Federal authorities are trying to take control of $277,600 in cash and four Best Street properties seized last year during the arrest of a reputed Buffalo drug kingpin and another man.
Donovan Hough, 34, and Russell Bolden, 37, were convicted June 8 in U.S. District Court on charges of running a cocaine and marijuana ring from an East Delavan Avenue delicatessen owned by Hough, as well as various weapons and drug charges.
The two were arrested in June 1989 by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents just before a raid on Hough's home at 679 Best St. That property and three others are being sought in a civil lawsuit by the U.S. attorney's office, which claims the properties were purchased by Hough with drug proceeds and that he and Bolden conducted drug deals from the houses for four years. The two also are accused of using another delicatessen, the No-Name Deli at 687 Best, "to receive and store" cocaine and marijuana.
Under a federal statute, the U.S. attorney's office is able to gain forfeiture of property and assets from suspected drug dealers either by filing a civil lawsuit or bringing criminal charges against suspects. In this case, criminal charges were dropped in favor of a suit for the property.
The buildings at 669, 675, 679 and 687 Best St. are all owned by Hough and have a total assessed value of $60,300, according to city records. The cash, along with 75.5 grams of cocaine, two semiautomatic rifles and handguns, was found by DEA agents executing a search warrant at Hough's home.
"It (the money) was in various rooms of the house, in a safe," said DEA Special Agent Robert Niczyporowicz. "There was about $150,000 in a back room and a lot of money lying in the kitchen."