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College-area drug ring busted by multiple law enforcement agencies

Mike Desmond

Buffalo’s University Heights neighborhood may be a little quieter this weekend, after police busted a notorious party house on major drug charges.

For E-District Buffalo Police, a house on Tyler Street has been a problem to the point they went to housing court earlier this week and obtained an order to evict its residents. District Chief Carmen Menza said the house was one of the areas “big college party houses.”

“We've done a lot of work over the semester dealing with the landlord and dealing with the students themselves,” said Menza. “We’ve written many city ordinances and we recently made a couple of arrests over there for the raucous college parties.”

Late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, city and Sheriff's Department narcotics units raided the house and made a three arrests on felony drug charges. Menza said he doesn't expect the remaining residents to delay leaving the building.

Law enforcers also stopped and searched cars connected to the house. That led to an additional arrest at off-campus housing on Sweet Home Road in Amherst, adjacent to the University at Buffalo’s North Campus, in coordination with Amherst Police.

Three of the suspects arrested are identified by police as local college students. UB Officials said none of them are enrolled at the school this year, however at least three were previously enrolled.

Sheriff's Narcotics Chief Alan Rozansky said this incident is pushing against dealers.

“We're not arresting individuals that were users, today,” said Rozansky. “We're arresting individuals that are sellers, to prevent the end-users from getting this drug and that's what we intend on doing. Our intent isn't arresting the users, we want to get these people who are bringing these drugs to the citizens of Erie County and arrest them.”

The culmination of a seven-month investigation began with a routine traffic stop last year, and ultimately led to the four felony arrests. Along with them came the seizure of 25 pounds of marijuana, a variety of other drugs, and nearly $70,000 in cash.

Rozansky said university students are the target customers.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.