Pueblo leader denies wrongdoing on tobacco
A Pueblo leader whose home and business were raided by federal agents says he was doing nothing wrong by selling tax-free cigarettes on the Internet.

Paul Rainbird, the lieutenant governor at San Ildefonso Pueblo, believed it was legal to sell the cigarettes without New Mexico tax stamps, his lawyer said. The lawyer said it doesn't matter that the business is located off the reservation in Albuquerque.

"If they do business on the Internet, with no walk-ups, and it's based in cyberspace but is wholly owned by tribal members, does it really matter where (the cigarettes) are packaged and sent to customers?" attorney Peter Schoenburg told The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Rainbird runs Silver Cloud Smokeshop with June Ortiz, another tribal member. Federal agents said the smokeshop sold more than $20 million in untaxed cigarettes.

Get the Story:
Lawyer: Pueblo leader thought online cigarette sales tax-free (The Santa Fe New Mexican 8/28)

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Pueblo leader's home raided in smokeshop probe (8/27)