Tuscarora Indian casino arrests highlight sovereign claims of NC tribe
What began as complaints of illegal activity turned into a yearlong investigation of casinos in Robeson County, North Carolina. And on Monday officials announced they have not only found unlawful gambling, but also marijuana farms and an illegal police force.
The multi-agency investigation resulted in more than 26 arrests, according to a Monday press release from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations. The people operating the casinos were members of the Tuscarora Nation, a sovereign citizens group which has made threats in the past to wage war against local police.
“This group openly expressed beliefs that neither the laws of North Carolina nor the United States applied to them, putting law-abiding citizens in danger. We hope today’s arrests provide a safer community for them,” Terrance Merriweather, head of North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, said in the press release.
The casinos operated were always open and had their own security force. The three locations offered a variety of games including one-arm bandit and pot-o-gold. According to the release, the casinos were in “blacked-out buildings with no clocks.”
During the raid police confiscated vehicles, drugs, money, weapons and more than 200 gambling machines.
According to the press release, the North Carolina ALE was responsible for Monday’s bust. During the process of the investigations both federal and local authorities helped gather information leading to the arrests, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to the SBI.
The leader of the Tuscarora Nation Kendall Locklear was arrested in the bust, according to the release.
“Most of the offenders arrested today were considered to be armed and dangerous and many have criminal records,” Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said in the press release. “People living in those towns were scared of the activities taking place around the casinos. At the end of the day, this operation is all about community betterment.”
The investigation is on-going. Here are the names of those arrested listed Monday:
Kendall Locklear, 57
Michelle Locklear, 46
Kendrick Locklear, 21
Micheal Locklear, 17
Fredrick Hawkins, 45
Timmy Oxendine, 46
Perry Locklear, 44
Timothy Jacobs, 44
Keton Oxendine, 24
Jerry Oxendine, 59
Edith Oxendine, 55
Miranda Jo Dial
Robert Chavis, 62
Derena Chavis, 52
Felicia Campbell, 46
Dustin Warriax, 48
Richard Sampson, 44
Marcus Bullard, 19