COARSEGOLD – Once again tensions are rising at the Chukchansi Gold Casino between the factions struggling for control, and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office has stepped in to ensure that law and order is maintained.
Though details of the situation are not being released, deputies and CHP officers have been sent to the location on Highway 41 near Lucky Lane.
“We’ve got to take it seriously when the Sheriff gets word that there is tension,” says Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Erica Stuart. “Whether it’s crying wolf or a legitimate threat is irrelevant. We’ve got to step in and maintain a presence to make sure no crimes are committed and that the public is safe.”
This is yet another chapter in the ongoing conflict between rival factions of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, each claiming to be the rightful leaders of the tribal council and seeking to displace the other. The political struggle has been going on for years and has included lock-outs of the tribal offices, threats and assaults.
When reports of potential problems or conflict come in, they have to take it seriously and take steps to keep the peace, says Stuart.
A command post has been set up on the corner of Highway 41 and Road 417, and both CHP and sheriff’s deputies are patrolling the area and maintaining a physical presence to ensure that no violence erupts and that both tribal citizens and the public are protected. They are also doing traffic control on Lucky Lane and monitoring the tribal offices on Road 417.
As for how long they will stay? For as long as it takes.
The casino remains open for business.