Law | National

FBI Series: 'Zero tolerance' for drug trafficking in Indian Country

"The arrest of a 20-year-old Zuni woman for selling two baggies of cocaine that each contained less than one gram of the drug might be considered a minor offense in many jurisdictions—but in Indian Country, federal prosecutors are taking a different approach.

“We have zero tolerance for drug trafficking in Indian Country,” said Ken Gonzales, New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney. Because alcohol and drugs fuel serious crimes on the reservation, and because public safety is at stake, Gonzales sees the no tolerance program as an important part of his office’s efforts to fight crime on the reservations.

“If you identify somebody in the community who has been causing problems for years and years, has rotated in and out of the criminal justice system and is nevertheless out on the street causing big problems,” Gonzales said, “we will take that case if the individual is caught trafficking drugs, no matter what the amount. In most instances,” he explained, “we require a certain amount of drugs to be able to prosecute a case federally. But we’ve made it a priority in Indian County to lower, if not eliminate, our thresholds to take these cases.”"

Get the Story:
Journey Through Indian Country: Part 5: A Zero Tolerance Approach (FBI 7/5)

Join the Conversation