Mexican Gangs Move Into US Indian Land

Drug cartels take advantage of overworked cops
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 2:12 AM CST
Marijuana seized on Indian land made up around half of all the pot seized in Washington state last year.   (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife)
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(Newser) – Mexican drug gangs have been rapidly expanding their marijuana-growing operations in the US in recent years, especially on Indian reservations. The gangs take advantage of underfunded tribal police departments, large tracts of unused land, and overlapping jurisdictions to set up grows on reservations from California to South Dakota, authorities say. The Mexicans easily blend in with transient populations on the reservations, according to cops.

The traffickers also use the reservations for gun trafficking and smuggling of narcotics brought in from Mexico and Canada. Overstretched tribal police say they expect the gangs to continue appearing during every growing season. "If we ever catch them, we'll run them off the reservation," the police chief at one Oregon reservation tells the Wall Street Journal.