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BIA agents sieze 30 tons of marijuana

WASHINGTON -- Two BIA special agents have been recognized by the White
House Office of National Drug Control Policy for their work in eradicating
a major marijuana cultivation project on the Yakama reservation in
Washington state.

None of the suspects arrested in the investigation were Yakama tribal
members, according to the press release from the BIA.

Special Agents Craig Janis and Mario Redlegs, of the BIA's Office of Law
Enforcement Services, were presented with awards at a White House ceremony
Jan. 19.

Janis, 34, is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, S.D.
Redlegs, 38, is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of Fort Yates,
N.D.

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The eradication effort took place last year. The crop, or "grow," consisted
of 60,500 mature plants weighing a total of around 30 tons with an
estimated value of $35 million. It was the biggest bust in Washington state
history and the fourth largest in U.S. history, according to the BIA.

The investigation into marijuana cultivation on the Yakama reservation
began in August 2004 by the BIA's Division of Special Investigations Drug
Enforcement Section. Redlegs and Janis were part of a multi-agency effort
led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Yakama Resident Office, and
included personnel from the Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the local
multi-jurisdictional Law Enforcement Against Drugs Task Force, Klickitat
County Sheriff's Department and the state National Guard.

Redlegs and Janis hiked over tough terrain in adverse weather conditions,
locating numerous camp sites and collecting crucial initial evidence that
led to several arrests. Although the number of arrests was not revealed,
the BIA said none of those arrested were Yakama tribal members.

"This is only one example of how BIA officers work shoulder-to-shoulder
with other federal, tribal and local law enforcement offices and agencies.
Special Agents Redlegs and Janis exemplify the hard work, dedication and
professionalism that are expected of BIA law enforcement personnel," said
OLES Director Christopher Chaney.

The OLES carries out its mission to improve law enforcement services and
preserve public safety in Indian country through six district offices. The
office funds and/or trains more than 170 tribally operated police
departments, directly operates 31 police departments, funds an additional
59 tribally operated detention facilities and directly operates 22
detention facilities across the country. It coordinates homeland security
support on federal Indian lands, works cooperatively with other federal and
local law enforcement agencies in Indian country, and provides training and
professional development through the Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M.