News and Press Releases

Operation Prairie Thunder Results In Drug Trafficking Charges Against 17 On Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2012

Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies and Prosecutors’ Offices
Involved in 14-month Operation and Arrests Made Today

BISMARCK – U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota Timothy Q. Purdon announced that a total of 17 defendants have been arrested and charged with drug trafficking offenses in federal court in North Dakota and South Dakota and in Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court as a result of Operation Prairie Thunder. The federal and tribal drug charges are the result of “Operation Prairie Thunder,” a 14-month-long investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services on the Standing Rock Reservation. Multiple arrests of Operation Prairie Thunder defendants were made today on the Standing Rock Reservation by a cooperating team of federal, local, and tribal law enforcement officers.

In Bismarck, U.S. Attorney Purdon said, “The charges filed as a result of Operation Prairie Thunder will make the Standing Rock community stronger and safer. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to a strategy in Indian Country that is built on close cooperation between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. This cooperation has resulted in charges being filed, not just in federal court, but also in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s own tribal court where appropriate. Cooperation like this means better law enforcement, better prosecutions and safer communities.”

In Sioux Falls, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson said, “These indictments illustrate the progress that is being made in Standing Rock and throughout Indian Country in South Dakota and North Dakota. The success of this investigation was the result of close cooperation between dedicated professionals in numerous law enforcement agencies.” U.S. Attorney Johnson added, “These are serious offenses, and we will continue our efforts to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and eradicate large-scale drug conspiracies in the Dakotas.”

In Fort Yates, Standing Rock Sioux Chief Prosecutor Grant Walker said, “Close cooperation between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Prosecutor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has allowed the Tribe to participate directly in Operation Prairie Thunder by charging, where appropriate, additional defendants tied to this investigation in tribal court. By being a partner in this operation, the Standing Rock Tribe is able, through the exercise of its own sovereignty, to make its own important contribution to the safety of its community. ”

Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis Field Office which includes North Dakota and South Dakota said, “The arrests resulting from this joint investigation serve as a shining example of cooperative law enforcement efforts in the region. The FBI, along with our partners, remains unwavering in its commitment to the safety and well being of people on the Standing Rock Reservation."

“Jurisdictional issues exist throughout Indian Country and working together with other Federal, State and local agencies in a common goal is essential for Indian Country law enforcement,” said Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent in Charge Mario Redlegs. “This Operation affirms to the people of Standing Rock that we are watching vigilantly and ensuring that they do have a safe place to live.”

U.S. Attorney Purdon praised the coordinated efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services, United States Marshal’s Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Sioux County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Parole and Pre-Trial Services in achieving the near simultaneous arrests today on the Standing Rock Reservation of many of those charged in the Operation Prairie Thunder cases.

Those charged as a result of Operation Prairie Thunder include:

Charged in United States District Court, District of North Dakota:

*   Casey Dogskin, 5023 Mule Deer Street. Fort Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Marijuana;

*   Donald White Lightning, 5014 3rd Avenue, Cannonball, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Marijuana (Two Counts);

* Francis Lester, 5664 Douglas Skye Complex, Fort Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Morphine; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Ritalin; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Oxycodone;

* Bryan See Walker, 5659 Douglas Skye Complex, Fort. Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Marijuana (Two Counts);

* Paul Miner, 29 5Hawk Avenue, Fort Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Hydrocodone; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Marijuana; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Oxycodone;

* Sage Claymore, 479 Whitetail Street, Fort Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Marijuana (Two Counts);

* James Grant, 546 Warrior Street, Fort Yates, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Morphine;

* Muriel Long Feather, Address Unknown; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Oxycodone;

* Winfield Kills Crow, Address Unknown; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Morphine;

* Allen Siegfried, 5005 4th Ave., Cannonball, ND; Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Morphine;

 

Charged in United States District Court, District of South Dakota:

* Chaske Little Bear, Address Unknown, Distribution of a Controlled Substance (Two Counts);

* Francine Jensen Address Unknown, Distribution of a Controlled Substance;

 

Charged in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Tribal Court:

* Lance Summers Fort Yates, ND; Criminal Sale of Drugs

* Chad Yellow Lodge Fort Yates, ND; Criminal Sale of Drugs

* Odette Elk, Fort Yates, ND; Criminal Sale of Drugs

* Rodney Claymore, Address Unknown; Criminal Possession of Drugs;

* Claude Ramsey, Address Unknown; Criminal Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

 

An indictment or a complaint are not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Operation Prairie Thunder cases are being prosecuted in North Dakota federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme, in South Dakota federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller, and in Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court by Chief Tribal Prosecutor Grant Walker.


 

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