Raymond Peracciny ran a Lockport produce company that reportedly distributed fresh fruits and vegetables in Western New York.
But his real cash crop was marijuana, federal drug agents say.
Peracciny, 41, of Willow Street, Lockport, and two men from Colorado were charged with felonies today in connection with a drug ring that allegedly distributed 1,000 pounds of marijuana a year in the Buffalo area.
"He said he ran a produce company, but we don't believe he was making his money selling apples and oranges," said Special Agent Kenneth McCreary of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Peracciny could not be reached to comment today. His telephone number is unlisted, and there is no telephone listing for his produce company, identified by police as Bella Produce. His attorney, A. Angelo DeMillo, also was unavailable.
Eighty pounds of marijuana linked to the drug ring was seized Tuesday morning as it was delivered to a building on Greenwood Place in Buffalo. McCreary said the building served as a "stash house" to store marijuana for the ring.
The alleged suppliers of the ring, James Nichols, 35, of Lafayette, Colo. and Peter Encinna, 41, of Broomfield, Colo., were also arrested. The three men face charges of conspiracy, marijuana distribution and using the telephone for drug deals.
"We've had a wiretap on Mr. Peracciny's residence, and we learned that Mr. Nichols was driving in with a load of marijuana," McCreary said. "We were staking out the house on Greenwood when he arrived. We found the marijuana in a hidden compartment in his pickup truck."
Colorado drug agents later raided Encinna's house, where they said they found a 1,000 square-foot "hydroponic marijuana garden" in the basement.