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Kevin Abourezk: Nebraska seizes tobacco from Ponca Tribe land

"Nebraska state officials apparently seized $13,000 to $14,000 worth of cigarettes from a Ponca tribal smoke shop in Niobrara on Thursday morning, according to the tribe.

Ponca Chairwoman Rebecca White said representatives of the Nebraska Department of Revenue entered the tribe's Ponca Smoke Signals shop in Niobrara at about 11:40 a.m. Thursday. She said they informed the shop's manager that the shop had failed to affix its cigarette packages with a state cigarette tax stamp and began packing up the store's entire inventory of cigarettes.

White said the tribal smoke shop is on federal trust land in Niobrara owned by the tribe. The shop sells only Native-manufactured cigarettes and affixes its own tribal stamp on each carton, she said.

"We have sovereign immunity on our lands, and they are violating our sovereign immunity," White said.

Revenue Department spokeswoman Deepa Buss said the department wouldn't comment on the alleged seizure because it is part of an ongoing investigation. Representatives of the governor's office and the attorney general's office referred questions to the Revenue Department."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Tribe: State officials seized cigarettes in Niobrara (The Lincoln Journal Star 3/11)

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