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Idaho Tribe Looses Court Fight Over Smokes

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Supreme Court justices bolstered the state’s power to regulate cigarettes shipped to Indian-owned businesses in a ruling concluding Native American sovereignty in this case didn’t pre-empt state law.

Justices wrote Thursday Idaho could forbid Canadian-made cigarettes that are illegal in Idaho from being shipped to a Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation-based retailer.

Native Wholesale Supply, a supplier on New York’s Seneca Reservation, argued Idaho couldn’t interfere with shipments of some 100 million Canadian cigarettes since 2004 to Warpath Inc., the Coeur d’Alene reservation business.

But justices concluded such Indian sovereignty claims didn’t apply in this case, because the transaction amounted to an off-reservation activity that fell under state law. The Idaho attorney general’s office says Native Wholesale Supply will have to pay a $214,000 fine originally levied in state court.

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