War On Drugs Opens New Front: Tribal Lands

Washington State Patrol Officers Seize Marijuana On Reservation

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mexican drug gangs are attempting to increase profits and eliminate clashes with border police by growing more marijuana inside the United States – and specifically in remote areas of Native American reservations. In Washington state alone, the number of marijuana plants seized on Tribal lands has increased by a factor of 10 since 2006.

Drug growers typically seek to operate in geographically remote areas that are rarely inspected by law enforcement. In past years, America’s large National Parks were a prime growing area until federal enforcement was stepped up to curtail the practice. Isolation and lack of law enforcement funding has now placed many Tribal territories on the list of desired drug growing locations. For example, the Colville Reservation in eastern Washington state encompasses 2,200 square miles but is patrolled by only 19 Tribal police officers. Many reservations have thousands of acres of uninhabited land that usually go unnoticed by local residents and police, making them desirable target areas for drug growers.

While the upswing in drug growing activity is a troubling development, efforts to counter the trend may also provide an opportunity to improve public safety on reservations. The chronic lack of state and federal funds for law enforcement on Tribal lands has long contributed to increased crime rates and a backlog of unresolved cases. Now that Native American reservations have become part of the front line of the war on drugs, perhaps increased resources will be applied to raise the standard and efficiency of law enforcement activity in Tribal territories.

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baruk - November 9, 2009 12:14 PM

"perhaps increased resources will be applied to raise the standard and efficiency of law enforcement activity in Tribal territories"

a sad, ugly truth. in my own people's experience, india couldn't be bothered to develop our hills until we asked for independence. the roads then miraculously emerged to facilitate the army's entry!

while this is the first time i am commenting, do know that i am in solidarity with what you do...keep the news coming!

robert Abshire - November 25, 2009 10:39 AM

I find it hard to believe we still are calling Marijuana a harmful drug when 14 to 20 states already used at as medicinal and is declared legal
The industrial and medicinal properties of the plant will help in all aspects of the current crisis we face Indians Should Grow this Crop for . Economic and Social and Medicinal And Environmental benefits ...........
Meth runs Wild on Rezs and We r Crying About A Plant Reagan is Dead Lets MOve On lets Grow This Our Selves NOW And Grow and Be well

high times - April 13, 2011 1:27 AM

This is not the only place to grow Marijuana. There are numbers of individuals who are cultivating their own supply at the backyard and even inside the house. The transform their property into a customized garden with sufficient amount of water, light and air. Government should increase its intelligence department to stop this wrong doing.

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