- Associated Press - Friday, February 24, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Four people have been banished from a remote Alaska tribal village for dealing methamphetamine, community leaders said Thursday.

Twenty-five residents of Allakaket confronted the suspected dealers and put them on a Tuesday afternoon flight to Fairbanks, Allakaket Chief PJ Simon told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/2mt3fQ4 ).

“The suspected meth dealer was armed and carrying a pistol,” Simon said. “We all went there - 25 people. The second chief and myself went to the person’s room. We didn’t know if we would be shot. We were the unarmed SWAT team. We showed up at their house and escorted them out of town.”

The banishment came after an emotional tribal council meeting attended by residents who braved temperatures of 40 degrees below zero to get to it. The village, like many remote Alaska communities, has no Alaska State Trooper post or village public safety officer.

“Somebody strange, nonlocal, came in with someone who lived in Allakaket. They were giving meth to underage girls for free,” Simon said. “They were giving it out to young men also. This is crazy. This is stuff we never thought we’d see.”



Although banishment is rare in Allakaket, leaders once banished a person for a year after the person brought five gallons of whiskey and cocaine and methamphetamine to the village.

The village takes a hard stance against drug dealers because of an influx of cocaine and LSD in the 1980s, Simon said. Between 1980 and 1984, 22 suicides in the village were attributed to drug addiction when the population stood at about 200.

The tribe does not tolerate drug dealers but is willing to help people struggling with addition, Simon said.

“You have loving family and friends who are willing to embrace you,” he said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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