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POLICE TARGET CRACK DEALERS; 20 ARE ARRESTED

Twenty people were arrested Tuesday as police swept the Lockport area for street-level crack dealers, Niagara County Drug Task Force Chief Craig Harmon said.

Six more suspects were still being sought, Harmon said. All the suspects were arrested on county grand jury indictment warrants.

The arrests culminated a six-month joint investigation by the sheriff's department, task force, city police and State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team into street-level crack cocaine sales here and in the town. It was the second phase of an earlier nine-month investigation that ended with 14 arrests in May.

Lt. Matthew Dembrow, the State Police team's region commander, said his undercover officers and task force investigators purchased rocks of suspected crack cocaine for about $20 each from street dealers during the investigation.

About 40 officers fanned out about 6:30 a.m. and made 20 arrests by 10:30. Investigators found that two suspects were already in Niagara County Jail on unrelated charges and lodged the drug charges against them there, Task Force Detective Daniel Pluff said.

Another suspect had been in the jail and was recently extradited to Florida on a grand larceny charge for the theft of a boat motor. Florida officials will be notified, Pluff said.

Harmon said the investigation was worth it "if it takes them off the street. That takes care of 90 percent of the (drug complaint) calls I get on a daily basis. It should keep the streets quiet for the holidays."

Charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance were: Jason Holloway, 18, of Church Street; Daron Woods, 21, of Grand Street; Robert L. Jones, 26, of Cloverleaf Drive; Andre Payne, 30, of Dysinger Road; Jermaine Tennyson, 20, of Elmwood Avenue; Anthony Ruiz, 17, of Lewis Street; David Carter, 19, of Chestnut Street; Joshua Meadows, 19, of Sweetwood Drive; Clarence Middleton, 25, of West Avenue; David Laskey, 35, Kenneth Laskey, no age available, Leon Tennyson, 29, and Ivan Borrero, 26, all of Washburn Street; Roy Hamilton, 16, of South Street or Locust Street; Orlando Lopez-Borrero, 22, of Ashley Place; and Richard Rodgers, 22, of Saxton Street, police said.

Ronald Sconiers, 42, of Willow Avenue, Niagara Falls, was charged in the county jail, where he was being held on unrelated charges, deputies said.

Three women arrested on the same charges were Coco Spencer, 16, of Ashley Place; Ann Diel, 36, of Lagrange Street; and Stephanie Mix, 23, of Allen Avenue.

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