Native American Owned Smoke Shop 'Seneca Falls' Gets Raided

The report claims that the tribe is allowed to sell untaxed cigarettes to their tribe members, but when they sell outside their tribe, it's a state and federal issue where laws affect them.


The federal government Wednesday entered a dispute between Native American tribes by raiding a Seneca Falls service station operated by the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.

On Wednesday afternoon, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, raided the Sky Dancer Smoke Shop service station as part of an investigation into whether the store sold untaxed cigarettes.
During the afternoon raid, ATF agents seized cartons of cigarettes and store records.
“We received a complaint about this particular store and the volume of untaxed cigarettes they were selling in contrast with other stores in the area that are playing by the rules,” said Scott Heagney, resident agent in charge of ATF in Rochester. “They (other stores) are selling taxed cigarettes; it ends up being a big business disadvantage.”
Heagney said that by law, the New York excise tax on tobacco products on items sold in the state still needs to be paid.
“They are allowed to sell to their own tribe members,” he said, “but as soon as they sell off the reservation or to non-tribe members, that’s where the state and federal laws take effect.”
Federal authorities aren’t the only one questioning whether the store can sell untaxed cigarettes. New York’s Cayuga Nation has its own issues with the Sky Dancer store, which has been open for more than two years.
“They are an Oklahoma-based tribe,” said Cayuga Nation representative Clinton Halftown. “For them to all of a sudden set up a shop in New York state just because Cayuga is part of their name has raised questions for us.”
“I assume they would have to go through the Cayuga Nation, which is an established government here in New York. They have not.”
Seneca-Cayuga Chief LeRoy Howard said Wednesday that the tribe thinks it has the right to sell the untaxed cigarettes.
About the ATF raid, he said, “I was aware of it. I really don’t know what they’re doing.”
He declined to comment further.
No one was charged with a crime at Wednesday’s raid.

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