© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Drug Probe Breaks Up Smuggling Ring

By Allison Ogorek

Buffalo, NY – Three men face serious drug charges while 15 others are charged with lesser counts as authorities broke up an international drug ring that involved an Hamburg trucking company.

US Attorney Michael Battle says the three suspects facing the most serious charges are accused of conspiring to transport a load of 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Peter Halas of Blasdell, the owner of the trucking company, and an Arizona man are also charged with intent to transport 37 kilograms of cocaine. DEA Special Agent Mark Peterson said the cocaine shipment was seized in Chautauqua County last May, and that it was well-concealed.

"The sophistication level that's being employed by traffickers, particularly international smugglers, has become more sophisticated over the years," Peterson said. "I think particularly in these post 9/11 days, they've really taken great pains to try to enhance their concealment techniques to successfully import controlled substances into the U.S."

Among those arrested on the lesser charges was Thomas Salerno of Blasdell, a former Erie County Sheriff's deputy who resigned after his name surfaced in the probe.