A person from a cannabis operation in South Dakota accused of paying undocumented immigrants for as little as $ 5 an hour and exposing them to harsh conditions is again causing controversy in the state.
Last summer, former President of the Navajo Nation’s San Juan River Farm Board, Dineh Benally, reportedly turned 400 acres of farmland into an illegal cannabis farm. This operation took place throughout the Shiprock chapter in the northeastern part of the reserve.
According to current reports of Highland newsBenally is now attempting a similar operation in other Indian communities. Navajo Nation Police Chief Philip Francisco doesn’t know where Benally is. He is believed to be hiding somewhere to avoid a multitude of cases against him in tribal courts – one of which is a federal investigation.
Benallys previous operations reportedly busy Chinese-Americans and undocumented Chinese immigrants. Due to low wages (around $ 5 an hour), harsh working conditions and racist allegations, these trafficking victims protested by setting fire to a number of Benally’s greenhouses. This only drew more attention to the operation.
It was last November when police raided Benally’s farm and confiscated over £ 60,000 of illegal cannabis. According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), this was one of the largest cannabis busts in the country. Benally was able to find legal loopholes by promoting them as legal cannabis growers.
However, his speculated current cannabis project doesn’t seem to attract as many investors or interest from local tribes.
It wasn’t until February 6 that he presented the following to tribal members on behalf of Palliation Collaborative, defending ourselves: “We, the indigenous people, want excellent and superior health care. We want agriculture, development. We want trade and commerce. But above all, we want to stand on our own two feet. “
On March 16, the San Juan River Farm Board voted to remove land use rights from farmers who participated in Benally’s cannabis operation. The only problem with this is that it would Take away dozens of families’ farming rights, according to Searchlight New Mexico.