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Early morning raid nets drugs linked to Seneca Cattaraugus Territory

Erie County Sheriff's Department

With the Erie County Sheriff's Department and Seneca Nation marshals working together, a three-time convicted drug dealer was busted Monday and charged with supplying residents of the nation's Cattaraugus Territory.

Sheriff Tim Howard says James Carter, 31, was using his mother's apartment in a Perry Project senior citizen building as his supply base while his mom is in the hospital. A search of that unit found "1,000 heroin doses," other drugs, cash and a handgun.

No drugs were found in an Evans location, which had been monitored in a surveillance operation.

Sheriff Howard said the police cooperation was important in the investigation.

"This case received a high priority over the last two months," Howard said. "Enough intel was developed to obtain a search warrant from County Court Judge Thomas Franczyk and this morning at 6:30, search warrants were executed at two locations, one here in the City of Buffalo in the Perry Projects, the other on Erie Street, which is Route 5 in the Town of Evans."

Seneca President Todd Gates has said in the past there is a serious drug problem on nation territory and told media at a news conference this bust is another sign of marshals and deputies working together to fight drug use.

"We are pleased in our collaboration with the Erie County sheriffs and all the other law enforcement agencies here in Western New York," said Gates. "The drug problem? We've got to team up to battle this thing. It's not going away. This is just another good grab on part of our collaboration through all of our efforts in sharing information."

Seneca Cattaraugus Chief Marshal Andrew Keyes said there are nation drug houses.

"We do know a few houses on territory that are problem houses, that are known drug houses," said Keyes. "I appreciate the help we have had from Erie County to address these problems - and, yes, we do know who they are."

At least one local deputy sheriff is an enrolled Seneca. The handgun found in the Perry Project apartment is being tested to determine its origin and past use.

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.