The Unkechaug Indian Nation, gathered on the Poospatuck Indian Reservation on Long Island, maintains it has treaty rights to sell tax-free smokes, but the Bloomberg Administration has been battling the tribe to collect tax money on cigarettes sold by its members to its residents. In August a federal judge restrained several shops there from selling tax-free smokes to outsiders, but Bloomberg says they’re still at it and has asked they be held in contempt of the court.
City investigators cased the smoke shops in and around Mastic, and intercepted messages from jailed dealers, and maintain that the smoke shops that were closed down are still in business under new cover.
The chief of the Nation, Harry Wallace, has denied the charges. He previously told New York magazine that “The goal here is not to stop us from selling cigarettes. It’s to try and destroy us as a people.”