Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Buffalo Point's chief facing charges of extortion

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John Thunder, Chief of the Buffalo Point First Nation, faces extortion charges in a complicated scheme involving federal influence to sidetrack cottagers from pursuing court action against him, RCMP reported today.

"The investigation showed the correspondence from Chief John Thunder... to (a) federal government official made an attempt to derail a civil legal proceeding," the RCMP statement said. It went on to identify the legal proceeding as the court case between the Buffalo Point Cottagers Association, the Buffalo Point First Nation Development and the Buffalo Point First Nation.

The RCMP’s Major Crime unit launched the investigation this summer after their Sprague detachment took a complaint July 2 about correspondence to a federal government official with some involvement with the Cottagers Association.

That triggered the probe.

The statement said the complaint expressed "concern" about the correspondence but it did not disclose the nature of the correspondence.

The federal government employee stepped back from the issue and did not act in any official capacity, letting the RCMP do their work, the RCMP said.

On Oct. 22, Chief John Thunder of the Buffalo Point First Nation was arrested. He has been charged with extortion and released on a promise to appear in a Winnipeg court Nov. 25

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