Shinnecock trailer fire probed by police

New York State Police and other law enforcement agencies are investigating a fire in an office trailer at the Shinnecock Indian Nation where federal agents previously conducted a raid.

A spokesman for the State Police in Riverside confirmed, "There is an investigation," into whether the early morning fire on Wednesday was intentionally started.

In a statement, Shinnecock tribal trustees said the trailer, which housed the nation's gaming authority and communications office, "was destroyed by fire" Wednesday morning.


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"While the cause was ruled suspicious by state and federal investigators, and a motive remains unclear, the Shinnecock Trustees have full faith that this process will result in identifying and prosecuting the individual or individuals responsible to the fullest extent of the law," trustees said.

The fire follows an early May raid by FBI agents as part of a cybercrime investigation. The investigation is ongoing, an FBI spokeswoman said. No one has said the raid and fire are related.

The Shinnecock tribe, which won federal recognition in 2010 and with it the right to pursue gaming, has by all outward appearances been stalled in its efforts to open a casino. A tribal leadership rift last year led backer Gateway Casino Resorts to suspend funding for the tribe, which has also lost out on high-profile sites such as Belmont Park and Nassau Coliseum.

The tribe voted in a new leadership slate in April, and has ratified a first-ever constitution that will alter its government to a council of five trustees and two ceremonial elders (a man and a woman). Elections for the new leaders are expected in December.

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