SALAMANCA - A joint force of eight agencies - from Salamanca Police Department and Seneca Nation Marshalls to a couple of federal bureaus - raided two area residences Tuesday.
The law enforcement team executed warrants at the 221 Front St. residence of Lloyd Long, president of Prishlo Inc., and another residence and business at 17 Ward St.
Prisclo Inc. was listed as owners of record for the Uni-Mart locations in the City of Salamanca, as well as the Little Valley location.
"We have found evidence of tax violations associated with the CCTA (Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act)," Dave DeJoe, resident agent in charge for the ATF, said. "The warrants were executed on this evidence and suspicion of several federal violations."
The case alleges the illegal sale of unregistered cigarettes and gasoline at the now-closed Uni-Marts. The Seneca Nation termination of the leases on the property is to become official today.
Seneca Nation cooperation in the matter comes from an apparent misrepresentation by Long through the use of a Nation member to gain illegal benefits for Prishlo Inc. The identity of the man was not released.
"The Nation has little sympathy for outsiders who take advantage of our members, their native rights, and the Nation's treaty-protected jurisdiction, for their own private benefit," Maurice A. John, Sr., president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, said in a written release. "All retailers who ignore Nation law put their business licenses and products at risk."
"The time of Senecas being taken advantage of in cases like this is over," Gary Sanden, CEO of the Nation's Import-Export Commission. "We're going to make sure we monitor our own transactions closely and catch wrongdoers."
Charges against Long are pending, with possible further action by the Seneca Nation.
Seneca Nation law prohibits the possession of untaxed cigarettes by anyone other than the Nation appointed stamping agent.
The Nation's Import-Export Law imposes a fee on all tobacco products imported onto Seneca territory before they are sold at retail locations. Payment of the fee is reflected by the application of a taxation stamp on all tobacco products. Products not bearing the stamp are considered contraband and can be seized, unless in the possession of a Seneca Nation stamping agent.
The Seneca Nation plans to continue to aid in the investigation, according to the release. At no time was the Nation a target of the investigation, according to Seneca Nation officials, as well as DeJoe.
"The Seneca Nation will continue to cooperate with Federal and State authorities," John said.
The enforcement of the warrants was carried out by agents from the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Department, the FBI, Seneca Nation Marshalls, Border Patrol, The New York State Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau (PTAB), the Postal Inspector, the Postal Office of Inspector General, and the Salamanca Police Department