more than 50 migrants found dead on its land. . . .”