October 30, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) - When Congress passed a law in 2009 effectively banning mail-order deliveries of cigarettes, it was expected to snuff out entrepreneurs on New York's Indian reservations who were selling millions of tax-free cartons to consumers in high-tax states.
But the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act didn't stop everybody.
Shipping records were obtained by lawyers for New York City as part of a racketeering lawsuit. They show that as of last spring, one group of about 20 website operators on Seneca Nation territory was still delivering 1.7 tons of untaxed cigarettes a week to destinations around the U.S.
The city's suit is part of a wider legal battle involving cigarettes sold on Indian reservations.
Tribal leaders have long maintained that outsiders have no authority to tax anything sold on their territory.