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Double drug bust nets 40 arrests

Two separate drug trafficking rings in Western New York were dealt major blows Tuesday when sealed indictments were opened and 40 people were arrested. Investigators seized more than $100,000 worth of cocaine, plus large quantities of prescription pills and cash.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says in one of the operations, code named Operation Lockport, drugs were sold on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and that one of the dealers was a nurse.

The other operation was called TGIF because one of the defendants targeted in the probe was a chef at the TGIF restaurant at Main and Chippewa streets in downtown Buffalo.

"With these 40 drug dealers off the streets, those streets in Niagara, Genesee and Erie counties are safer. Our children are safer. Our communities are safer. We're sending a clear message that in the State of New York, drug dealers will be prosecuted, pursued, and apprehended," Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman said it was a serious drug dealing operation which also included bi-monthly cock fights with  gambling.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico cited the combined efforts of law enforcement agencies for the successful conclusion of the drug investigation, ranging from the suppliers who brought in drugs from Florida to street dealers in Niagara Falls, the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, and elsewhere in the region.

D'Amico says investigators saw the proliferation of diverted prescription drugs being sold on the streets alongside the more traditional illegal substances like cocaine.

"One of the major subjects in this case...employed her own adult kids as sellers. She actually had the nerve to bring her four young grandchildren with her as she did drug deals, children ranging in age from 1 to 12," D'Amico said.

D'Amico noted the hundreds of hours of covert surveillance performed by law enforcement agents from federal, state, and local police agencies to crack the case.

Charged in connection with Operation Lockport are:

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
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
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

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.