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Charge Of Police Bias In Shinnecock Drug Ring Trial

Debora Cartagena
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A lawyer for a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation says the state of New York and local police departments don’t have the authority to investigate and prosecute a major drug case.  

Justin Eleazer, a member of the Shinnecock tribe, was charged last year with operating a major drug ring that sold heroin laced with fentanyl.

The charges were a result of an investigation by the East End Drug Task Force.

A court motion filed by his lawyer this week alleges the Southampton Village police detective who led the drug probe made “incorrect and sometimes false” statements to the grand jury. 

The motion argues that only the U.S. Department of Justice has the authority to prosecute, not members of the state and local task force. The Shinnecock Indian Nation is a federally recognized tribe.

The lawyer’s motion has called for all charges to be dismissed.

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