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Two Major Drug Trafficking Rings Busted

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) 40 people in Erie and Genesee Counties have been arrested in what the attorney general and state police say were two separate drug trafficking rings. One of them also featured cockfighting.

“Drug trafficking rings like these infect our neighborhoods and tear apart our communities,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Today’s arrests strike a significant blow to the drug trade across Western New York. My office, with our strong collaboration with law enforcement partners, will fight to make our communities safer by rooting out large-scale narcotics trafficking networks.”

“It is through the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement that these dangerous individuals are now off our streets and out of our communities,” NYSP Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said. “We worked together identifying these dealers, pinpointing their drug activity and shutting down their enterprises. We remain committed to our partnership with the New York State Attorney General's Office and other law enforcement agencies to continue to intercept this type of illegal activity and the damage it does to our communities.”

As part of a multi-agency investigation code-named Operation Lockport, state and local law enforcement agents led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) conducted an 18-month-long operation. Two indictments, charging more than 160 combined counts and 25 people, were unsealed in Erie County Supreme Court today.

The investigation led to the seizure of approximately two kilograms of cocaine and more than $60,000 in cash. Members of the narcotics distribution organization would transport the cocaine from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the City of Niagara Falls. 

Investigators believe that the suspects would pack cocaine into the soles and heels of doctored pairs of shoes while transporting it from Florida to New York and then cut up the shoes once in Buffalo to extract it. The shoes, along with box cutters, razor blades and utility knives, were found in a vehicle belonging to Vincent Mundy, of Fort Lauderdale, who was arrested this morning. 

The cocaine was subsequently sold to Jermaine Cox and Lamar Johnson of Niagara County and Geraldine Horsefall of Genesee County, all of whom acted as the linchpins of the distribution network. The suspects then resold the cocaine to customers residing in Erie County and on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Geraldine Horsefall, who was assisted in these sales by her children, was also the focal point of a prescription pain pill distribution network. She obtained hydrocodone pills from some of her co-defendants and resold them to individuals in Genesee and Erie Counties. The Attorney General’s Office is conducting a separate investigation into how these prescription pills were originally obtained.

In the second investigation, code-named Operation TGIF, the Attorney General’s OCTF and the New York State Police, with the assistance of the Buffalo Police Department, conducted an investigation that recovered nearly 700 grams of cocaine. The suspects in this case arranged to have the cocaine transported to Buffalo from New York City and the Boston area, where it was sold to Lucian Pitre and Juan Fermin, of Buffalo, and Franklin Lara, of the Dominican Republic. These three men, the linchpins of the distribution network, resold it to customers in Erie County. This indictment, also unsealed today in Erie County Supreme Court, charges 15 people with more than 80 counts. 

During the course of Operation TGIF, investigators discovered that members of this drug network attended regular cockfights on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation. Undercover investigators observed hundreds of cockfights, including many at which the animals were killed, as well as apparatus, including spurs and razor blades that were affixed to the birds’ legs, tools used to transport or bury the animals and a board listing matchups. Bets were placed on each fight, both between the owners of the birds and between members of the assembled crowd. The owners of the property collected an admission fee from each participant, and a referee was paid per fight. Matthew Dubuc, on whose property the fights occurred, has been charged with in connection with the fighting operation.

Below is a list of suspects charged in connection with today’s indictments.

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

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