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Walt Lamar: Drug manufacturers set up shop in Indian Country

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: crime, drugs, walt lamar
   

Walt Lamar discusses how drug manufacturers have invaded Indian Country:
Among other things, Miley Cyrus has become the poster girl for the club drug MDMA, which is gaining popularity in a powdered or crystal form called "Molly." Television about methamphetamine crimes rivet the nation, while the same citizens are blind to the reality of meth in their communities, including crime, addiction, contamination, overdose and endangered children. Doctors in Arizona and Illinois have sounded the alarm about emerging use of intravenous desomorphine, known as krokodil because it turns the user's skin green and scaly before the flesh literally rots from the bone. Although these seem to be big city problems, all these drugs are produced in clandestine labs throughout rural America. Local production keeps street prices low, but the cost in human lives and environmental damage is high.

Just as Breaking Bad's Walter White started his career cooking drugs on tribal lands, many drug manufacturers set up business on reservations. Mexican drug trafficking organizations successfully infiltrate close-knit Native communities by romancing women with promises of good times and financial security. Others just barge in and set up, like the three Arizona men who were caught producing meth on the Tonto Apache reservation. The Payson police chief admitted that prosecuting the drug dealers would be more difficult because of the "unusual jurisdictional issues" of non-Natives committing crimes on Indian lands.

A more recent bust rounded up three non-Native meth dealers who just rented an apartment on Catawba lands, convenient to distribution hubs in Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC. The same week, investigators identified a second manufacturing site abandoned on nearby tribal lands.

Get the Story:
Walt Lamar: Miley Cyrus or Synthetic Drugs: Which Is the Greater Threat? (Indian Country Today 12/6)


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