BIA agent put on leave alleges retaliation

A Bureau of Indian Affairs agent who has been on paid administrative leave for 17 months says he is the victim of retaliation for uncovering police corruption.

Duane Garvais told BIA supervisors that police officers on the Spokane Reservation in Washington were stealing on the job and tipping off drug dealers about undercover drug buys and raids. Two officers admitted the theft, according to taped interviews obtained by The Spokesman Review.

The officers, who are BIA employees, were never charged with any crime. But Garvais says they accused him of wrongdoing. The BIA performed an internal investigation, but the Department of Justice said there was no evidence to prove Garvais did anything wrong.

That wasn't the end of it. The Spokane tribal council passed a resolution supporting Garvais' removal. The BIA transferred him to a couple of new positions before putting him on leave.

Then, Garvais was arrested last August while at the the Omak Stampede on the Colville Reservation. The Spokane tribe brought criminal charges against him, accusing him of mishandling undercover drug funds. DOJ lawyers say the tribe has no jurisdiction over a federal agent.

Garvais is a Colville tribal descendant but is not enrolled in any tribe.

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Agent says he's victim of retaliation (The Spokesman Review 1/18)

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