Waldref testifies before Senate committee on fentanyl in native communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eastern Washington U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. She gave background on the fentanyl crisis in native communities, and the Department of Justice’s efforts to respond to it, including prevention and education efforts.

In addition to prevention and education efforts, Waldref highlighted two significant prosecutions involving distribution of fentanyl on Native American reservations. In January, more than 120,000 fentanyl-laced pills and 42 pounds of methamphetamine were seized in a takedown in Yakima County just outside the Yakama Nation. The other seizure in April involved approximately 161,000 fentanyl-laced pills intended for distribution on the Colville Indian Reservation.

“The Department of Justice is committed to working in collaboration with tribal, federal, state, and local partners across Indian country to respond to the fentanyl crisis both through law enforcement action and supportive resources and strategies,” Waldref said in her testimony.

She was joined by White House office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director Adam Cohen, Indian Health Services Director Roselyn Tso, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services Deputy Director Glen Melville.

Photo via U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Washington