ALBANY, NY - New York has seized more than 5 million cigarettes produced by Native American companies since June for failure to pay state excise taxes, the Buffalo News reports.
State officials said the seizures represent roughly $1.5 million in taxes that its sellers were intending to avoid.
Last summer and pursuant to a court ruling, New York began enforcing a state law prohibiting wholesalers from selling untaxed cigarettes to Indian retailers for sale to non-Indians.
The crackdown targeted domestic brands such as Marlboro, and the Cuomo administration made clear at the time it would not pursue the cigarettes produced by Native American companies.
Seneca Nation officials have argued that any goods, including cigarettes, produced on Indian lands can be sold free of taxes.