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Man charged with running drug ring

A Cheektowaga man could face life in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted of charges in a prescription drug ring, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Wednesday.

Michael McCall, 60, who was arrested with several others in July following a lengthy police investigation into the illegal sale of drugs in Buffalo and its suburbs, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.

It is the first time federal authorities have pursued the charge against an illegal distributor of prescription medication, Hochul said Wednesday.

A dozen others also were charged in the indictment with conspiracy to traffic in narcotics, authorities said. They could face up to 20 years in prison and be fined $1 million.

From 2009 to 2010 McCall was an "organizer, supervisor and manager of an illegal narcotics operation involved in the distribution of oxycodone and hydrocodone," according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe.

Authorities said McCall was in charge of the other suspects who obtained prescription pills from Buffalo pharmacies and then brought them to McCall, who redistributed them to a "network of sellers" on Strauss and East Eagle streets.

Charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone were Atiya Johnson, 29; Courtney Callahan, 26; DeShawn McLorn, 36; Rosalind Barnes, 58; Otis Boatwright, 50; Gwendolyn Grimes, 59; Ethel Johnson, 60; Christine Layman, 35; Joanne Lott, 60; Wilma Mack, 64; Michael Neely, 51; and Michael Spencer, 37, all of Buffalo.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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