Gov. Kristi Noem reiterates claims of cartel activity on Native American reservations

“They’ve recruited members from the tribes," Noem said during an interview.

Published: May 17, 2024 12:53pm

South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem this week reiterated her previous claims of drug cartels trespassing on Native American reservations in her state. 

“They have definitely set up operations in South Dakota. We’ve seen the Bandidos there, MS-13 is there,” she said during a Thursday interview, according to The Hill. “They’ve recruited members from the tribes.”

Noem has been banned from reservation lands by multiple tribal nations due to her remarks on immigration and crime. Among the tribes that banned her from their land are the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Noem had previously blamed the alleged trespassing of the cartels on President Joe Biden.

"These are some of my poorest communities, and they want safe communities. They want their children to be safe,” she said during the interview. “They don’t want to have the type of violence happening outside their doors.” 

“I have no jurisdiction there because I’m a governor,” she added. “If they’re a sovereign nation, the federal government has to step in and the tribal leaders have to step in.”

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