Democrats Feature American-Indian Tribe Known For Rampant Drug-Smuggling

The Democratic-controlled House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing regarding the southern border wall’s impact on the surrounding environment. One of the hearing’s featured speakers was Ned Norris, the chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, who spoke out adamantly against the construction of the wall through his tribe’s lands.

However, the tribe is known among law enforcement for its rampant participation in the drug trade, with one Border Patrol agent suggesting as many as 90% of its members are involved in smuggling activity.

They were recently featured on an ABC News investigative report. They are the third largest Native American reservation in the U.S. and has become one of the busiest drug and human smuggling corridors in North America.

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“There’s a lot of tribe members who are deeply involved with the cartel here in Mexico,” said Matthias Estevan, an O’odham Nation member living south of the border, for the May 2019 report.


House Democrats invited the leader of the Tohono O’odham Nation to speak out against construction of the U.S.-Mexico wall, despite the tribe’s long history of cross-border drug-smuggling. 

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Wednesday titled “Destroying Sacred Sites and Erasing Tribal Culture: The Trump Administration’s Construction of the Border Wall,” which focused on the border wall’s environmental impact.

A featured speaker at the hearing was Ned Norris, who serves as the chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, an American-Indian tribe located around the Arizona-Mexico border.

Norris voiced his opposition to the wall, noting that construction of a barrier would split their territory, which expands across the Mexican border, and would purportedly desecrate their cultural and sacred sites.

“The federal government’s continued destruction of our religious and cultural resources [amounts to] nothing less but bulldozing of our church grounds and our cemeteries. For us, this is no different than DHS building a 30-foot wall through Arlington Cemetery or through the grounds of the National Cathedral,” Norris said before the committee.  More

How rampant is smuggling among members of the O’odham Nation? While it’s difficult to gauge given the nature of the criminal activity, one Border Patrol agent estimated in a June 2019 report that as many as 80% to 90% of members were involved in drug or human smuggling.

The Tohono O’odham Nation has been running drugs and smuggling people for years. Addiction is rampant on the reservation and there is a clear path for the cartel to enter our country relatively easy.

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