This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

My Photo
Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Feds, tribal police unite in meth bust (Arizona)

Michael Ferraresi and Angelique Soenarie
The Arizona Republic

More than 500,000 doses of methamphetamine are off the Salt River Reservation after a seven-month investigation by tribal police and federal narcotics agents.

Officials targeted drug dealers preying on addicts in Arizona's Indian country. Salt River police announced the bust Wednesday with other members of a multiagency task force created through the Drug Enforcement Agency, considered the first to specifically target meth on an Arizona reservation. Officials said the partnership between tribal police and federal authorities could become a model for other tribes.

Most of the 15 pounds of raw meth, along with other drugs and guns, were seized from as many as 16 people focused on dealing on the Salt River Reservation. Some suspects were caught smuggling drugs from Mexico, officials said. advertisement

"All credit goes to the DEA for having the foresight to establish a partnership in Indian country that will make an impact," said Salt River Police Chief Stanley Kephart.

Salt River Tribal President Joni Ramos said she and other tribal leaders, along with police, have struggled to find a way to help families devastated by the grim aftereffects of meth addiction. Some families have children as young as 13 experimenting with meth.

A rising number of violent crimes and more drug overdoses are just some of the issues the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has been forced to cope with, tribal leaders said.

"The medical costs that go with (meth) are just staggering, from overdoses to the little tiny baby that was born addicted to this insidious drug," Ramos said.

"The costs to this community have been great and will continue to be a challenge in the foreseeable future."

With the drugs coming up through Mexico, it is hard for investigators to say how much goes to Salt River or to neighboring communities such as Mesa and Scottsdale.

Mesa and Scottsdale police contributed to the investigation, along with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Fort McDowell police; Tohono O'odham police; and the U.S. Attorney's Office. Smaller quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana were also seized. The meth and other drugs have a street value of more than $1 million, officials said.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute meth is 20 years in federal custody or a $1 million fine.

Salt River is considered the first Arizona Indian community to actively join a meth initiative, something authorities hope more tribes will consider.

"The message we want to deliver is that you cannot act with impunity in Indian communities," said Paul Charlton, U.S. attorney for Arizona.

Last summer, the Arizona Indian Country Methamphetamine Eradication Proposal was presented to 21 Arizona tribal police chiefs on ways to address drug trafficking in Indian communities. That proposal provided special training for tribal law enforcement agencies to work alongside state and local investigators.

The fast-rising meth problem was also a hot topic among community members at a recent election forum for Salt River Tribal Council candidates seeking a seat Sept. 5.

Some pledged to fight for better treatment programs and educational public-outreach programs to curb meth addiction.

Salt River is also part of an emerging group, the Northeast Valley Coalition Against Methamphetamine, which also relies on inter-agency information sharing to tackle the meth problem.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home