A ring of suspected Southern Tier heroin traffickers was broken up with a series of arrests on Friday, federal officials said.
Eight people were arrested on felony charges of conspiring to sell heroin in the Jamestown area, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said.
Federal agents and police officers said they recovered $360,000 in drug money during the arrests, and also more than three pounds of heroin, three vehicles, a rifle and two handguns.
The federal arrests followed an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.
DEA officials said the probe uncovered a "serious problem" with heroin and prescription drug abuse in the Jamestown area.
"We found that many people in the Jamestown area have become addicted to prescription painkillers, and then moved on to heroin because it is a quicker and cheaper high but one that is also very dangerous," said Michelle Y. Spahn, a DEA group supervisor who worked on the investigation.
The alleged leader of the drug organization was identified as Victor "Pito" Anguiera, 28, of Celeron. He is accused of storing drug money at his mother's home in Youngstown, Ohio, where investigators said they found $300,000 in a safe.
An additional $60,000 was seized from a Lincoln Navigator that was stopped by police late Thursday after an alleged drug transaction at a heroin "stash house" on East Sixth Street in Jamestown, Spahn said.
Also charged were Jamestown residents Boris Aguayo-Matos, 27; Victor Monge, 28; Jose Altreche, 39; Jayson Rodriguez-Izary, 25; Ricardo Ortiz, 39; and Nelson Rosa-Areizaga, 35.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duszkiewicz is prosecuting the case.