Montana Police Chief Faces Felony Charges for Illegal Hunting on Tribal Lands


The police chief of Glendive, Montana is facing three felony charges for illegally possessing game after hunting on tribal lands without a license and then tampering with witnesses during the subsequent investigation. The Montana Attorney General’s Office says that Jeremy Lee Swisher fabricated details around deer hunting the Fort Peck Reservation without a license and then encouraged others to lie to investigators, according to a report in the Daily Montanan.  

The charges stem from hunts that occurred several years before Swisher became police chief of the small eastern Montana town. According to court documents, Swisher worked in law enforcement in Louisiana and moved to Montana for the hunting opportunities it offered. He became police chief of Glendive in January 2023.

Swisher made comments about his love for hunting and fishing in Montana during his hiring process where he met with the community and answered questions in a public forum. The event was live streamed on Facebook where it was viewed by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks investigator Steve Marx.

Marx found that Swisher had no record of purchasing a hunting or fishing license in Montana. 

Once Swisher became chief, he bragged about three Montana mule deer bucks he’d killed and talked about how he didn’t need a license to hunt tribal lands since he had connections with tribal members on the Fort Peck Reservation. He went on to hang up the three mule deer Euro mounts in the Glendive police station. 

Investigators eventually questioned Swisher about the deer and he stated that he had hunted on the Fort Peck Reservation after a tribal game warden told him he didn’t need a license to do so. Swisher said that he had confirmed this with several Montana game wardens and a “Federal guy” but refused to name his contacts.

Investigators found no record of Swisher holding a tribal hunting license and learned that, in fact, the tribe does not issue deer licenses to non-members. They were also informed by tribal game wardens that non-members are not allowed to legally hunt deer on the Fort Peck Reservation — even if they are invited by a tribal member. Investigators received a warrant to seize the three mule deer racks on July 20, 2023.

As the investigation continued, Swisher urged others to cover for him, according to the allegations made by the attorney general’s office. This included tribal member Greg Brugh Jr. and Lenny Boxer, who initially told investigators that they had in fact shot the mule deer and gifted the racks as well as a whitetail rack to Swisher. They also said that Swisher was not with them when the deer were killed. 

But then, in October 2023, investigators obtained a search warrant for Boxer’s Google account and found that he had deleted 498 pictures on September 29, 2023, just three days after he was initially interviewed by them. Boxer didn’t delete all the photos from those previous hunts, and investigators found three photographs of Swisher posing with the mule deer bucks in question. The photos were dated December 2021. Eventually, Boxer confessed that Swisher had killed the bucks after all. 

The photo search also showed a deputy sheriff from Louisiana named Lindsey Miller posing with a separate mule deer buck. Court records say that during the investigation, Swisher called Miller, instructing her not to speak with investigators, but that she eventually told investigators that she had hunted with Swisher and Boxer on the reservation and believed they had permission to do so. Miller said she was “very pissed that the Defendant put her in this predicament,” according to court documents. 

It’s unclear if any charges are being brought against Miller, Boxer, or Brugh Jr, but Swisher faces three felony charges for unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of game animals and tampering with witnesses. His court date is set for July 9.

Read Next: ‘Disrespectful Violations’ Prompt Ute Tribe to Close 4 Million Acres to Nontribal Hunters, Anglers, Campers

“The Defendant either relied on what his buddies were telling him and did not check into it, or knew what he was doing was illegal and figured he would not get caught,” the court documents read. “Either way, the Defendant was never authorized to legally kill those mule deer bucks. Instead of owning up to a perhaps understandable misapprehension of the law, the Defendant allegedly doubled down and got his buddies to cover for him by making up a different story.” 

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