The criminal element has invaded San Manuel and we know already that former Temecula Band of Luiseno Indians spokesperson Jennie Miranda's (who led the disenrollement of two large families of the tribe) son was fired for theft from the casino. Should the Feds step in? Where is the FBI? Remember the story we told you about here?
Where is it safe to go to a casino? If young tribal thugs make it an unpleasant experience, should Californians go elsewhere?
San Manuel Band's new leader vows end to criminal influences
10:00 PM PDT on Friday, April 4, 2008
By MICHELLE DeARMONDThe Press-Enterprise
The new chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians wants to beef up security on his reservation near San Bernardino and quash the gang influence that has many tribal members living in fear.
James Ramos, 41, took office this week amid growing community concerns about organized crime's ties to some tribal members.
"My goal for the next two years of the tribe is really to focus on security policy ... really making sure that tribal members feel safe," said Ramos, who also has served as the tribal unity and cultural awareness director. "You can probably imagine the work that's cut out for me."
Ramos took out a restraining order against a fellow tribal member a few months ago, saying the man threatened him at a tribal meeting and Ramos feared for his safety. Ramos and at least one other tribal family have private security guards for protection.
In an interview Thursday, Ramos stressed that he can't implement these changes by himself; he'll need the support of a majority of the 70 or so voting members of the tribe's general council, and he said it will take time.
Former employees have complained previously that the tribal government has failed to fully tackle the problems. Among the issues are:
The reservation was the site of a Drug Enforcement Administration bust in 2006 that included raids on several homes. The massive investigation targeted the Mexican Mafia, methamphetamine trafficking and street crime. The home of the current tribal treasurer was one of those raided.
Two of the people arrested in that raid were tribal members also charged in a murder-for-hire scheme. They're scheduled to appear in court later this month along with a leading Mexican Mafia member and his brother.
Former tribal employees have said tribal members have been allowed to break laws inside the casino, including assaulting patrons and using drugs, without repercussions. The former employees also say tribal members have instigated brawls and carried weapons into the casino.