United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that several individuals from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have been indicted by a federal grand jury for possessing and selling intoxicating liquor to other people on the reservation in December 2011. The indictments were a result of a joint Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services operation targeting “bootlegging” on the reservation.
Marnie Water, a/k/a Marnie Waters, a/k/a Marnie Water Eagle Bull, Darrell Spotted Elk, Sr., Florine Chipps, a/k/a Florine Conquering Bear, Merle Leighton, Sr., and Julia Marie Lamont, a/k/a Marie Lamont were each indicted by a federal grand jury on February 22, 2012, for Intoxicants Possessed Unlawfully in Indian Country and Dispensing Intoxicants in Indian Country.
Each appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on February 24, 2012, and each pled not guilty to the indictments. The maximum penalty upon conviction is one year imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine for each charge. The charges are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services. Separate trials are scheduled for May 1, 2012.