Local Police Should Be Kept In The Loop When It Comes To Federal Probes

Too often, we discuss the scourge of illegal drug addiction in terms of Jamestown’s problem or Chautauqua County’s problem.

As we were reminded last week, the problem really is regional and national in scope. Ten Buffalo residents were charged last week in the takedown of a drug trafficking ring that was bringing heroin and fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl from California to Western New York, including addresses in Chautauqua County.

Operation Blue Death, as the operation was named, resulted in seizure of 502 pills laced with fentanyl, over 100 grams of black tar heroin, over 130 grams of cocaine, 15 pounds of marijuana, and a 9mm highpoint pistol with 27 rounds of ammunition. The pills – purposely designed to look identical to oxycodone pills – were made from a toxic mix of fentanyl and acetaminophen. The agencies should be commended for shutting down a ring selling such potent substances. The investigation was led by the state Attorney General’s office with help from the Buffalo Police Department, Town of Amherst Police Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspector and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In our opinion, the investigation should have included Chautauqua County law enforcement too.

The indictment states packages were being sent from California to Buffalo as well as other addresses in Erie and Chautauqua counties. Not only were local addresses being used to bring the illegal drugs to Western New York, but it is likely those drugs were then being sold on the streets of Chautauqua County. Perhaps local police weren’t needed for the investigation, but they at least should been told the ring was operating inside the county and that perhaps a local investigation should be opened into anyone locally who had dealings with the Buffalo residents who now face federal charges.

Cooperation at all levels of law enforcement is the only way to effectively find and prosecute those who profit by making our friends, family and co-workers sick by peddling their poison. Last week’s bust is good news, but we hope it wasn’t also a missed opportunity.