REPORT: Indian Tribe won’t let National Guard on land known as notorious drug-smuggling corridor

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Published by JUDICIALWATCH.ORG
An Indian reservation along one of the most perilous sections of the Mexican border won’t allow National Guard troops to enter its land, which is a notorious smuggling corridor determined by the U.S. government to be a “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).” Sources inside the U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies working along the Arizona-Mexico border tell Judicial Watch that the tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, has banned National Guard troops deployed by President Donald Trump to help crack down on a crisis of drug smuggling and illegal crossings along the 2,000-mile southern border. “They told us they don’t want white man on their land,” said a high-level federal official working in the region. “The agency, of course, is going to cater to that.”

It’s not the first time the Tohono O’odham reservation, which is in the south-central Arizona Sonoran Desert, bans law enforcement personnel from its land which shares about 75 miles of border with Mexico. The reservation is about 2.8 million acres or roughly the size of Connecticut and has about 30,000 members. The reservation terrain consists largely of mountains and desert making it difficult to patrol. For years it has appeared on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) HIDTA list because it’s a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation and distribution. The reservation is a primary transshipment zone for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana destined for the United States, a DEA official revealed in congressional testimony a few years ago. In 2015 Arizona led all four Border Patrol sectors in drug seizures with 928,858 pounds of drugs confiscated, according to agency figures.

It is important to note that the article goes on to state the following:

A few years ago, the tribe prohibited the Border Patrol from entering its land by cordoning off a road in the southeast corner of the reservation with a barbed wired gate. A hand-written cardboard sign reading “Closed, Do Not Open” was posted on the fence to keep federal agents out. “This is the location used most for trafficking drugs into the country,” a frustrated longtime Border Patrol source told Judicial Watch at the time, adding that agents assigned to the area were “livid.” The relationship between the Border Patrol and the tribe has been stormy over the years, with accusations of human rights violations by federal agents and allegations that the agents’ presence has implemented a police state. The tribe’s official website says that nine of its communities are located in Mexico and they are separated by the United States/Mexico border. “In fact, the U.S.-Mexico border has become an artificial barrier to the freedom of the Tohono O’odham,” the tribe claims.

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