- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BELCOURT, N.D. (AP) - An operation targeting fugitives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota has resulted in 18 arrests.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted Operation Northern Lights on Tuesday with help from other federal, state and local agencies.

Over 10 hours, authorities arrested people who were wanted on felony warrants for drug offenses and other serious crimes. One arrest came after a foot chase and another had a standoff that ended when authorities broke down the door of the home.

A similar sweep in December resulted in 22 arrests on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, where the Tribal Council in August had declared a state of emergency due to what officials said was rampant drug use and trafficking.

Turtle Mountain Tribal Chairman Richard McCloud took note of the success of Operation No Sanctuary on Spirit Lake and suggested an operation for his reservation, according to the Marshal’s Service.

Tribal lands often are viewed as a safe haven by people wanted on felony warrants. State authorities can arrest only non-enrolled members on a reservation, and not all tribal governments have extradition laws in place to transfer an enrolled member to a state or local jurisdiction that holds an active warrant.

One of the people arrested on the Turtle Mountain Reservation was a Mexican national who was wanted on drug and weapons charges in Ward County.



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