A federal grand jury has indicted five people for possessing and selling liquor on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson announced Thursday that Marnie Water, Darrell Spotted Elk Sr., Florine Chipps, Merle Leighton Sr., and Julia Marie Lamont were each indicted on Feb. 22 on a charge of possessing and dispensing intoxicants unlawfully on Indian land. All five pleaded not guilty, and separate trials are scheduled for May 1.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe has sued several beer makers, saying they are knowingly contributing to the alcohol-related problems on the reservation. The lawsuit also targets four beer stores in Whiteclay, Neb., a town near the reservation's border.