BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The feds call it a major strike in the war on drugs. It's being billed as the Buffalo's biggest heroin bust ever.
State narcotics agents seized seven kilograms of heroin with an estimated street value of $3.5 million. Officials announced those drugs were intercepted in a drug pipeline that stretched from the Bronx to Buffalo's west side.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "It was essentially funneling drugs from the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, into Buffalo."
Schneiderman called the 11-month investigation, "Operation Horse Trail," a multi-million-dollar heroin pipeline stretching from the Bronx to a drug house on Buffalo's west side, specifically a one block-long side street, called 'Gill Alley.'
State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said, "The heroin trafficking organization moved its product from the Bronx using the State Thruway system to communities of Rochester and Buffalo."
Authorities seized seven kilograms of heroin, about 14 pounds, with an estimated street value of $3.5 million. They also took in $45,000 cash, guns, and tools used to cut heroin for street use.
Deputy Police Commissioner Charles Tomaszewski said, "Typically the group, which is indicated by the cutting agents and materials you see me with, cut the heroin down to street-level use and then would be sold on the streets of our city."
Officials say, if this heroin had reached the street, it could have led to more than 100,000 drug transactions.
Mayor Byron Brown said, "At least 160,000 sales of heroin that could have taken in the city of Buffalo."
"Operation Horse Trail" led to a 51-count indictment of 15 reputed drug traffickers, eight of them from Buffalo, and three of the suspects are named as major drug kingpins.
"Whether you are in the Bronx or in Buffalo, we make it as hard as possible to conduct this type of operation. Our techniques improve, our strategy improves, our electronic surveillance improves, and we're going to make it harder and harder and harder," said Schneiderman.
Investigators say the 11-month probe was actually sparked by a seizure in Buffalo. If convicted, the three reputed narcotics kingpins could face 25 years to life in prison.
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