WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Aug. 13, the Law and Order Committee (LOC) received a report regarding liquor licenses in Sanders, Arizona and reports of non-medical transport vehicles bringing alcohol into the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo communities of Houck and Nahata Dziil are located near the community of Sanders, approximately 46-miles southwest of Window Rock.
The report was from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control detective Herb Carruthers. The Department of Liquor Licenses and Control protects public safety and supports economic growth through the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol and to efficiently license qualified applicants.
LOC vice chair Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr. (Houck, Klagetoh, Nahata Dziil, Tsé Si áni, Wide Ruins) stated that the purpose of the report is to identify barriers and develop solutions.
“A few years ago, the Navajo communities surrounding Sanders took the initiative to close the nearby bars and liquors stores, however, we face new challenges of others importing alcohol into the communities. Community members express the need for law enforcement to address illegal boot legging,” said Delegate Smith.
In his report, Carruthers said since the closure of nearby liquor establishments a few years ago, the communities have experienced an increase in boot legging and observed many non-medical transport vehicles transporting alcohol into the communities.
LOC member Council Delegate Otto Tso (Tó Nanees Dizi) expressed his appreciation to the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for reporting their concerns to help the well-being of Navajo citizens.
“It’s very rare that we receive reports from outside entities regarding alcohol. We appreciate the report and the willingness of the department to develop a partnership with the Nation to address liquor control,” Tso said.
Additionally, Carruthers said that they observe suspicious non-medical transport vehicles entering the Navajo Nation, however, they cannot exercise their authority to stop the vehicles due to jurisdictional boundaries.
Smith recommended that the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control collaborate and develop a memorandum of agreement to establish a partnership to address the problem.
The Law and Order Committee approved the report with a 2-0 vote.
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