Six Buffalo men and a woman were arrested for alleged cocaine sales after the Marine Unit of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office stopped a boat for speeding within 100 feet of the shore off the Erie Basin Marina at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
The deputies pulled over the boat at a marina off Fuhrmann Boulevard and found 18 bags of cocaine totaling one-half ounce in Melvin Ward’s boat. They determined he has been selling cocaine from the boat recently at local marinas.
Ward, 32, of Buffalo, was charged with felony counts of criminal possession and criminal possession with intent to sell controlled substances.
Also arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance were Matthew Ohleman, 25; Nicholas Pera, 49; Charles Licthenberger, 28; Erin Mahoney, 31; Justin Hart, 22; and Elizabeth Honan, 27. Ohleman was also charged with obstruction of governmental administration after allegedly interfering with the investigation when the boat was pulled into a marina off Fuhrmann Boulevard. Officials did not say where the suspects were from.
One of the suspects jumped into the water but was rescued by members of the U.S. Coast Guard who came to assist.
Ward and Ohleman were jailed at the Erie County Holding Center pending court proceedings. The five other suspects were issued appearance tickets for Buffalo City Court proceedings June 30.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said of the boat drug arrests: “This was a very dangerous situation our deputies found themselves in, but their training and experience quickly brought it under control until backup arrived.”