Five people have been charged for allegedly running an illegal casino on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.
Three of the five suspects were in federal court Tuesday night in Plattsburgh. The indictment alleges they operated Three Feathers Casino without a license. State prosecutors also say they tapped into a local power line to provide electricity to the casino. Investigators say they stole nearly $200,000 worth of power from National Grid.
The Mohawk Tribal Council operates a federally sanctioned casino on the reservation. The Three Feathers Casino did not have the consent of the government or the tribe. But the men charged argue they don't need that permission on Indian lands.
"This whole thing that happened is a violation of international laws. The sovereignty of our territory remains uncertain to come onto our territories and enforce federal and state laws," said William Jock, one of the people indicted for illegal gambling.
One of the men charged, Tony Laughing, 65, spent nearly two years in federal prison for operating an illegal gaming operation in the 1980s. He also has convictions for smuggling cigarettes and alcohol.
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