State Seizes Indian Cigarettes

August 11, 2010 Updated Aug 11, 2010 at 1:45 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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August 11, 2010 Updated Aug 11, 2010 at 1:45 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - A spokesperson for the state tax and finance department has confirmed with Eyewitness News that the department has seized a truck carrying cigarettes from the Seneca Nation of Indians.

The truck was seized Monday while carrying the cigarettes between the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations. Department officials say the cigarettes did not carry the appropriate state tax stamps.

Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder released the following statement in response to the cigarette seizure:

"The Seneca Nation of Indians has learned that the New York State Department of Tax and Finance has taken the unprecedented steps of stopping and seizing a vehicle containing cigarettes that were being delivered from one Seneca Nation Territory to another Seneca Nation Territory.

The seized product contained cigarettes that were legally stamped using the Nation's state-of-the-art tracking system under the Nation's comprehensive tobacco regulations. The product was being transported by a Nation-licensed business for delivery to retailers who are also licensed by the Nation.

The Nation does not take lightly this overt act of State aggression against the Nation and its people. We will weigh all of our options and determine what steps to take to protect and preserve the sovereign rights of the Nation and the Seneca people."

President Barry Snyder is expected to address these issues publicly Wednesday.