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Three held as major pot traffickers

Federal agents and police arrested three Niagara Falls men Thursday and identified them as major traffickers in hydroponic marijuana from Canada.

Arrested after a lengthy investigation by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Niagara Falls police were: Curtis Nalls, 29, and his brother, Joseph Maudlin, 40, both of Ashland Avenue, and Glenn Bartlett, 48, of Fifth Street.

"They are considered major marijuana traffickers. Since 2004, it is believed they smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of hydroponic marijuana from Canada into the United States," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti said after the arrests.

The three men are accused of hiring "numerous" people from Western New York to hide marijuana in their cars and transport it over the border, about 20 to 40 pounds at a time, Violanti said.

All three men face felony conspiracy and drug-smuggling charges. Nalls and Maudlin also face a charge of obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to pay off a witness involved in the case, the prosecutor said.

The street-sale value of 2,000 pounds of hydroponic pot was estimated by police at at least $4.8 million.

Federal agents and police executed 10 search warrants in the case Thursday morning, recovering a firearm and $100,000 cash, authorities said.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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