Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Crime

August 18, 2010

Drug bust nets 18 suspects

Federal charges lodged; accused ringleaders from Lockport

Local law enforcement arrested 18 people on federal drug charges in Lockport, Gasport and North Tonawanda on Tuesday morning, including alleged ring leaders, Eric Williams and Damien Ard, both of Lockport.

Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert said Williams, 31, 118 Chestnut St., was their main target after a year-long investigation led to Williams, who Eggert said ran a drug organization of people around the county. Cocaine that Williams was selling was reportedly being trafficked into the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area from Texas.

“He ran a ring of people — all but one of whom we were able to detain,” Eggert said.

Eggert said his department, in addition to other agencies, executed 19 federal arrest warrants and 10 federal search warrants in Lockport, Gasport and North Tonawanda.

“We had a pretty good investigation that built into a federal case,” Eggert said. “It feels good to get these guys off the streets and accomplish something we’ve been working on for so long.”

During the raid, Eggert said police found 1/4 kilograms of cocaine, money and several firearms.

“Williams mainly sold cocaine, and his stringers prided themselves on selling other drugs from marijuana to prescription medications.”

Ard, 29, and Williams were charged with unlawfully distributing illegal drugs including cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, heroin, Ecstasy, hydrocodone and other controlled substances, while Williams’ roommate, Janelle M. Hawkins, 32, was charged separately with felony first-degree possession of a controlled substance. Ard was additionally charged with managing a number of people who were also charged Tuesday.

Eggert said William’s home was equipped with a surveillance system and a 52-inch TV dedicated to watching the cameras, two large pit bulls and a barricaded door.

“The door was so hard to open, the S.W.A.T team had a hard time entering his residence, giving Williams time to attempt to flush away evidence,” Eggert said. “Luckily, they got in just before he was able to press the flush button.”

Eggert said the arrests effectively dismantled Wiliams’ drug organization, which he said brought about 2 kilograms of cocaine per month into the City of Lockport.

“The investigation in his case was an outstanding example of interagency cooperation at the federal, state and local level,” a new release from Lockport police said. “The dismantling of this sophisticate illegal drug enterprise will significantly reduce the amount of illegal drugs being brought into our area and reduce the pervasive types of criminals that are the direct result of illegal drug sales and use.”

Also arrested on the same drug and trafficking charges that Wiliams faces are:

• Alfonzo “Fonzo” Maye, 38, of Lockport

• Torano Spencer, 34, of Lockport

• Michael “Red” J. Valery, 34, of Lockport

• Bobby N. Spencer, 56, of Lockport

• Justin “Diddy” McTigue, 26, of Lockport

• Ryan Eick, 27, of Lockport

• Jeffrey F. Sidebottom, 30, of Newfane

• David Klotzbach, 30, of North Tonawanda

• Antonio “Grumps” Briggs, 38, of Buffalo

• John A. Cruz, 23, of Buffalo

• Allen Ainsworth, 28, no address provided

• James Dolly, 45, no address provided

• Jan M. Jerge, 24, no address provided

• Mark Robertson, 38, no address provided

• Daniel White, 38, no address provided

A report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the charges carry a penalty of five to 40 years in state prison, a $2 million fine or both.

In addition of Lockport Police, other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and arrests are:

• The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

• Niagara and Orleans county sheriff’s departments

• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

• The U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau

• Police departments from New York state, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, North Tonawanda, Middleport, Niagara Falls, Lewiston, Hamburg and Cheektowaga.

“Illegal narcotics trafficking has no place on the streets of Buffalo, Lockport or any other community in Western New York,” U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said. “My office will continue to fight this.”

Contact reporter Britney Milazzo at 439-9222, ext. 6251.

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