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POLICE ARREST FAMILY ON DRUG CHARGES 'NOTORIOUS' OPERATION CITED ON OXFORD PLACE

The family enterprise was run on Oxford Place for years and business was booming.

Until this month.

Earlier in April, Sylvia Reedus, 35, was arrested on felony drug charges during a series of raids in the Cold Spring neighborhood.

And with the arrest this week of her son, Jamie, 19, also on drug-related charges, police and deputies are confident they have ended a family drug business that terrorized a neighborhood for years, according to the Erie County Sheriff's Department.

Mother and son were not the only family members involved.

In April 1992, Lavon and Gwendolyn Reedus, Jamie's grandparents, were charged with marijuana possession and use of drug paraphernalia.

Four months later, Regina, Jamie's sister, was charged with drug possession and sale. In addition, grandfather Lavon, who has since died, faced charges involving prescription forgery in the 1980s, police said.

Police describe Gwendolyn Reedus as someone who used a wheelchair but stayed in touch with what her offspring were doing.

"They are a notorious family," said Detective Louis Gonzalez of the sheriff's narcotics unit. "They were wanted people."

Sales out of Oxford Place were active, he said.

"Both of them were pumping crack cocaine out of there for the past two years," Gonzalez said.

"It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they sold 40 to 50 bags a day from the place," Gonzales said. "If Jamie was out of crack to sell, he would turn to his mother to see if she had any."

Gonzalez described the family home at 2 Oxford as a "run-down, beat-up neighborhood hangout for users and dealers."

"The place was a shambles," he said. "On any given time, they had five or six people in the place buying drugs."

Neighbors last week declined to talk about the Reedus family out of fear of retaliation, but one recent letter to Sheriff Thomas P. Higgins described neighborhood life in the shadow of a crack house.

"There was gunfire in the night and drug sales on the streets and several crack houses had developed, threatening a neighborhood that was virtually fighting for its survival," read the letter, dated April 22.

"We must rid ourselves of these vermin. We must find a solution to the drug problem before it destroys our city and all our lives," stated the letter, which was signed by "a grateful yet frightened citizen."

Buffalo narcotics police said they had conducted "numerous raids" at 2 Oxford over the years, but the halt in the drug business would only be temporary.

Currently, Sylvia Reedus remains in the Erie County Holding Center on $100,000 bail after her arrest April 19 on a felony charge of selling crack cocaine.

Jamie Reedus -- who had managed to elude police for a week -- was apprehended Monday during a raid at a fortified gatehouse at 20 Roetzer Ave.

Buffalo Police Narcotics Lt. Kevin Kelly and Detectives Brian Miller and Dominic Pace said the Roetzer house where Jamie and his girlfriend were arrested was fortified with steel doors.

Chicken wire hung over the windows, and buckets of water stood by the toilets in the event drugs had to be flushed quickly and without a trace.

Three guns -- two loaded -- were found in the residence, which only had been in operation for about a month, according to police.

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