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    Two Face Prison for Cigarette Smuggling

    One hired others to drive vans loaded with untaxed cigarettes for resale at Michigan convenience stores.

    IRVING, N.Y. -- Two women from the Seneca Nation of Indians' Cattaraugus reservation face prison terms at sentencing next month for their roles in smuggling cigarettes bound for convenience stores, according to an Associated Press report.

    Carole Thompson Gordon, 58, was accused of heading the New York-based operations of the Cattaraugus group. She hired others from the reservation to drive vans loaded with untaxed cigarettes to Michigan for resale at convenience stores, federal agents said, according to news reports.

    At sentencing Dec. 11 in federal court in Detroit, Gordon faces 33 months in prison after admitting her role in the conspiracy, prosecutors told The Buffalo News. Brady Jo Bowman, 24, who is Gordon's granddaughter, is facing 18 months, news reports said.

    Bowman's husband, Elias Mohamad Akhdar, 30, of Dearborn, Mich., faces 78 months for the conspiracy that included his burning down Gordon's Indian Express Smoke Shop in Irving in 2001 for the insurance money after they looted the store of cigarettes, prosecutors said, according to the report.

    One co-defendant admitted sending part of his profits to Hezbollah, the Islamic militant group blamed for the 1983 suicide bombing that killed 241 U.S. Marines and sailors in Beirut, Lebanon.

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