Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Funny Cigarettes

These tax stamps are old (1943)
I stole this image from www.ericjackson.com 
In  today's New Mexican I wrote about two cases of Indian leaders who have gotten into trouble for having businesses that sold cigarettes without the required state tax stamps.

The first case is that of Paul Rainbird, former lieutenant governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo and head of the Southwest Association for Indian Affairs (which sponsors Santa Fe Indian Market) . He was sentenced to prison last week for his Internet smoke business.

The other case is current secretary of the state Indian Affairs Department, Arthur Allison, whose store near Farmington, at least earlier this year, was selling cigarette without tax stamps as well as a brand of cigarettes, Seneca, which isn't on the state list of approved brands.

Attorney General Gary King wrote to Gov. Susana Martinez about this in May (that letter is HERE) but the Associated Press was able to buy the forbidden cigarettes in Allison's store in June.

Martinez's spokesman Scott Darnell said yesterday  that since then, Allison has transferred ownership of the store to his son, who had been running the store for more than a year.

I'd asked the Attorney General's Office about the status of its investigation into Allison's store. Spokesman Phil Sisneros told me this morning. He said the office "is now focusing our efforts on the manufacturers of the cigarettes." They want the Seneca manufacturers to pay escrowmoney that was in question.