On February 27th, the Northern Arapaho Business Council (NABC) issued a resolution and declared a state of emergency over methamphetamine use on the Wind River Reservation. As part of the resolution, a Methamphetamine Task Force will be established and dedicated to finding solutions to this crisis.
Following the NABC announcement, U.S. Attorney Mark A. Klaassen issued a statement in support of the resolution.
“Methamphetamine distribution and abuse has been a problem in Wyoming and on the Wind River Reservation for a long time, and I understand the frustration, the concern, and the sense of urgency on this issue,” said U.S. Attorney Klaassen. “Here in Wyoming, methamphetamine is by far our most significant drug issue. The production and trafficking of ever-purer forms of the drug from Mexico have lowered prices and made this addictive substance even more prevalent in our communities – with devastating consequences. We are not alone in this fight, as many western states have seen a re-emergence of methamphetamine as a drug of particular concern.”
Northern Arapaho Tribal leaders and elders announced yesterday a resolution and formation of a tribal task force to combat the distribution and abuse of methamphetamine on the Reservation. Members of the Tribe’s Business Council, elders, judges, social services and law enforcement all described the ravages caused by methamphetamine abuse on the Reservation community and voiced their joint support for the tribal task force.
“The reality is there are no quick and easy answers, and the methamphetamine problem will not be solved through law enforcement alone,” said U.S. Attorney Klaassen. “So many factors contribute to drug abuse and the demand it creates for these substances. We must address the problem from all sides and understand the root causes. All of us must work to create strong families, communities, schools and other social structures that provide positive environments – places that encourage drug resistance and provide paths to economic opportunity. We also need effective social services, mental health, and addiction recovery programs to help those who seek a path out of addiction toward a more productive life. I appreciate that the tribal resolution recognizes the need for this multi-faceted approach.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting drug trafficking across the State of Wyoming and on the Wind River Reservation, in conjunction with federal, state and tribal law enforcement. Working with a multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional investigative task force that is responsible for the investigation of drug traffickers, both on and off the Reservation, the U.S. Attorney’s office aggressively prosecutes all drug crime with the overarching goal of shutting down and disrupting the supply, distribution, use and abuse of controlled substances, including methamphetamine.
Recent successful felony prosecutions involving the Wind River Indian Reservation have resulted in the prosecution of ten drug-trafficking defendants. These prosecutions include defendants operating off-reservation who supplied persons on the Reservation involved in distributing user quantities of methamphetamine to addicted persons residing on tribal lands. “We have had some recent success, but there is always more that can be done,” said U.S. Attorney Klaassen. “My office is committed to doing our part and working with the Tribes to improve our collective efforts to combat drug crime, particularly methamphetamine, on the Wind River Indian Reservation and across the state. We look forward to working with the Northern Arapaho Task Force as an opportunity to re-evaluate our efforts and make sure we are dedicating the federal resources necessary and taking the right approach to the fight against methamphetamine.”