Meth Related Convictions Lead to Banishments on Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Published March 24, 2017

EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – It has been almost two years since the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Council passed Resolution 182-2015-CR, banning tribal members and other individuals who have been convicted of dealing methamphetamine (meth) from the reservation in an effort to crack down on the meth epidemic rampant on Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

So far ten (10) banishment orders have been signed and delivered to convicted offenders.

The original language of the Resolution states that any individual convicted in federal, state or tribal court of dealing, distributing, manufacturing, or trafficking will be immediately banished for life from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and all lands owned by the Tribe.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) was the first tribe in the region to enact banishment as a punishment for dealing meth. The resolution was amended on January 24, 2017 to add a conviction of conspiracy to distribute meth to the list of convictions eligible for banishment.
The first banishment order was issued on August 8, 2016. The other banishment orders were issued to individuals convicted in federal court. With a number of recent meth related convictions, more banishment orders are expected. According to CRST Law Enforcement officials, the banishment orders are hand delivered to the individuals at their sentencing hearing. The banishments won’t go into effect until offenders are released from prison.

Banishments are for life but after five years, offenders can appeal to the Tribal Council for reconsideration if they can show that they have been rehabilitated and are being productive citizens. This provision was added to the original resolution in January 2016.

Once the banishment goes into effect, any offender who gets caught within the external boundaries of the Cheyenne River Reservation will be charged with federal trespassing. If any of the individuals are seen on the reservation, officials are asking the public to notify law enforcement immediately.

CRST Law Enforcement officials had a busy calendar year in 2016 with over 800 drug related arrests. According to CRST Law Enforcement Officials, the number of meth related arrests were the highest among all Tribal 638 departments across the country.

Officials believe they are making an impact on the meth crack down on Cheyenne River. Chairman Harold Frazier stated, “This resolution to banish was designed to show that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is serious about protecting our Tribal members while giving law enforcement and Tribal court a powerful tool to discourage members from bringing this poison to our reservation. It is a no cost, traditional approach, to fight meth.”

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chief of Police Joe Wicks said, “I’d like to thank the FBI, Safe Trails Task Force, the US Attorney’s Office and the Dewey and Ziebach Country Sheriff’s Departments for all their collaborative efforts.”

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