A southern Manitoba chief has been charged with extortion after RCMP uncovered an attempt to derail a civil suit between a First Nation and a cottage owner’s association.

Sprague RCMP said they began investigating after someone made a complaint that involved a federal government official and the Buffalo Point Cottage Owners Association.

That’s when the RCMP major crime unit got involved and began investigating.

Officers believe Buffalo Point First Nation’s chief contacted a federal government official and tried to derail a legal proceeding between the First Nation and a cottage association in the area.

The federal government official was not part of the legal proceedings up to that point.

Now, Chief John Thunder has been arrested and charged with extortion in connection with the case.

He has been released and is expected to appear in a Winnipeg courtroom on Nov. 25.

It’s not the first time Thunder has been at the centre of a controversy.

In late 2012, a group of protesters occupied the band office on the reserve for over a month, demanding Thunder resign.

Thunder is a non-elected, hereditary chief and a number of residents accused him of mismanaging the First Nation. Eventually, Thunder secured a court injunction to have the protesters removed from the band office.

Buffalo Point is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.