Department of the Interior K-9 Unit Seizes More Than $4 Million of Narcotics

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Department of the Interior K-9 Unit Seizes More Than $4 Million of Narcotics


Interior’s Law Enforcement K-9 Unit Seizes More Than $4 Million Dollars of Narcotics in Indian Country

82.8 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.4 pounds of heroin, and 2,000 THC Concentrate cigarette cartridges seized


Last edited 8/30/2019

Date: August 30, 2019

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt highlighted another successful seizure of narcotics. While on patrol near the exterior boundaries of the Laguna Indian Reservation in New Mexico, a Bureau of Indian Affairs K-9 police unit arrested an individual and seized 85 pounds of narcotics worth more than $4 million dollars.

The K-9 police unit seized:

  • 82.8 pounds (37,578.75 grams) of methamphetamine with a street value of $3,795,454;
  • 2.44 pounds (1,110.58 grams) of heroin with a street value of $162,145; and
  • 2,000 THC Concentrate cigarette cartridges with a retail value of $90,000

“I commend the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ law enforcement team and all of the dedicated men and women in uniform who protect Indian Country.” said Secretary Bernhardt. “The President has made it a priority to keep our communities safe and drug free. By working alongside our Native communities and other partners, we are doing everything we can to get these drugs off the streets; today’s announcement is another example of that progress.”

“I applaud the exemplary service demonstrated by K-9 Police Officer Nicholas Jackson and K-9 Kofi to safeguard our Nation’s communities, both tribal and non-tribal, from these addictive poisons, valued at more than 4 million dollars,” said Assistant Secretary Tara Katuk Sweeney. “The Interstates paved through our tribal lands are not save havens for drug runners. I am proud of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services law enforcement officers for standing watch and making arrests.”

“Our BIA-OJS Officers continue to stand vigilant and ready to respond to any drug trafficking operations moving through Indian Country and I am proud of Officer Nick Jackson and K-9 Kofi’s for their continued success as a team,” said BIA-OJS Director Charles Addington. “Our BIA and Tribal law enforcement officers do an awesome job and are proud to serve and protect tribal communities every day.”


In FY 2018, the BIA-OJS led 15 operations in seven states, resulting in a total of 372 arrests and the total seizure of over 3,200 pounds of illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately $9.8 million dollars.

Other Recent Seizures

Arizona –The Department’s Joint Task Force on Opioid Reduction seized approximately 30,000 fentanyl pills and more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of other illegal drugs during an operation in Arizona. This operation was related to a Bureau of Indian Affairs Drug Enforcement joint investigation into large amounts of fentanyl pills from a Mexican drug trafficking organization being transported into the U.S. through Points of Entry located on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

New Mexico – A Bureau of Indian Affairs K-9 unit was patrolling the interstate on the Laguna Pueblo when he conducted a traffic stop. Upon searching the vehicle, the BIA K-9 officer detected several packages containing more than $230,000 worth of marijuana and THC Concentrate.

Arizona – In February, the Opioid Task Force conducted a Criminal Interdiction Operation focused on areas known for high drug trafficking in and around the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. The DOI Opioid Task Force consisted of Special Agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Drug Enforcement and BIA K-9 uniformed officers, the San Carlos Apache Police Department, and the Bureau of Land Management. This operation capped a lengthy, two phased enforcement effort aimed at dismantling and disrupting the drug distribution networks targeting the San Carlos Apache Reservation. These investigations resulted in the combined purchase and seizure of approximately 417 grams of methamphetamine – estimated street value of $27,060 – which ultimately resulted in eighteen Federal Indictments.

Washington - A February 28 operation on the Spokane Reservation in Washington also resulted in the seizure of more than $200,000 worth of heroin and methamphetamine and two non-Indian subjects were arrested. On March 13, 2019, BIA Drug Enforcement, DEA, US Border Patrol and Mattawa Police Department seized approximately 2,107 grams (4.6 pounds) of methamphetamine from a residence known to be a source of supply to reservations in Washington State. The illegal narcotics seized had an estimated street value of approximately $105,350.



U.S. Department of the Interior’s Opioid Reduction Task Force Cracks Down on Illicit Drug Trade in Indian Country

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Media Contact: Nedra Darling, OPA-IA Phone: 202-219-4152
For Immediate Release: June 24, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt highlighted the efforts made by the Department of the Interior (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force over the past year, resulting in the seizure of more than 3,200 pounds of illegal narcotics with an estimated value of $9.8 million dollars.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) is the primary lead for the DOI Opioid Reduction Task Force with operational support being provided by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Park Police, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Last year, BIA-OJS officers successfully stopped thousands of pounds of deadly narcotics from reaching our tribal communities,” said Secretary Bernhardt.  “I applaud the multi-department effort that has led to these drug seizures as it supports the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting its citizens and getting these drugs off the streets. Through collaboration with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners, we are best able to effectively and efficiently address the drug issues facing our communities. It’s an all hands on deck approach, and it’s making a difference.”

Other tribal, state and local agencies participated in the task force efforts to disrupt illegal narcotics from being distributed to Indian Country. In FY 18, BIA-OJS successfully led 15 DOI Opioid Reduction Task Force operations in seven states, resulting in 372 arrests. States where operations were led included Arizona, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, and Washington.

“I commend the progress made in FY 2018 by the BIA-OJS through its leadership of the DOI Opioid Reduction Task Force and its stand-alone interdiction operations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tahsuda. “BIA-OJS law enforcement officers and officers across the Department of the Interior answer the call every day to promote public safety and end the scourge of drugs in tribal communities. I thank the BIA-OJS Officers for their daily actions to save lives, promote public awareness and confront dangers.”

BIA-OJS Director Addington was selected last year to head the development of the DOI Opioid Reduction Task Force, a coordinated intra-agency and interagency effort established to support President Donald J. Trump’s national call to end the opioid crisis.

“I am proud of the extraordinary men and women within our Division of Drug Enforcement for stepping up to strategically combat the increasing opioid and other illegal narcotic epidemic affecting Tribal communities across the nation,” said BIA-OJS Director Addington. “It has been a great honor to lead the development of the Task Force and the BIA-OJS effort to support the White House Initiative on Ending America’s Opioid Crisis.”

BIA-OJS Division of Drug Enforcement provides complex narcotic investigations, as well as gang and human trafficking investigations that focus on the disruption of drug distribution networks and criminal enterprise directly related to Indian Country and those impacting Indian communities.




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