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Authorities bust suspected West Side meth operation

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Federal agents conducted a major round-up of suspected drug dealers Friday on Buffalo's West Side. A Buffalo SWAT Team and members of the Drug Enforcement Agency tossed a flash grenade into the window of a deli at 580 Niagara Street, at the corner of Jersey Street, just before 1 p.m.  That is where they arrested suspected dealer Philip Keomongkoun, 26.

A total of seven drug suspects were arrested in today's federal indictment.  They're being charged with distribution of meth and other controlled substances.  

"In addition to the defendants, there were already some reports of methamphetamine that was seized, as well as firearms," U.S. Attorney William Hochul told WBFO News.

Hochul says his office was able to identify the new source of "almost pure methamphetamine" based on a tip that came into the Erie County's Sheriff's Office.

"The way we were able to take that initial tip with DEA, run it to ground, use some pretty important law enforcement techniques including wiretaps, and then arrest all those responsible is really a tribute to the men and women of our police and law enforcement services," Hochul said.

The U.S. Attorney, who told WBFO News he will serve a second term under the administration of President Barack Obama, says even the manufacturing of meth can be dangerous to the community

"The whole process is toxic, it's flammable, and there have been reports in some of our remote areas of fatalities and fires as a result of the manufacture,' Hochul said.

Also arrested were Steven Bennett, 42, of Buffalo; Chandra Woods, 29, of Los Angeles, California; Jessica Lopez, 32, of Buffalo; Malcom Bull, 21, of Jamestown, N.Y.; Nikki Lillard, 49, of Buffalo; and Guy Burt.

Along with the SWAT Team, authorities were assisted by Cheektowaga Police and the Erie County Sheriff's office.