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Feds investigate Fort Sill Apache poker meet

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July 18, 2008

LAS CRUCES, NM - The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has subpoenaed the Fort Sill Apache Tribe for information about poker tournaments held by the tribe at their casino site in Akela, New Mexico.

The NIGC is the federal commission that regulates tribal gambling. They want a description of the tournament, the names of players, and the names of employees. If the tribe ignores the subpoena, the commission may seek court action and an order of contempt of court.

Fort Sill Apache Chairman Jeff Houser has previously said the poker tournaments were intended to force the commission to take formal action against the tribe. That in turn would give the tribe a basis to sue the government. In a letter Tuesday, Houser said the tribe was reluctant to provide information for fear it would be passed to state gaming officials, who also are investigating the June 22nd tournament at the casino.

Houser wants written assurance that the commission and the Department of Justice will not use the information "to prosecute our employees or customers or that the information will not be provided to the state of New Mexico."

Stay tuned.

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