By Todd Cooper / World-Herald staff writer
This isn’t your typical federal drug prosecution.
First there’s the drug: Nicotine, in the form of cigarettes.
Then there’s the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives nabbed the defendants — by setting up an undercover tobacco warehouse in Kansas City, Mo.
The result of the sting? A $17million conspiracy unraveled, and 18 people indicted, including the one-time warehouse distribution manager for Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska.
Federal prosecutors say that the indictments involved a multistate conspiracy to transport more than 620,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes from the Kansas City area to tobacco shops on or near Indian reservations in New York.