Local law enforcement said a sweep of drug houses has netted some major drug dealers, but it is also a sign that dealers are moving into bigger deals and connecting directly to drug cartels for supplies.
Federal and local agencies unveiled the arrests Thursday at Buffalo Police Headquarters. Authorities said they was are the culmination of two-and-a-half months of investigation by Buffalo Police, the Erie County Sheriff's Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the ATF and FBI.
"That kind of coordination is what's necessary," said First Deputy Erie County District Attorney Michael Keane, "and what we have shown here today is the culmination of that, which resulted in seven arrests of dangerous people that have been taken off the streets, in addition to the drugs and the guns that have been removed from the streets."
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood listed what was siezed.
"That resulted in numerous arrests. Taking illegal guns off our streets, siezure of approximately 12 lbs. of cocaine, 200 lbs. of marijuana and almost $1 million in cash and additional assets valued at approximately $500,000 in cars and jewelries," Lockwood said.
All of the arrests were made in Buffalo, although police said the activities of those arrested stretched out into the suburbs.
Erie County Sheriff's Department Chief of Narcotics and Intelligence D.J. Granville said local dealers have been taking advantage of the pandemic.
"As the pandemic has occurred, the local guys have taken it upon themselves to make those trips to our southern states and, in fact, transport that cocaine back up to this area for resale," Granville said, "and it has shown that along the way, they have made some mistakes and we were able to catch on."
Granville said cocaine prices are rising rapidly, from around $40,000 a kilo to more than $50,000, incentivizing those trips South.