BY JOE OLENICK firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It was about 7:30 a.m. when Jerome Drake left his North Transit Street house Tuesday morning. What was unusual is that he was in handcuffs and left in a Lockport police car.
Drake, 36, was one of seven arrested Tuesday in a citywide sweep of suspected drug dealers. Two others were also charged Tuesday, but both were already incarcerated on unrelated charges.
Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert said Tuesday’s raid sent a message concerning drug dealing in the city.
”We’ll always be out there to respond,” he said. “One of our biggest problems is drugs. So if you come to the city with them, you’ll wind up under arrest.”
Along with Drake, local law enforcement snatched up Nathaniel Carson, Jr., 23, 285 Clinton St., Ashley Boyer, 27, 616 West Ave., Curtis McCoy, 51, 268 Garden St., Anderson Davis, Jr., 20, 152 High St., Terrance Hardy, 29, 6557 Lincoln Ave. and Kevon Sykes, 23, 1478 East Delavan Ave.
All seven were charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Both charges are class B felonies.
Also charged was Latasha Ford, 32, 6309 Robinson Road and Jeanine Burton, 23, who is incarcerated at Albion State Correctional Facility. Ford was locked up in Niagara County Jail.
Both were charged with a single count each of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
The citywide bust was led by the Niagara County Drug Task Force, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, the Lockport Police Department, the New York State Division of Parole, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Police from the Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda departments also assisted.
Eggert said the arrests were the result of a year-long investigation headed up by Lockport Det. Kevin Newman of the County Drug Task Force. The suspected drug dealing is believed to have taken place within the city’s “Impact Zone,” a specific geographic area targeted for increased police patrol and building code enforcement. The zone runs between Erie and Transit on the west and east, and High and Walnut streets on the south and north.
Capt. Scott Lombardo of the Drug Task Force said a few hundred dollars was found in a lockbox during Tuesday’s bust, as well as a small amount of marijuana in one house. It’s believed the dealers were mostly selling crack cocaine or prescription pills, which are the more common drugs in Lockport, aside from marijuana.
The investigation is continuing while the Drug Task Force is still looking for five other suspected dealers, Lombardo said.
Those who have been charged were arraigned Tuesday in Niagara County Court, with the exception of Sykes and Drake. Both are scheduled for arraignments today.
Having agencies work together is beneficial, Lombardo said, as it allows law enforcement the flexibility and strength to act instead of just one department spreading itself too thin.
“It’s great,” Lombardo said. “It’s all about sharing resources.”
Eggert agreed, because an issue like drugs won’t restrict itself to jurisdictional lines.
“Twenty years ago it would’ve been Lockport’s problem, now it’s everyone’s problem,” Eggert said.
CAUGHT Each have been charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance • Nathaniel Carson, Jr., 23, 285 Clinton St. • Ashley Boyer, 27, 616 West Ave. Also charged with a violation of parole • Curtis McCoy, 51, 268 Garden St. • Jerome Drake, 36, 260 North Transit St. • Anderson Davis, Jr., 20, 152 High St. • Terrance Hardy, 29, 6557 Lincoln Ave. • Kevon Sykes, 23, 1478 East Delavan Ave. • Latasha Ford, 32, 6309 Robinson Road • Jeanine Burton, 23, incarcerated at Albion State Correctional Facility
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.