Pine Ridge bootleggers get probation and community service 5-15-07

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Two women have been sentenced for bootlegging alcohol on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier of Rapid City on Monday sentenced Louise Jumping Eagle, 62, of Pine Ridge to a $500 fine and two years of probation. Juanita Jumping Eagle, 53, of Rapid City, was sentenced to two years of probation and 20 hours of community service.

The women, who are related through marriage, could have received up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to dispensing intoxicants in Indian Country, the federal bootlegging law that allows prosecutors to charge offenders if a tribal ordinance bans alcohol.

At separate times in December 2005, each women sold vodka to an undercover Bureau of Indian Affairs agent, federal prosecutors said.

Marty Jackley, U.S. attorney for South Dakota, said he has stepped up enforcement of the bootlegging law because of requests from elders and tribal leaders concerned about chronic alcoholism.

Alcohol is barred from the 5,000-square-mile reservation that's home to more than 15,000 Oglala Sioux. The reservation has one of the nation's highest alcoholism-related mortality rates.

Four stores in Whiteclay, Neb., just outside the reservation border, sell an estimated 4 million of cans of alcohol annually, most of it to reservation residents.

The stores have been a source of tension for years, and tribal members have tried to stop the alcohol sales through the courts, the county and the state licensing board.