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Key Findings

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At the request of the Law Enforcement Task Force of the Indian Affairs Executive Working Group of the White House Domestic Policy Council; the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Tribal Justice, the National Drug Intelligence Center has produced the Indian Country Drug Threat Assessment 2008. The purpose of the report is to provide a comprehensive, strategic assessment of the threat posed to Native American communities by DTOs, criminal groups, and gangs and the illicit drugs they distribute on reservations throughout the United States.

Under agreement with the tasking officials for this report, only Native American reservations in the contiguous 48 states of the United States were studied. In order to assess the current drug situation in Indian Country, NDIC intelligence analysts visited 80 reservations throughout the country. The sampling of reservations (80 out of 330 that exist in the United States) was determined under the following criteria:

  1. Reservations that share a border with either Canada or Mexico.
  2. Reservations within 100 to 200 miles of the border with Canada or Mexico.
  3. Reservations identified through federal investigations as being significantly affected by drugs and criminal activity.
  4. Reservations bordering major metropolitan areas that serve as drug transshipment areas.
  5. Reservations with considerable tourist industries or natural resources.

Sources of information for this report include personal interviews with federal, state, and tribal law enforcement officials by NDIC intelligence analysts; NDIC Field Program Specialist (FPS) Intelligence Reports (IRs); federal, state, and tribal law enforcement reporting; intelligence community reporting; open-source reporting; and data provided by numerous agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA),2 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Trails Task Forces (STTFs), and Indian Health Service (IHS). (Please see Sources for complete listing.)

End Note

2. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for the administration and management of 55.7 million acres of land held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. These lands include those that are individually owned, federally owned, and owned and held in trust status.

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