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Suburban Buffalo Drug Ring Dismantled

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – A year-long investigation by 300 hundred law enforcement officers has broken up a major suburban drug ring.

United States Attorney Terrence Flynn Thursday announced that 36 people were arrested for trafficking cocaine, crack and marijuana. The drug buys allegedly took place in several locations in Lockport, Amherst, Clarence and Buffalo.

Flynn said that "Operation the Good Life" exposed a dirty-little suburban secret that drug activity isn't just in urban areas.

Four individuals, including two women, were identified as the main targets of the raid conducted by several local and federal police agencies. They are charged with conspiracy and intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Nancy Cote is the resident agent in charge for Buffalo's office of the DEA. She said this was a very public operation.

"One of the places I know they were going to was Walmart on Transit Road in Amherst, where they sort of had drug dealers and drug purchasers lined up waiting to re-up, as we would say, from their source," said Cote.

That source, Melinda Donovan of North French Road in Amherst, was named as the alleged leader of the ring. Her home was one of four where evidence was seized through federal warrants. Wire taps were also used to intercept thousands of phone calls between Donovan and other sellers and buyers.

Flynn said naming the sting "Operation the Good Life" was a direct shot at Donovan.

"Who [she] was going up and down the beautiful towns of Lockport and Amherst and Transit Road and hiding away from some of the crime in other parts of our county, and leading the good life selling cocaine to all these people," said Flynn.

Other homes involved in the pre-dawn raid were on Ridge Lea Road in Amherst, John Street in Lockport and Greiner Road in Clarence. The exact amount of money and drugs seized was not yet known. Officials said the ring is estimated to have been raking in roughly $10,000 a week for posssibly the last three years.

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