MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The federal government has agreed to assume greater responsibility for prosecuting crimes on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's reservation in east-central Minnesota, at the request of the tribal government.

The Justice Department and Mille Lacs Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin made the announcement Tuesday.

Benjamin said in her annual state-of-the-band address that drug dealers and gang members who commit crimes on the reservation can be sent to federal prison, and for longer.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates says the decision will strengthen public safety and the criminal justice system serving the Mille Lacs Band.

While the federal government already had the power to prosecute drug trafficking on the reservation, the change broadens federal jurisdiction to cover other major crimes such as murder, rape, felony assault and felony child abuse.

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