LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina authorities have raided three casinos they say were illegally operated by the Tuscarora Nation, which lacks federal or state recognition as a Native American tribe.

Citing a release from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, news outlets report 26 members of the Tuscarora Nation were arrested Monday, following a yearlong investigation. Alcohol Law Enforcement head Terrance Merriweather says people living nearby had complained.

Merriweather calls the Tuscarora a "sovereign citizens group" that he says "openly expressed beliefs that neither the laws of North Carolina nor the United States applied to them." Authorities confiscated vehicles, drugs, money, weapons and more than 200 gambling machines.

The leader of the Tuscarora in North Carolina, Kendall Locklear, was among those arrested; his organization does not appear to have issued a statement.