U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
(605) 330-4400
December 22, 2014

Oglala Sioux Tribal Advocate Found Guilty of Conspiracy and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Susan Schrader, age 53, of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance following a federal jury trial in Rapid City, South Dakota. The jury returned their verdict on December 18, 2014.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in custody and/or a $1,000,000 fine, at least three years up to life of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

For close to 15 years, Schrader made her living as a leading tribal advocate working in the Oglala Sioux Tribe court system. Schrader was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, primarily on the Pine Ridge Reservation, beginning as early as 2005 and continuing up to May 20, 2014, the date of her Indictment. In addition to evidence showing she was a virtual clearinghouse for the distribution of cocaine in Pine Ridge Village, there was testimony from several witnesses that Schrader would on occasion accept cocaine as payment for her advocacy services.

This case was investigated by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted L. McBride prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for March 20, 2015. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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