BUFFALO –Forty people are now in custody for operating two different drug trafficking rings throughout Erie, Genesee and Niagara counties.
Through parallel undercover operations, GPS tracking devices and hundreds of hours of covert surveillance, investigators seized more than $100,000 in cocaine along with large quantities of prescription pills and cash. One of the investigations also led to the discovery of bi-monthly cockfights on an Indian reservation in Niagara County.
"Drug trafficking rings like these infect our neighborhoods and tear apart our communities," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Today's arrests strike a significant blow to the drug trade across Western New York. My office, with our strong collaboration with law enforcement partners, will fight to make our communities safer by rooting out large-scale narcotics trafficking networks."
Cocaine and prescription pills were being transported from New York City, Boston and Florida. The investigation also uncovered an illegal animal fighting operation
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting SAC James J. Hunt said, "The members of this cocaine and crack cocaine distribution crew sold this poison throughout the Niagara Falls area and to traffickers supplying the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, shattering the quality of life along the way. Today's arrests have put an end to their drug network, arresting crew members at all levels; those who sold crack cocaine and cocaine on the streets, to the resellers, to the suppliers who transported the drugs from Florida to Buffalo concealed in soles of shoes. I commend the dedication and teamwork of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout this investigation."
In Operation Lockport, state and local law enforcement agents led by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) conducted an 18-month-long operation. Two indictments, charging more than 160 combined counts and 25 people, were unsealed in Erie County Supreme Court.
The investigation led to the seizure of approximately two kilograms of cocaine and more than $60,000 in cash. Members of the narcotics distribution organization would transport the cocaine from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the City of Niagara Falls.
Investigators believe that the suspects would pack cocaine into the soles and heels of doctored pairs of shoes while transporting it from Florida to New York and then cut up the shoes in Buffalo to extract the drugs.
The cocaine was subsequently sold to Jermaine Cox and Lamar Johnson of Niagara County and Geraldine Horsefall of Genesee County, all of whom acted as the linchpins. The suspects then resold the cocaine to customers residing in Erie County and on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.
Geraldine Horsefall, who was assisted in these sales by her children, also indicted for being heavily involved in a prescription pain pill distribution network. She obtained hydrocodone pills from some of her co-defendants and resold them to individuals in Genesee and Erie Counties. The Attorney General's Office is conducting a separate investigation into how these prescription pills were originally obtained.
In the second investigation, code-named Operation TGIF, the Attorney General's OCTF and the New York State Police, with the assistance of the Buffalo Police Department, conducted an investigation that recovered nearly 700 grams of cocaine. The suspects in this case arranged to have the cocaine transported to Buffalo from New York City and the Boston area. The investigation resulting in charges on 15 people with more than 80 counts.
During the course of Operation TGIF, investigators discovered that members of this drug network attended regular cockfights on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation. Undercover investigators observed hundreds of cockfights, including many at which the animals were killed. Bets were placed on each fight, both between the owners of the birds and between members of the assembled crowd. The owners of the property collected an admission fee from each participant, and a referee was paid per fight. Matthew Dubuc, on whose property the fights occurred, has been charged with in connection with the fighting operation.
"We continue to reduce crime in the city of Buffalo.Since 2006 overall crime is down 25% and its operations like this that have helped play a key role in the reduction in crime," said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. "I want to thank Attorney General Schneiderman and the State Police for this effort and their continued cooperation and collaboration when it comes to public safety and reducing crime IN Buffalo and Western New York. Taking down two major drug trafficking rings sends a very strong message from the Attorney General."
Below is a list of suspects charged in connection with today's indictments.
Charged in connection with Operation Lockport are:
GERALDINE HORSEFALL, 59, of Pembroke, NY
ARYLYN HORSEFALL, 33, of Pembroke, NY
DENNIS KNUEPPEL, 48, of Amherst, NY
MICHELLE KING, 42, of Akron, NY
LORI SCHWAB, 33, of Corfu, NY
DENISE JENNER, 54, of Akron, NY
CHRISTY WHITE, 38, of Akron, NY
RENEE DYLAG, 40, of Akron, NY
DAVID MILKS, 39, of Akron, NY
GLORIA SHELL, 70, of Buffalo, NY
ROY VICTOR, 55, of Holland, NY
ANTHONY BLACKMAN, 32, of Elmira, NY
RUSSELL BLACKMAN, 28, of Elmira, NY
JERMAINE COX, 35, of Niagara Falls, NY
MARQUITTA COX, 38, of Niagara Falls, NY
ORIE DOCTOR, 41, of Tonawanda Indian reservation
WILLIAM GRAHAM, 55, of Niagara Falls, NY
KEVIN KING, 39, of Niagara Falls, NY
LAMAR JOHNSON, 34, of Lewiston, NY
STEPHANIE LOMBARDO, 54, of Lewiston, NY
VINCENTE MUNDY, 59, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
DURVAL PARKER, 37, of Saint Catherine, Jamaica
ERIC PARKER, 38, Pembroke, NY
JAMES SCHMAHL, 34, of Niagara Falls, NY
COCO SPENCER, age 30, Lockport NY
Charged in connection with Operation TGIF are:
JONATHAN PEREZ a/k/a Luis Sanchez-Cruz, 37, of New York, NY
FRANKLIN LARA, a/k/a Jose Rivera Colon, a/k/a Benny Rodriguez, 35, of the Dominican Republic
LUCIANO PITRE, 36, of Buffalo, NY
CARMEN PITRE, 45, of Buffalo, NY
OSCAR RUIZ, 49, of Cheektowaga, NY
CARMEN SALCEDO, 37, of Lawrence, MA
ANGEL CENTENO, 47, of Buffalo, NY
JUAN FERMIN, 48, of Buffalo, NY
ANABEL SANCHEZ, 42 of Buffalo, NY
JUAN SANTIAGO, 69, of Buffalo, NY
CHRISTIAN CUADRADO, a/k/a Christian Rodriguez, 32, of Buffalo, NY
MATTHEW DUBUC, 42, of Sanborn, NY
ANTHONY DEJAMES, 32, of Buffalo, NY
PAUL SETLOCK, 37, of Buffalo, NY
JASON WOOLLEY, 45, of Boston, NY