State tribe closes meth loophole
Legislation mirrors Oklahoma's drug law

By Tony Thornton Published: November 24, 2006
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/> Cooperation in such cases between tribal and federal prosecutors is "more the rule rather than the exception," said Edward Snow, who prosecutes crime on Indian land for the federal court in Tulsa. "They (tribal courts) look at it and say, the federal government can do more to the guy than we can."

The Oklahoma law made pseudoephedrine tablets a schedule V substance that can be sold only at licensed pharmacies. Consumers must show a photo identification and sign for the drug. It restricts the amount a person can buy over any 30-day period to 9 grams.

The law instantly caused a huge reduction in reported meth labs.

Rowland, the state narcotics bureau lawyer, said his agents contemplated the prospect of meth cooks and suppliers, or perhaps even tribal-owned stores, taking advantage of their status to evade the state anti-meth law.

"But I can tell you we haven't seen any cases of someone racing to a tribal store and buying large quantities and leaving or even buying large quantities and staying around (on tribal land) to cook.

The Osage Nation law, which passed unanimously, applies only to Osage members in certain parts of Osage County. Snow's office will have jurisdiction for meth crimes committed by other people on Osage land.

Still, Rowland said, it is a start.

"There has been some ability for those who want to do wrong to claim the cover of their tribal membership on tribal land. I'm just delighted to see that the tribes aren't going to stand for that and are passing their own legislation," Rowland said.

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