GREAT FALLS — Josh Lamson, the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Blackfeet Tribe, released the following information on Friday, April 1, 2022:
On March 31, 2022, a federal search warrant was executed at a home in Browning, MT by the FBI, with support from Blackfeet Law Enforcement. Incidental to that search, eight people were arrested on tribal charges. Four of those people were also charged on tribal arrest warrants from conduct that is alleged to have occurred previous to the search. No person at this time faces federal charges related to the search. Blackfeet Tribal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, therefore all charges in tribal court are misdemeanor charges.
In order to ensure the fairness of the proceedings, the Chief Judge of Blackfeet Tribal Court will order today that the names of the defendants, the charges, and the course of the proceedings will at this time be closed to the public. Today’s arraignment hearings will also be closed to the public.
In order to correct any misinformation that may be in circulation, let me confirm that Chairman Davis was not charged or arrested yesterday morning, and was not in the home at the time of the search.
The Blackfeet Reservation is a small, close-knit, rural community. My office is in the process of consulting with stakeholders to develop a coherent media policy that balances the community’s right to know with defendants’ right to fair proceedings under the Indian Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Further information on this and future cases originating on this Reservation will issue in accordance with that policy.
We will update you when we get more information.
(THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2022) Eight people were taken into custody in Browning on Thursday, March 31, 2022, according to Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services chief Jess Edwards.
Edwards said in a news release that at around 6:00 a.m. BLES and the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at the home of Timothy Davis, the chairman of Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.
The tribal prosecutor's office told MTN:
- Eight people in custody on probable cause arrest due to evidence of a crime that arose during the search
- Four of the eight people had outstanding warrants for criminal sale of dangerous drugs (alleged sale of fentanyl)
- Two of those four individuals had suspended sentences for previous drug related charges
- The four with outstanding warrants should be arraigned this afternoon
- The charges for the other four probable cause arrests haven't been released at this time
- Right now, there are no federal charges connected to this event
Their names have not been released at this point.
An investigation is underway by the FBI. At this time, no other information has been released, including the reason for the search warrant.
We are working to get more details and will post an update when we do.
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NOTE: This article originally claimed that Timothy Davis was among those taken into custody; we have since learned that Davis was NOT taken into custody.