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Federal drug defendant arrested again

An Amherst man already facing federal drug distribution charges was arrested again Thursday after a search of his home and vehicle resulted in the discovery of $50,000 in cash and about 5 pounds of suspected cocaine.

Tyrone Pennick, 40, of Emerson Drive is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Also charged was Geneva Smith, 30, of Buffalo, who was arrested after investigators stopped her vehicle and found two large containers of suspected cocaine.

Pennick was on house confinement while awaiting prosecution on a federal indictment for his alleged role as leader of a large-scale cocaine trafficking ring.

Authorities seized five pounds of suspected cocaine and nearly $50,000 in cash after a search of the home and vehicle of Tyrone Pennick, of Amherst, who is already facing federal drug distribution charges. (Erie County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities seized five pounds of suspected cocaine and nearly $50,000 in cash after a search of the home and vehicle of Tyrone Pennick. (Erie County Sheriff's Office)

Sheriff Timothy Howard said investigators from his office were conducting surveillance near Pennick’s apartment Thursday when Smith was seen leaving with a large tote bag. The investigators followed her vehicle and eventually pulled it over. Two containers of suspected cocaine were found in the tote bag.

A search warrant was then executed at Pennick’s apartment, where investigators recovered a metal press, digital scale, packaging material, a box of rubber gloves, a plastic bag containing disposable dust masks and a vacuum sealer. A bag containing $49,990 in cash was found in the dishwasher and an ounce of suspected cocaine was found in an oatmeal box.

Pennick was first indicted in 2010 following a roundup of 25 people arrested in connection with an East Side drug ring. Other indictments followed, but the case has yet to come to court, so eventually Pennick was released on home detention because of constitutional speedy trial laws. The charges in that case include drug distribution, money laundering and witness tampering.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Lynch and Laura A. Higgins are handling the new case.

 

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