Drug dealers who sneak their product into the United States through an Indian reservation would face a stiffer prison sentence under legislation being proposed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer announced today that he plans to introduce federal legislation that would tack on 10 more years in prison for anyone convicted of using an Indian reservation to smuggle drugs.
The proposed legislation was prompted by the biggest drug bust in Upstate New York history, through the Akwesasne Indian Reservation in Northern New York, Schumer said. The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested 26 people since February on charges of running a marijuana-trafficking ring that sold between $300 million and $700 million worth of pot over the past 10 years. The ring sold more than 100,000 pounds, making it by far the biggest marijuana ring the DEA has ever busted in Upstate New York, according to the DEA. The second largest was about half that.
The drug bust was detailed in a story in May in The Post-Standard.
Three other Indian reservations abut the U.S. border, according to Schumer’s office. Akwesasne has long been described by federal agents as a sieve for smugglers because it’s the only reservation that straddles the border. Akwesasne is the home of the St. Regis Mohawk Indian tribe.
Schumer said his proposed law would make Indian reservations safer for people who live there and reduce the flow of drugs into New York state.
“We need to send an unequivocal message to drug smugglers that using Indian reservations to traffic drugs will not be tolerated and that violators will be suitably penalized,” Schumer said in a press release.
December 15, 2009