A Buffalo school teacher, who lives across the street from Williamsville South High School, has been busted and charged with drug dealing, mantaining a drug house and possession of guns to aid drug trafficking. Authorities say Michael Masecchia also had homemade explosives.
It is not clear why the bust at this time, although federal officials were very clear it has nothing to do with the opening of school. Masecchia will not be at Grover Cleveland High School when it opens next week because he "has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the legal process," according to a one-line statement by Buffalo Public Schools.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said the bust was part of a much larger and longterm investigation, but would not say what that is or what evidence led to the search warrant used to scour the home.
"It's still an ongoing criminal investigation," he said. "There's a rule of law in this country: you have to take things into court and it's a process. And we can't get into a lot of what we're doing and the investigative techniques that we're using involving this case, but it's part of a larger investigation that brought us to Mr. Masecchia's house."
However, Kennedy said this raid hits home to parents, with school opening.
"Supervised by individuals who have the best interests of the children in mind, and certainly when one is involved in drug trafficking, has a cache of weapons at their ready access, including explosive devices, certainly if I'm a parent, I don't want my kid taught by that person," he said.
Kennedy said Masecchia has a prior conviction, which was subsequently erased under state law. The criminal complaint in the case said the teacher has been a major grower and distributor of marijuana for at least the last 20 years.
The U.S. attorney said marijuana dealing and distribution is a violent activity because the potential profits are so high.
"Oftentimes, marijuana trafficking is some of the most violent drug trafficking that we experience<" Kennedy said. "Whether it's loosely based street gangs on the East Side of Buffalo fighting for their share of the market or larger organizations, marijuana trafficking often involves because the money is significant. It often involves violence."