Noem Doubles Down On Claim That Cartels Operate In South Dakota Reservations

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks at the Monument Leaders Rally hosted by the South Dakota Republican Party before introducing former President Donald Trump on September 08, 2023 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Noem endorsed Trump during the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:05 PM – Friday, May 17, 2024

After being barred from several tribes’ reservations over her remarks, South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem stepped up her accusations on Thursday that drug gangs with ties to Native American tribes are operating in the state.


Noem (R-S.D.) stated in an interview with NewsNation that she will provide the public with evidence of cartel involvement in the state on Friday.

“They are definitely have set up operations in South Dakota. We’ve seen the Bandidos there, MS-13 is there,” Noem said. “They’ve recruited members from the tribes.”

The governor has also previously asserted that cartel activity was benefiting tribal chiefs. As a result, five South Dakota tribes banned Noem from their territories. In a vote on Friday, a sixth member of the leadership board suggested banning her as well.

She urged the tribal governments to intensify their efforts to combat gang violence and placed blame regarding the alleged criminal activity on the Biden administration.

“These are some of my poorest communities, and they want safe communities. They want their children to be safe,” she said. “They don’t want to have the type of violence happening outside their doors.” 

“I have no jurisdiction there because I’m a governor,” she continued. “If they’re a sovereign nation, the federal government has to step in and the tribal leaders have to step in.”

Last month, Alli Moran, a spokesman for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, told The Hill outlet that many tribes “share the same sentiments” about Noem, particularly in regards to their belief that she does not respect or “fully understand” tribal sovereignty.

This follows recent backlash Noem suffered from both Republicans and Democrats after admitting that she killed her own dog, “Cricket,” in her new book “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward.” The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

“Cricket was a wirehair pointer, about 14 months old,” the governor wrote. She says the young dog had an “aggressive personality” and was supposed to assist Noem on her hunting escapades. She wrote about bringing Cricket on a pheasant hunt with more experienced canines. Cricket, like any untrained dog exploring new territories, “ruined the hunt,” she says, going “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life,” like most dogs would on a first-time hunt. Then, Noem notes how she tried to control the dog with a shock collar, and even admits that she “hated” the dog. Nevertheless, Noem maintained that she should shoot and kill the dog, rather than surrender it to the pound or a pet adoption center.

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