Hoeven Introduces Turtle Mountain Chairman at SCIA Hearing, Discusses Efforts to Stop Flow of Fentanyl into U.S. and Tribal Communities

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) this week, Senator John Hoeven introduced Jamie Azure, Chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, as part of a discussion on efforts to stem the flow of fentanyl and other illegal drugs into the U.S. and tribal communities. As the former chairman of the committee, Hoeven has worked to bolster public safety in Indian Country and give tribal law enforcement the tools and resources they need to bring offenders to justice. To this end, Hoeven:

    • Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to reauthorize the Drug Elimination Program for tribal housing authorities as part of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act.
  • Worked to fund and open the U.S. Indian Law Enforcement Advanced Training Center at Camp Grafton.
    • Hoeven initially secured $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2020 for BIA law enforcement to conduct the specialized training courses at Camp Grafton.
    • Classes include advanced courses on complex subject matter, such as missing persons investigations, drug interdictions, forensics and the Bridge Program.
    • The Bridge Program allows local or state trained officers to become federally certified, providing additional law enforcement to Indian Country.
  • Continues pressing the Biden administration to enforce the law and secure the border in order to combat drug and human trafficking.

“The fentanyl that’s pouring across our southern border, much of it originating in China, is impacting every tribe, state and community in the nation,” said Hoeven. “We need to find ways to address this serious issue. That’s why we’ve worked to bolster law enforcement, including creating a new training center in North Dakota for BIA officers, which provides courses on drug interdiction and will help meet the need for additional law enforcement in tribal communities, especially in the Great Plains region. At the same time, we have to secure our borders and combat the traffickers that are bringing these harmful substances into our country.”

          These efforts are complemented by Hoeven’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure strong support for programs like:

  • The Regional Information Sharing Systems program, which better enables law enforcement agencies to coordinate and combat crime that occurs across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), which provides a wide range of support to state and local law enforcement, including equipment and training.
  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which awards grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce crime, advance public safety and combat the manufacturing and trafficking of methamphetamine and opioids.