Disputed leader of Chukchansi Tribe surrenders in casino feud

The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, California. Photo © Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

Four people who have been indicted in connection with a dispute that led to the closure of the casino owned by the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians turned themselves in to authorities in California.

Tex McDonald, 64, who claims to be chairman of the tribe, faces charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious injury and assault with a stun gun. His bail was set at $1 million -- the highest of the 15 that have been charged in Madera County.

Vernon James King, 59, a tribal council member, also turned himself in. He faces similar charges to McDonald and his bail was set at $800,000.

A faction of the tribe led by McDonald attempted a takeover of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino on October 9. The dispute led to the facility's closure.

A federal judge later granted a preliminary injunction to keep the casino closed at the request of the state. The National Indian Gaming Commission also issued a notice of violation and a temporary closure order to the tribe.

Get the Story:
4 wanted in Chukchansi Casino takeover turn themselves in (KFSN 11/3)
Four sought in Chukchansi casino takeover turn themselves in (The Fresno Bee 11/4)
Chukchansi suspects continue to surrender (The Sierra Star 11/4)

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