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Local Authorities Break Up Violent Gang

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have arrested members of a major violent gang operating in Buffalo.

SWAT teams conducted raids early Wednesday morning in Buffalo, Amherst and Niagara Falls arresting seven suspects. Gang members were involved in cocaine distribution and had been operating on the city's East Side. Authorities believe they were involved in "murder for hire" cases.

"We feel we brought down a very violent gang in the city of Buffalo," said Buffalo Police Chief Anthony Barba.

He says they believe the suspects are linked to several city murders, but could not discuss the exact cases.

"All I will say is these murders were something that drew the attention of the law enforcement community," Barba said. "We decided we cannot let any homicide go uninvestigated, but we really had to press these issues."

US Assistant Attorney Anthony Bruce says the seven suspects face both federal and state charges of conspiracy, distributing cocaine and using the telephone to commit the crimes.

"The investigation was based on a state wire tape that was used over the last 30 days," Bruce said.

US Drug Enforcement Administration agent for Buffalo, Nancy Cote says they consider the gang members very dangerous and violent drug traffickers.

These guys used intimidation. Because of the fact that they were so violent, they used intimidation against their people. That is not a good thing," Cote said. "They can't run the streets of Buffalo with intimidation because we are going to get them."

Buffalo Police say the initial goal was to get the gang off city streets, but they expect murder charges to follow.