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Kwethluk Cracks Down On Bootleggers

Kwethluk tried to limit travel in and out of the community to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the measure has apparently resulted in increased alcohol and drugs being smuggled into the dry village. 

Boris Epchook, incident commander for the Kwethluk Tribal Incident Management Team, said that the Kwethluk Tribal Council voted to take more stringent measures to limit what they say is an upswing in the illegal transport of drugs and alcohol.

The measures include a $1,000 fine, and the confiscation of the snowmachine or other vehicle used to transport alcohol and drugs. The tribe will also fine those people traveling in and out of the village without authorization, and/or traveling during the village curfew hours of midnight to 6 a.m.

The measure says that fines will increase $1,000 with each additional infraction, and the confiscated vehicles will not be able to be bailed out until after the pandemic ends. Additionally, the measure makes the vehicles available for use by the Kwethluk Tribal Incident Command Team, the security team, and Kwethluk Police Department personnel for enforcement work.

Epchook says that the tribal council is worried that the boxes and bottles being smuggled into the village could also be carrying the coronavirus.