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Raid nets marijuana, cash, felony arrest

More than 80 pounds of marijuana and stacks of $20, $50 and $100 bills totaling nearly $83,000 were confiscated from a Sloan home during a raid Wednesday night, police said, and the man who lived there was arrested on felony drug-possession charges.

Police said Randy Pruchmiewicz, 32, was operating a lucrative large-scale drug-running business from his Crocker Street home, supplying many of the marijuana dealers in Buffalo's Kaisertown neighborhood, as well as Sloan and the western end of Cheektowaga.

Pruchmiewicz was arrested based on information from an informant.

"This all started with a vehicle and traffic stop of another party," said Capt. John Glascott. "He was just a customer [of Pruchmiewicz] who had a small amount [of marijuana] on him."

Patrolman Brian Gould, who made the traffic stop, said he saw the marijuana in the car and arrested the driver.

Based on information obtained from that person, Cheektowaga detectives and the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team set up a monthlong surveillance of Pruchmiewicz and his home.

Undercover detectives tracked license plates of vehicles going to and from the house, which they raided at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said, uncovering marijuana stashed in storage bins in the basement.

"We were looking for the big fish here and we found it," Glascott said.

Police said a number of vehicles from across Western New York, including the Gowanda area and the Southern Tier, were at the house.

The street value of the marijuana was estimated at nearly $70,000. Police said they think that Pruchmiewicz was a midlevel dealer who supplied other dealers.

Police said they also confiscated a quantity of hallucinogenic mushrooms and several vehicles, including a custom motorcycle, a custom pickup truck and an all-terrain vehicle.

Pruchmiewicz is suspected of using the vehicles to transport drugs, according to police, who said they are seeking the forfeiture of those vehicles through the federal system.

Bail was set at $25,000 cash or $75,000 property bond for Pruchmiewicz, who was arraigned on a felony charge of criminal possession of marijuana and a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was sent to the Erie County Holding Center after not posting bail.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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