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Parolees must leave Soboba reservation

Times Staff Writer

Parolees on the Soboba Indian reservation have been ordered to leave or face possible arrest after the state corrections department said Wednesday that the area isn’t safe for its officers to enter.

“Due to escalating violence, we have asked our parolees to immediately leave the reservation,” said Gordon Hinkle, deputy press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Statute allows us to relocate any offender for their safety or the safety of others.”

Hinkle said the decision affects five parolees and was prompted by reports of tension and violence between Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and tribal members. Three members were killed in gunfights with deputies in May.

Despite a deal to cooperate with authorities, tribal leaders said last week that deputies would be stopped and questioned before entering the reservation unless responding to an emergency. Sheriff Stanley Sniff threatened to arrest anyone who interferes with officers doing their jobs.

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Sniff also asked the National Indian Gaming Commission to close the Soboba Casino, saying the public isn’t safe there. Agents will arrive today to investigate.

“I think it’s a way to pressure us because of the lawsuit,” said tribal Chairman Robert Salgado, referring to a suit filed on behalf of a tribal member killed by deputies.

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david.kelly@latimes.com

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