Just about everyone has heard about the recent “largest tobacco bust” in North American history. There is nary a media source that is reporting all the elements of this raid right. Some have spoken of 400 armed officers of different jurisdictions coming together to carry out coordinated raids on Onhkwehonh:we territories. Other reports spoke of mafia connections to an organized native crime syndicate with the implication being that hundreds of Native peoples were arrested in these raids. Still other reports spoke to the gathering of firearms in the hundreds and a substantial accumulation of marijuana plants along with 3,4, 5, no, wait for it! 6 trailer loads of raw tobacco leaf. So what is the fuss about and why the amazingly disparate descriptions of what actually took place in the Kahnawake and Akwesasne territories?
In order to sort out what the genuine facts of this criminalizing media blitz were all about I decided that a road trip was necessary. From all incoming reports on the social media sites one would assume that a mass arrest of gun toting mafia affiliated Natives was carried out. Oh, and apart from our dangerous hunting rifles, all kinds of drugs were also seized. Does it get much worse than this? In 4 separate articles I read that 130, 1300, 1100 and 950 plants of marijuana were collected. Despite the inconsistency on the amount of marijuana plants seized and it being the only illegal narcotic, this road later wound around to being a seizure of 2 bricks of hashish, small amounts of cocaine, ketamine and MDMA with a street value of $85,000. First out of the blocks on the weapons was a 9 mm pistol that later became a seizure of ‘various’ arms to being an assortment of long guns. Now we get to the trailers of raw tobacco leaf that seem to have different market values depending on who you ask. So exactly how many trailers were recovered and what is the mafia connection and how definitively are the Native peoples involved? There is a seamy underbelly to this story and the stench is purely governmental fiction and intentional criminalization along with their continued agenda of genocide.
I was extremely nervous about heading out to communities known for their militant stance on the Indian Question. A major share of my nervousness could be attributed to the fact that I was traveling with a Non-Native who very much looks the part of Non-Native. My fears were without merit. When my friend and I arrived in Kahnawake for our first appointment everything looked business as usual. First mistake! A raid had not been carried out on Onhkwehonh:we territories and certainly not in Kahnawake. I spoke to several members of the community, and in particular Peggy Mayo who is a Mohawk representative of the proposed tobacco commission in Kahnawake.
The raids were carried out in Dundee, Que., and in the home of Anthony David whose home is on the St.Regis part of Akwesasne Reserve. Anthony David 49, wife Tracy-Ann David-Dogget 47, daughter Fallon David 31 and son-in-law Christopher Thompson 26 were arrested by the Akwesasne Mohawk Police acting on warrants from the SQ (Surete du Quebec). Anthony David is facing charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud with future charges pending concerning the ‘cache’ of weapons recovered.
Akwesasne Police Chief Jerry Swamp spoke to the suspicion of drugs moving through the Akwesasne community as being the reason for the Akwesasne Police Force becoming involved in the SQ investigation. David and his family were arrested and then transported by the Akwesasne Police across the St. Lawrence River by boat to Cornwall, ON and from there they were then transported to Montreal. St. Regis Village, which is on the South Shore of the river is part of the Akwesasne Reserve in Canada but is only accessible by road through the United States.
David is owner of the strip club Sweet Dreams in Dundee, Quebec where the other part of the raid took place. Surete du Quebec allege that tobacco was stored at the club before being transported to Kahnawake to be made into cigarettes.
Further arrests were made at the strip club according to the SQ which allege that the ‘smuggling’ network was headed by Mafia linked businessman Nicola Valvano from Saint Leonard, Que. Montreal mafia members would buy the unprocessed tobacco from North Carolina and then transport it to Canada hidden in transport trucks carrying cedar mulch.
Reliable sources place the amount seized as being 4 tractor trailer loads of raw tobacco leaf. Authorities also indicated that David owns a cigarette manufacturing plant on the U.S. side of Akwesasne which produce ‘rollies’ – cigarettes sold in plastic bags.
So there you have it, the largest tobacco raid in North American history. If one were to take the word of mainstream media as being gospel we would all be caught up in a whirlwind of misinformation. The question that then needs to be asked is why all the intentional criminalization and misinformation concerning the Onkwehonh:we?
Have you heard of Bill C-10? The bill amends the criminal code to add jail time to people involved the ‘contraband’ tobacco trade. If the Harper government can continue to push its agenda through parliament the economic foundation in the majority of Onhkwehonh:we communities will be further wrenched apart and our people will be imprisoned in their jails. Bill C-10 effectively allows the Canadian Government to enter the Onhkwehonh:we communities with no knock raids, flash bangs, police dogs and RCMP in riot gear if we have in our possession unstamped tobacco products.
The absolute greatest danger to this line of thinking being the will of the people. The Confederacy. The Government is travelling a road that can only lead to all out war. The misinformation that has come from mainstream media is working to paint the criminal activities of one individual (Nikola Valvano) as a brush stroke that paints us all.
People are starting to become aware of the genocidal bias broadcast through mainstream media. The contrast of positive results starting to materialize from all the intentional negativity speaks volumes about the broader intelligence of society. One such positive result is that people are working in a variety of ways to fight Bill C-10. One such coalition that has begun is meeting this Sunday May 11, 2014 at Sour Springs Plaza on Six Nations, 1:00pm. Contact the Two Row Times if directions are needed.
And so, that is what the fuss was all about!