MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A federal judge is dismissing charges against five people accused of poaching walleye and other fish from the Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations and selling them on the black market.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim says Monday that an 1837 treaty with the Chippewa Indians protects the defendants’ rights to fish on tribal lands. The defendants are members of the Leech Lake, White Earth and Red Lake bands.
They were among 10 people indicted in federal court in April with transporting and selling fish illegally.
Another judge overseeing some of the other cases has ruled differently on the treaty issue and is allowing those to go forward, saying treaty rights don’t exempt defendants from federal wildlife protection laws.