A grandmother accused of selling painkillers and cocaine while she was baby-sitting her grandchildren at her house in Pembroke was convicted Monday of two drugs charges.
Also convicted was a nurse who prosecutors said stole prescription drugs from the doctor she worked for and sold them to the Genesee County grandmother.
The grandmother, Geraldine Horsefall, 59, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Buffalo to third-degree drug possession involving cocaine and fifth-degree drug possession involving the painkiller hydrocodone.
She faces up to nine years in prison on the cocaine charge and up to 2½ years on the other charge when she is sentenced April 11 by Justice M. William Boller, according to Assistant Attorney General Kevin Kane.
The nurse, Michelle King, 42, of Akron, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance involving hydrocodone. She was referred to the judicial diversion program for nonviolent drug addicts involved in other crimes.
If King graduates from the yearlong program, she will return to court and the conviction will be set aside. If she fails the program, she faces up to 5½ years in prison.
Horsefall and King were among 25 suspects indicted in “Operation Lockport” along with 15 others indicted in “Operation TGIF.”
The indictments were announced at a Jan. 28 news conference in Buffalo by State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, who outlined how the two major drug rings were taken down. The drugs came from Boston, New York City and Florida and were distributed through the two networks throughout Western New York.
“Operation Lockport” resulted in the seizure of $100,000 in cocaine, $60,000 in cash, three rifles, a cache of prescription painkillers and various equipment and items used to secretly transport the cocaine here.
“Operation Lockport” centered on several individuals, but Horsefall’s actions involving her grandchildren were highlighted at the news conference.
D’Amico said Horsefall not only employed her adult children in selling drugs on and off the reservation of the Tonawanda Band of the Senecas, but her four grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 12, were often with her when she was making drug transactions while baby-sitting them.
Schneiderman called that despicable. “When someone brings small children along, that’s about as low as you can get,” he said.
Horsefall obtained prescription Oxycontin and Lortab pills from King, who stole them from the doctor, according to the attorney general.
The physician’s identity was not released because there is no evidence that he was involved in the illegal activity.
Horsefall’s daughter, Arylyn Horsefall, 33, and son, Eric Parker, 38, of Pembroke, also were arrested.
In addition, Jermaine Cox, 35, of Niagara Falls, and Lamar Johnson, 34, of Lewiston, were arrested for allegedly being “linchpins” in distributing cocaine to customers in Erie County and on the Tonawanda reservation.
Vincente Mundy, 59, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was arrested with several items that were believed to be used to prepare hiding places for cocaine in the soles and heels of shoes that were shipped on a regular basis to Western New York from Florida.