United States v. Wilbur

Defendants were indicted, inter alia, for an eight-year conspiracy to violate the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA), 18 U.S.C. 2341, by trafficking in "contraband cigarettes." Defendants moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the state of Washington retroceded its cigarette taxation to the Swinomish Tribe during the period of a cigarette tax contract it entered into with the Swinomish Tribe. The court agreed with defendants that during the period from 2003 to 2005, when they were licensed to sell tobacco by the Swinomish Tribe, there were no "applicable State or local cigarette taxes" under the CCTA. The court also agreed with defendants that the five-year statute of limitations for CCTA violations barred any charges based on activity from 1999-2003. The court concluded, however, that after their tribal tobacco license expired in 2005, defendants' activities ceased to be covered by the Swinomish cigarette tax contract (CTC) and that the state's retrocession therefore ceased to apply. The unstamped cigarettes that defendants transported and sold during this period were thus "contraband" under the CCTA. The court rejected defendants' due process and treaty arguments. View "United States v. Wilbur" on Justia Law