FORMER RESERVATION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LEADER SENTENCED ON DRUG CHARGES

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

Jerome Lebeaux       A former economic development official and spiritual leader on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has been sentence to prison on drug charges, but won’t have to do the time if he toes the line.

35-year old Jerome Lebeaux, former cultural coordinator for Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, was given 4 years by Circuit Judge Jeff Davis, but Davis suspended imposition of the sentence. Instead, he will spend 180 days in jail and 4 years on probation.

Labeaux was arrested for drunken driving in January, but cocaine was found in his system…leading to charges of possession and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty to those counts and remained held without bail in the Pennington County jail.

Lebeaux was the cultural coordinator for Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation when arrested January 21, but Thunder Valley executive director Nick Tilson said Monday that he was no longer an employee.

Lebeaux founded the Thunder Valley Sun Dance, a focal point for cultural revitalization among families in the northern part of the Pine Ridge Reservation. He had also been a vocal opponent of drugs, warning of their negative impact on the reservation.