Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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Opinion
Editorial: Indian smokeshops and organized crime


"You might think of Indian smoke shops, with their cutesy names like Peace Pipe and Smoke Signals, as a harmless tax dodge - a way for people to save a few bucks on cigarettes.

In fact, many of these stores serve as major hubs for international cigarette smuggling, a multibillion-dollar racket that is as lucrative, and sinister, as trafficking in drugs or weapons.

Mounting evidence of serious organized crime surrounding Indian smoke shops makes it all the more urgent for Gov. Paterson finally to crack down on their rampant tax evasion.

Mayor Bloomberg last month sued smoke shops on Long Island's Poospatuck Reservation, charging they had cheated the city and state out of a whopping $720 million in taxes.

But the state is doing nothing as truckloads of untaxed cigarettes flow through reservations onto the streets of New York City.

A newly published exposé from the Center for Public Integrity reveals the vast criminality behind the smoke shops - and the crucial role played by members of the Seneca Indian Nation in upstate New York. "

Get the Story:
Editorial: Crime by the carton (The New York Daily News 10/26)

Mayor Bloomberg Relevant Documents:
Press Release | Video

Related Stories:
Editorial: New York City finds a new foe in tribes (10/10)
More than 30M cartons sold on New York reservations (10/2)
New York City mayor sues Indian smokeshops (9/30)
New York governor pressed on tribal tobacco bill (09/04)
Editorial: Negotiate tribal tobacco deal in New York (9/3)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe opposes tobacco tax bill (8/26)
Seneca Nation lobbies governor on tobacco tax bill (8/14)
Seneca Nation opposes tobacco tax bill (8/12)