Heroin in Indian Country

Omar Sharif BeasleyBY ED FELIEN

There has been an “epidemic” of heroin addiction in the South Minneapolis Native American community, according to Clyde Bellecourt.  Six people in the Little Earth Housing Project have died of overdoses in the past six months.
Ruben Rosario reported in the Pioneer Press:  “Bellecourt, who as a spiritual elder is on call to perform traditional drumming as well as sage and sweetgrass-burning prayer ceremonies at area hospitals at the request of American Indian patients, shared details about a recent heroin-related death.
“The victim, who lived in south Minneapolis, was a 34-year-old mother of three. The oldest, 12, found her dead when he returned from school. Bellecourt presided over the burial, as he has done on numerous occasions in the past year.
“ ‘I don’t know what happened to the kids,’ he told me.
“ ‘They may have gone with relatives. They may have been taken by child welfare. They may have been put up for adoption.’ ”
On Thursday, May 28, federal prosecutors announced the indictments of 41 people associated with dealing heroin in South Minneapolis and in the White Earth and Red Lake Indian Reservations.
Omar Sharif Beasley, the alleged leader of the operation, has a history of dealing opiates to the Native community.  He was arrested in 2009 on the Red Lake Reservation with 2,000 tablets of oxycontin, oxycodone  and diazepam.
Although the majority of the people indicted were from either Minneapolis or Red Lake, 10 were from Detroit, Milwaukee or Chicago, suggesting the sting may have reached higher up the distribution system, moving from retail to wholesale.
But where does this heroin come from?
Three-quarters of the world’s opium is grown in Afghanistan.  Although the U.S. government insists it is doing all it can to eradicate opium production, there are over half a million acres of poppies in the southern provinces.  In an Oct. 27, 2009, article, the New York Times has said that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of former Premier Hamid Karzai, controlled the distribution of opium in Afghanistan by controlling key bridges and highways with the complete cooperation of the CIA and the U.S. military.  The original U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was successful because it was done in collaboration with the Afghan drug warlords, just as the invasion of Sicily in World War II was successful because it was done in collaboration with the Sicilian Mafia in a deal that included the U.S. freeing Lucky Luciano from prison.
The U.S. claims that the Taliban are profiting from the production of opium, but in May of 2001, just before the U.S. invasion, Colin Powell awarded the Taliban government a grant of $43 million for eliminating opium production.
In his statement announcing the indictment, United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger said, “With the takedown of the Beasley organization, there will be less heroin sold in Minnesota, and less heroin available in Indian Country. We intend to keep it that way.
“It does not matter if you are in Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee or Mexico: If you bring heroin into the state of Minnesota, if you sell heroin in our state, we will use every tool available to us to arrest you, investigate you and put you behind bars.  We will do everything we can to protect every person in Minnesota, in every corner of Minnesota, from heroin trafficking.”
Does that mean Luger is willing to go after the CIA, the U.S. military and President Obama?

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