Notorious Mexican Cartel Threatened Tribal Leader To Prevent Testimony

A notorious Mexican drug cartel recently sent death threats to a tribal leader to prevent that individual from testifying before Congress, according to another tribal leader who showed up before Congress and told lawmakers the vast power that drug cartels hold.

The president of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana, Jeffrey Stiffarm, did not mention his fellow tribal leader who backed out of testifying before Congress but said the threat seemed legitimate.

“One thing that we really seem to overlook all the time is the threats, the death threats we get from cartel leaders,” Stiffarm told the House Natural Resources Committee. “We had the tribal leader from Montana, that declined to testify here today because he received death threats that he was going to testify.”

The House Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing to examine drug cartel operations on reservations, according to The Washington Times. Members of the committee were shocked to learn that threats from cartels had interfered with their work.

“The cartels have threatened them with death?” Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) said. “That’s horrible to think that an American citizen has been threatened by a foreign cartel if they come to Congress and testify about what they’re doing.”

Although Stiffarm’s community is far from the southern border, he said the Mexican cartels oversee the drug activity and everything else around the area.

“We’re fighting a losing battle and the cartels are winning. The drug dealers are winning. They’re overrunning our reservations,” Stiffarm said.

An official at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Jessica Vaughn, pointed out that the threats indicate the cartels’ growing influence and expansion.

“It shows these aren’t benign small-time organizations,” Vaughn said. “These are criminal enterprises that are actively seeking to expand, that are attracted to the opportunity to sell drugs in the United States and are willing to use violent tactics to succeed.”

Vaughn noted that the issue is grave, given that public officials are “intimidated” by the cartels.

“This is creating a huge threat to our civil society that has really only been very isolated and rare in the United States of America before now,” she added.