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News Release

Moapa Band of Paiutes

Office of Public Affairs - Indian Affairs

Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs

U.S. Department of the Interior

Between May 6 and 12, 2022, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement, the Moapa River Indian Reservation Police Department, Nevada State Police, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson Police Department, and other federal agencies conducted a criminal interdiction operation within the Moapa River Indian Reservation that resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of illegal narcotics.

“Federal, Tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies collaborated to form this criminal interdiction team,” said Acting Moapa Tribal Police Chief Jeff Harper. “This operation helped us identify drug, human, and sex trafficking activities that occur daily along Interstate 15 through the Moapa River Indian Reservation.”

Law enforcement officers from the interdisciplinary mobile enforcement team seized over 2,100 pounds of narcotics, worth an estimated street value of $11.7 million, resulting in the largest illegal marijuana seizure in Nevada State Police history. During the seven-day operation, 219 traffic stops occurred with 57 vehicle searches that produced the following significant seizures:

  • Marijuana - 949,732grams (2,093.8 lbs), street value:$8.1 million
  • Fentanyl – 16,406grams (36.16 lbs),street value: $2.3 million
  • Cocaine - 13,080 grams (28.83 lbs), street value:$1.2 million
  • Heroin - 25.13grams (.05 lbs),street value: $ 3,670.00
  • Methamphetamine- 21.15 grams (.04 lbs), street value:$ 2,136.00
  • Handguns – 3

On May 9, while conducting interdiction duties on I-15 within the reservation’s boundaries, a Nevada State Police trooper and a Bureau of Indian Affairs drug enforcement K-9 officer conducted a search of a rental truck. During the search, the K-9 detected a positive hit, which allowed law enforcement officers to discover 72 large bags of marijuana. Two suspects, Tahmir Ishon Debman and Hariz Iasir Purvis, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana, a felony. Both were booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

"The Nevada State Police takes great pride in having multi-agency partnerships working together to keep illegal substances off our roadways and out of our communities," said Nevada State Police Colonel Pat Conmay. "This partnership resulted in the largest illegal marijuana seizure by the Nevada State Police, along with the arrest of the suspects involved. We are committed to the unified mission to keep Nevada safe."

"While the Moapa River Indian Reservation does not have a high rate of drug use, it is an ideal location for law enforcement agencies to work together to maximize the amount of product taken from the streets," said Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services Acting Deputy Bureau Director Steven Juneau. "This operation was a tremendous success and will make this and other Tribal communities across the Nation safer places to live."

In February of this year, another Bureau of Indian Affairs - Office of Justice Services drug interdiction operation confiscated from along the I-15 corridor within the Moapa Reservation 123 pounds of narcotics worth $2.8 million.

Logos - Moapa Band of Paiutes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, Nevada State Police