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Cherokee Marshals cross-deputized with BIA and local authorities

MUSKOGEE, Okla. - Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith sees a new cross-deputization agreement as a vote of confidence in the professionalism of the Cherokee Marshal Service.

"Cross deputization with the BIA, Nowata County and the city of Westville shows the growing confidence and cooperative spirit the communities in northeastern Oklahoma have in working with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service," Smith said.

Marshals can now enforce laws on non-Indian as well as Indian land. Agreements with other surrounding communities are helping to make a dent in local crime investigation, officials say. The service has worked with both local and federal law enforcement agencies to help solve murder and drug cases.

In November, marshals continued a crackdown on methamphetamines and seized two labs, making multiple arrests, then found themselves tracking criminals who ran from the busts.

The Locust Grove Chief of Police called on the service Nov. 21 to assist in another meth-lab arrest.

"The reason he called us is because we have the expertise to bust meth labs," said Dave Roberts, director of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. "Our officers are valuable assets and we're always happy to assist other local law enforcement agencies."

Oklahoma isn't alone in its growing problem of methamphetamine labs. Missouri and Kansas officials also report high numbers of the drug labs.

"These criminals are a danger to themselves, to their communities and to law enforcement officers," Roberts said. "That's why it's so important that we put the people who run these labs behind bars."

The marshals, who now have liability protection under the Federal Tort Claims Act, say they hope to enter into cross-deputization agreements with all law enforcement agencies within its 14-county jurisdictional area.