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Yankton Sioux leader calls methamphetamine a major problem

Methamphetamine remains a big problem for the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Chairman Thurman Cournoyer said.

Meth is classified as a controlled substance in tribal law. But with just five Bureau of Indian Affairs officers on the reservation, enforcement is difficult, Cournoyer said.

The death of RieLee Lovell might bring about change. The two-year-old girl was found dead in a home where adults were using meth, sleeping pills and other drugs.

"We have to get a handle on the meth situation,” Cournoyer told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “The feeling is that meth had a big part in that (death).”

The federal courts have ruled that the reservation has been diminished, so law enforcement and jurisdiction are complicated. Cournoyer said the tribe plans to take over law enforcement from the BIA and hire four more officers.

Taylor Cournoyer, 21, and his wife, Laurie Cournoyer, 28, have been charged with felony child abuse and failure to report the death of a child. The state is handling the case because the home where RieLee died is not within tribal jurisdiction.

Get the Story:
Tribe: We must combat meth (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/17)
'Methamphetamine killed that girl' (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/14)

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