Published March 11, 2016
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Eleven Cherokee Nation marshals were cross-deputized as U.S. marshals earlier this month, marking the largest number of Cherokees with that authority at one time in more than a century.
The U.S. Marshal Service Eastern District of Oklahoma Fugitive Task Force out of Muskogee asked the Cherokee Nation to help with a warrant sweep called Operation Red Fern.
It led to about 50 arrests and 61 warrants cleared in Adair County from March 7-9.
“The U.S. Marshal Service has been cross deputizing law enforcement as U.S. marshals dating back to 1789, and with the Cherokee Nation since the late 1800s. We know Judge Parker swore in 200 Cherokee lawmen when Indian Territory was a safe haven for outlaws,” said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Ryan Hilton. “Adair County is in the Cherokee Nation’s footprint and the marshals have intimate knowledge of the area, so it was proper to bring them on.”
Being cross-deputized allows the Cherokee marshals to work their cases off tribal land and across state lines to make arrests and serve warrants, acting on behalf of the U.S. marshals.
During some of the arrests, suspects fled to Arkansas, and as U.S. marshals, the Cherokee Nation marshals were able to go in and didn’t have to worry if they had the proper legal authority, Hilton said.
“The Cherokee Nation has a longstanding history and great partnership with the U.S. Marshal Service, and we are fortunate that we could join forces again,” said Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl. “We’re looking forward to coordinating more of our services in the future so that we can protect both Cherokee citizens and non-Cherokee citizens and keep our communities safe.”
The Cherokee Nation marshals were among 60 law enforcement officers sworn in as U.S. marshals on March 4 at the Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
During the ceremony, Cherokee Nation marshals read the same U.S. marshals’ oath taken by lawmen in 1916.
The Adair County Sheriff’s office, Tahlequah Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, Stilwell Police Department, Watts Police Department and District Attorney 27 task force also took the oath to help in Operation Red Fern.
The Cherokee Nation marshals cross-deputized as U.S. marshals include deputy marshals Jess Anderson, of Pryor; Dustin Davis and Austin Glory, of Tahlequah; Kolton Holmes, of Stilwell; Matt Laney, of Fort Gibson; Preston Oosahwee, of Tahlequah; and Kevin Jackson, of Bixby, and marshal sergeants Tony Asbill, of Stilwell, Daniel Mead, John Wofford and marshal lieutenant Chad McCarter, all of Tahlequah.
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