Common Council looks to clean up 'problem delis'

Feb 3, 2016

Buffalo lawmakers want action on problematic delis and on drug houses and say they need Albany and Buffalo police to help.

Credit WBFO News File Photo

Councilmember Richard Fontana started this push, saying he's dealing with delis selling loose cigarettes and drug paraphernalia and possibly drugs. Veteran members of the Council have been involved in deli wars for years, claiming sales of everything from food which isn't fresh or healthy to drugs and guns. There are also complaints some owners don't adhere to restrictions in their licenses.

"We don't want to shut deli stores down but we certainly don't want them distributing and being a part of the problem that we continue to have in our communities with the distribution of single cigarettes and drug paraphernalia," said Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt.,

"I'm hopeful they are listening because we want quality in our city. Buffalo is on the rebound and we want to make sure that these deli stores are accountable and giving us the same service that we would get anywhere else."

Other members say there are also problems with drug-dealer owner-occupied homes, with Fontana listing three in his Lovejoy district and naming the owners and saying at least one keeps being released on bail after arrest and going right back into drug sales.