July 30, 2008
INLAND EMPIRE, CA - Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff sent a letter to the National Indian Gaming Commission on Monday asking to close the Soboba Casino “until the Tribal Council allows unrestricted access by law enforcement authorities onto the reservation to enforce California’s criminal statutes.”
Sheriff Sniff told the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday "The tribal council has directed tribal officers to block officers coming onto the reservation. This is a violation of the law. Allowing an isolated pocket of lawlessness to exist is simply not an option. The residents deserve better than this."
“On behalf of the public and law enforcement partners, I regret that it has come to this. But, to protect and preserve an isolated pocket of lawlessness that causes fear in our neighboring communities is simply not an option or sound public policy.”
The announcement comes two weeks after the sheriff and Soboba Tribal Chairman Robert Salgado signed an agreement to ease tensions on the San Jacinto-area reservation.
Salgado denied the reservation was blocking the deputies, "We haven't changed any policy. We check everyone who comes in and goes out. If they got a warrant they can come on but they have to stop first. They can't just come on and cruise or patrol. That's not legal."
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