Federally-Illegal Criminal Operation Uncovered During Demolition Has Been Referred to Federal Authorities for Further Investigation and Prosecution
During the demolition of a vacant property located at 2906 County Road 124 in the Town of Varick, New York, officers from the Cayuga Nation Police Department (CNPD) seized a variety of evidence indicating that a mail-order marijuana sales operation was being conducted by Wanda John and others out of the property. Evidence seized included suspected marijuana, drug paraphernalia, packaging materials, and business records. Also seized were two weapons, including a loaded shotgun that had a chambered round upon recovery.
Although not the purpose of the planned demolition to clean up the blighted property, based on the evidence found, John and others suspected of being involved in the mail-order operation are currently under investigation by the Cayuga Nation Police Department. Further, as sending marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service is prohibited by federal law, the matter has been referred to federal authorities for investigation and prosecution.
While supporters of Ms. John have falsely claimed that the Varick property was being used as her primary residence, it was confirmed to be vacant in the days leading up to the demolition and had been documented as vacant during periodic checks over the prior year. In fact, since 2012, Ms. John resides in another Cayuga Nation-owned house, which is located on State Route 89 in Seneca Falls. Despite multiple efforts to get her to do so, she has refused to pay rent for her occupancy at that address and has refused to provide income statements in support of any request for a rental subsidy.
Beginning several years ago, the Nation has pursued a civil proceeding against her in Nation court for her failure to pay rent and a Cayuga Nation court has issued a judgment for approximately $92,000 for ten years of back rent. The state of New York’s Supreme Court has recognized this judgment as valid and converted it into a New York state judgment. While the Nation has not pursued an eviction of her from the S.R. 89 property at this time, it reserves the right to commence an eviction proceeding at any time.
“The evidence we recovered during the demolition of the Varick property suggests that, contrary to portrayals by her supporters and criminal allies, Ms. John may well have been using this Nation-owned property as the base for a criminal operation,” said Mark Lincoln, Superintendent of Police for the Cayuga Nation Police Department. “While we demolished the property because it was uninhabitable and had no expectation of uncovering this mail order marijuana operation or loaded firearms, the evidence we recovered will be investigated and those engaged in criminal activity will be prosecuted.”
“While local and out-of-town non-Cayuga agitators want you to believe Ms. John was removed from her residence, that is just false,” said Clint Halftown, leader of the Cayuga Nation. “She lives in another Nation house, where she refuses to pay rent, but was free to return last evening. We are disturbed by the evidence found in her presence in Varick and are glad criminals can no longer use that property as a base of operations. The Nation’s law enforcement will work with federal authorities on the investigation moving forward.”
A photo of some of the evidence collected from the site is included below.
About the Cayuga Nation
The Cayuga Nation (Nation) is a federally recognized sovereign Indian nation established in 1794 by the Treaty of Canandaigua. The Nation’s sovereign and federally protected 64,015-acre reservation is located in Seneca and Cayuga Counties in the State of New York. The Cayuga Nation Council, led by Clint Halftown, Tim Twoguns, Gary Wheeler, Donald Jimerson and Michael Barringer, serves as the official governing body for the entire Nation. With more than 500 members across the country, the Cayuga Nation and its leadership provide national benefits to Cayuga Nation members, including financial support, cultural enrichment opportunities, food distribution and community events, among other benefits. These activities have allowed Cayuga Nation citizens to return to their homeland with an opportunity for housing and employment, which helps preserve the Cayuga Nation’s culture.