(BILLINGS) A suspect has been detained in connection with the vandalism of a water treatment plant in Crow Agency, a tribal official said Wednesday night.
"As far as I know and without going too much into detail about the case itself, (the Bureau of Indian Affairs) had given a confirmation that a suspect had been picked up and detained," Jered Steward, media liaison for Crow Tribal Chairman A.J. Not Afraid, said.
The suspect is in BIA custody, Stewart said.
"It's basically a state of emergency called by Chairman Not Afraid. And the Governor is aware and a lot of the state officials that might be involved are aware for our area," Stewart said.
(1st Report) The Crow Tribe issued a drinking water warning after vandalism at a treatment plant Wednesday morning.
The tribe has advised citizens to not drink the water and not use it for showering or bathing. Boiling the water won't make it safe, officials said.
The water can be used for flushing toilets.
The warning affects between 2,000 to 2,500 people in Crow Agency.
One of the Crow Agency water treatment plans was vandalized between midnight and 8 a.m., according to Jared Stewart, media liaison for Crow Tribal Chairman A.J. Not Afraid.
Stewart said he believes the suspect was a tribal employee who was recently furloughed because of budget cuts and was upset at tribal leaders. He also called the vandalism "an act of terrorism." The tribe has stepped up security, Stewart said.
"Due to the recent furloughs, it is somewhat disappointing, but I don't think it should've resulted in what might actually be considered an act of terrorism to the rest of the community. because at some point, the branches of the government would have ultimately reached an agreement on the tribal finances and gotten people back to work and that's basically what we were waiting on," Stewart said.
Stewart said chlorine canisters were damaged and it is not known if the chlorine was poured into the treatment plant or into the Little Big Horn River. Some of the equipment is damaged and unusable, tribal officials said.
It is also advised not to drink or use the water in the river. Stewart said the tribe does not know what the effects are down river.
The tribe will bring in bottled drinking water.
Not Afraid shut down tribal government Sunday, leaving only essential personnel on duty. He said the tribe's legislative and executive branches failed to come About 10 to 15 percent, or 50 to 75 people, are currently working for the tribe, out of a total to 500 to 650 employees, Stewart said.