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Warm Springs police charge 2 men in drug case; chief says drug laws will be enforced ‘no matter the amount’

KTVZ file

Says Oregon's decriminalization move doesn't change tribal law

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Warm Springs Tribal Police were called to a car at the Indian Head Casino on a report of drug activity early Tuesday morning, and as a result, two men face tribal and federal drug charges, according to Police Chief Bill Elliott, who warned that his department will enforce their drug laws, “no matter the amount.”

Officers were dispatched to the casino around 5:30 a.m. and contacted three people in a 2009 Mercedes C-350, Elliott said in a news release.

A 36-year-old man who had to be taken to the hospital due to possible use of fentanyl was found to be in possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and to have state arrest warrants related to ID and property theft and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, the police chief said in a news release.

He was charged civilly under tribal law with possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and issued a federal criminal citation for drug possession. Elliott said the man remained in custody of tribal police until his discharge from the hospital, when he would be released to state authorities on his outstanding warrants.

A 39-year-old man also was charged under tribal law with drug and paraphernalia possession and issued a federal citation for drug possession.

Elliott said the car was seized as evidence and is subject to forfeiture proceedings, and if the two men are found guilty of tribal offences, they face fines of up to $10,000-$12,000. They were most recently listed as Portland residents in state court records.

"The Warm Springs Tribal Police Department wants to notify the public that even though there are new laws affecting the State of Oregon regarding the possession of controlled substances, on lands that are under the jurisdiction of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) the current tribal and federal drug statutes will remain in effect," Elliott said in the news release.

"The WSTPD will continue to vigorously enforce these laws, which in turn could subject violators to federal criminal prosecution, and/or civil process within the power of the tribe that could lead to the loss of property, such as vehicles, used in commission of these offenses," the police chief continued. "We hope that the public take these facts into consideration if they intent to be in possession of any amount of controlled substances while coming onto, or transiting through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

"Even though the Warm Springs community and government embraces prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation as the ultimate means of bringing about a drug-safe environment, it also strongly believes in the rule of law as part of its governmental doctrine.

"As such, the WSTPD continues to work closely with all facets of the drug abuse and mental health agencies operated by this tribe, but will not tolerate drug usage, possession, or trafficking within its jurisdiction no matter the amount," Elliott concluded.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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