The Crow Reservation in Montana was established in 1868 near Billings, and was visited this week by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was accompanied by Montana’s U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

I asked Laslovich about the Attorney General’s first-ever visit to the reservation.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Visited the Montana Crow Reservation

“The United States Attorney General Merrick Garland came to Montana to not only visit the Crow Indian Reservation but also to meet with our office in Billings as well as our law enforcement partners, local, state and federal to hear directly from them their needs and what they're seeing on the ground," began Laslovich. "So the Attorney General was able to hear directly from them and I had the honor of accompanying him in all of his meetings both on Crow lands and at the Federal Courthouse in Billings.”

Garland is actually very familiar with Montana. He tried a case when he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney as a young lawyer in Helena. He didn't work in the local office, but he tried an antitrust case there. Garland also worked on the Unabomber case when he was previously with the Department of Justice. He worked on the Freemen standoff in Jordan, and, of course he has vacationed in Montana. He's been to Glacier and he's been to Yellowstone, so he is very familiar with the state.

Garland met with Local and Tribal Law Enforcement on the Drug Issue

Laslovich told me that Garland had confidential meetings with local and tribal law enforcement about the scourge of meth and fentanyl and to develop strategies on how to combat that pernicious problem.

“He had some thoughts in our law enforcement meeting that I unfortunately can't share but in terms of what is to come, in his view, not just from the drug problem but also perhaps even possibly additional resources,” he said. “Putting additional money in the hands of our partners to combat what is just an alarming problem, as you know.”

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The Attorney General also spoke with tribal leaders and law enforcement about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons issue and promised more resources in that area, as well.

Laslovich told me that having the U.S. Attorney General on the ground on the Crow Reservation will help to break loose more help and funding for law enforcement.

“The federal government is quite the bureaucracy and so to be able to talk to the top law enforcement officer for the country directly as our folks did, he can jar things loose and he is committed to doing that on a variety of fronts,” he said. “So I think that is some of the low-hanging fruit and as a benefit of the meeting.”

Garland Singled out and Honored One Member of the Local Staff

Garland also took time to honor one member of the Justice Department Office of Tribal Justice, Tracy Toulou, saying Toulou was "responsible for the excellence of our relationships, government-to-government, with Tribal communities all across the country."

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