BOISE (AP) The state of Idaho is suing Native Wholesale Supply Co., contending that the upstate New York cigarette supplier illegally sold millions of smokes to retailers on Native American lands in Idaho.
The lawsuit, originally filed in state court last month, was removed last week to U.S. District Court at the request of Native Wholesale of Gowanda, N.Y. The complicated case involves Seneca and Opal cigarettes that are made by Grand River Enterprises of Ohsweken, Ontario, and sold by Native Wholesale to Native American-owned retail outlets on reservations in Idaho.
Similar lawsuits accusing Native Wholesale of illegally funneling the Canadian cigarettes into the U.S. have been filed by California and Oklahoma and also are pending in federal court.
Idaho contends that the cigarettes were sold without required tax permits in violation of the state's Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Complementary Act, which requires that tobacco products be registered and approved by the state attorney general's office before being be sold.