A helicopter pilot who operates tours in Buffalo and Niagara Falls was arrested over the weekend after Buffalo police stopped him in a parking lot on Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo and found two kilos of cocaine in a bag along with an unspecified amount of cash, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said.
The suspect was identified as Michael Campbell, 27, owner of FlyBuffaloNY out of Lancaster Regional Airport. Sheriff's officials said he was returning from a trip to New York City by car when he was stopped. Investigators say he also flies helicopters in New York City.
The arrest follows a two-month-long investigation by the sheriff's narcotics unit.
Police executed a search warrant for Campbell's vehicle at 1:30 a.m. Saturday. After that, sheriff's deputies and Buffalo police executed simultaneous search warrants at two locations in Buffalo: one on Prospect Avenue on the city's West Side where Campbell lives and a second one on Fields Avenue in South Buffalo.
Deputies recovered a loaded .22 caliber revolver and scales with cocaine residue at Campbell’s residence and Buffalo police seized cocaine, ketamine and cash at the Fields residence. Sheriff's officials said the total amount of cash seized from the raids was about $16,000.
Campbell was charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a narcotic with intent to sell, criminal possession of a narcotic and criminal possession of a firearm. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia, sheriff's officials said.
Carmello Incorvaia, 36, of Buffalo was arrested at the Fields address. He was charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a narcotic (8 ounces or more) and criminal possession of ketamine, and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
Both men were remanded to the Erie County Holding Center.
Last year, Campbell withdrew a plan to put a heliport at 20 Buffalo River Place, just off Ohio Street not far from Silo City, after he faced opposition from residential neighbors as well as Silo City and Rigidized Metals Corp.
In 2013, Campbell was hailed as a hero by New York City press after he successfully maneuvered an emergency landing in the Hudson River with a Swedish family on board.