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CITIZEN ACTION LAUDED IN DRUG BUST

Police credited citizen complaints with the arrest of four drug suspects, the seizure of more than $190,000 in cash, more than 3 pounds of cocaine and a cache of weapons during the weekend in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

What started as a surveillance and a traffic stop at 10:30 p.m. Saturday led to the search of a Buffalo house and then a search of a Niagara Falls house early Sunday morning.

Charges against all four suspects included felony drug counts.

"This scenario was great cooperation of citizens in reporting the activity," said Buffalo Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina, who credited the tip from the mayor's hotline.

"Because of the report and the coordination of our officers, we have drugs off the street, guns off the street, the cash they used for trafficking and four individuals behind bars."

Buffalo police on surveillance of a Wilson Street home suspected to be the site of drug activity observed a van pull up and park illegally in front of the address, according to Diina.

Diina said Officers David Greenway and John Molenda of the Gang Suppression Unit pulled the van over on traffic charges and discovered $2,420 in its console unit.

After police obtained a warrant to search the van, K-9 dogs found drugs in the vehicle, police said. The van was impounded, and investigators found 3 ounces of crack cocaine, they added.

The occupants of the van were identified by police as Jonnal Baker, 25, of Smith Street and John T. Hunt, 24, of Rawlins Street.

Hunt was charged with four drug counts, offering fake identification, forgery, driving
without a license and ignoring a stop sign, according to police.

Baker was charged with three drug counts and with loitering, police said.

Diina said the arrest of Baker and Hunt led police at 3:45 a.m. Sunday to raid a house on 61st Street in Niagara Falls, where police found five loaded handguns, more than 3 pounds of cocaine and $190,872 in cash.

Arrested at the scene were Arica Thomas, 23, and Sonya Hunt, 26, according to police.

Police said Baker and John Hunt had outstanding warrants for narcotics possession in Buffalo. Hunt was wanted on two narcotics felonies and Baker on two narcotics misdemeanors, according to Diina.

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