A federal judge has thrown out the indictments of a Kansas tobacco wholesaler and several associates accused of trying to avoid paying $25 million in cigarette taxes to Oklahoma and Indian tribes.
U.S. District Judge Monti Belot ruled late Friday the defendants had shown the indictment was unconstitutionally vague and should be dismissed. The judge also derided the prosecution’s case, saying it was based on the government’s opinion and not on any federal, Kansas or Oklahoma statute.
The decision clears all charges against Gary Hall, the president and owner of Sunflower Supply Co. in Galena, Kan., along with seven other people. Also cleared were Discount Tobacco Warehouse Inc. of Joplin, Mo., and Rebel Industries Inc. of Galena.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said prosecutors will evaluate the judge’s action.