County attorney says fed’s gang bust won’t fix problem

At least one county attorney is concerned that a mass bust of alleged gang members will amount to a short lived victory.

In a statewide bust last month, federal authorities charged 24 people said to belong to a gang called the "Native Mob." Charges included attempted murder, drug trafficking and racketeering.

Arrests were made in the Twin Cities as well as on the Leech Lake, White Earth and the Mille Lacs Indian reservations.

"The indictment that was unsealed ... I think is a pretty important indicator as to the efforts we are taking in Minnesota at all levels to enhance public safety," U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said at the time of the arrests.

But Mille Lacs County Attorney Jan Jude, whose office assisted in the investigation, has doubts about how big a dent law enforcement put in the gang problem.

"Certainly a big bust like that should have an impact," she said. "I don't have a lot of faith that it's going to have a long-term impact. I think that there are people that are going to fill those shoes very quickly."

Jude said serious felonies have quadrupled since 2007 on the tribal land in Mille Lacs County, resulting in hundreds of cases. She said most of the repeat offenders her office prosecutes also come from the reservation.

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.