Bail raised to $2.4M over dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's casino

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

Tex McDonald, the disputed chairman of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California, appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with an armed takeover at the tribe's casino.

McDonald, 64, is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious injury and assault with a stun gun. Authorities say he led the attempted takeover of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino on October 9 that led to the facility's closure.

McDonald's bail was originally set at $1 million. He has two prior criminal convictions in the state.

During his appearance in Madera County Superior Court yesterday, the judge raised McDonald's bail to $2.4 million. The bail for Vernon King, another disputed tribal leader, was raised to $1.75 million.

In addition to McDonald and King, thirteen other people have been charged in connection with the dispute. Two have been arrested, including one man who is being held in South Carolina. The nine others remain at large.

The casino remains closed under a preliminary injunction granted 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.

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