Tribal Police Chief Chad Johnson first noticed a change on the wind-swept prairies of the reservation around six years ago.
Small-time methamphetamine dealers known to the police officers for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes — known as the MHA Nation — were ceding territory to dealers from California, Colorado, Utah and even Latin America. Many were heavily armed and dealing in pounds of meth.
Local and federal officials estimate 90% of the drugs on the reservation now come from other states or countries. And it's not just meth. In 2012, Justice Department officials spotted heroin on the reservation for the first time.
"Instead of finding an 8-ball of meth, now you're finding pounds," said Tim Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota. "When we serve search warrants now, we don't just find drugs; we find firearms. Everyone is heavily armed. There are more and more guns."