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Feds charge nine in Buffalo with drug dealing after raid on homes

Dozens of local, state and federal law enforcement officials raided houses on Townsend Street Tuesday, arresting nine people on drug charges.

Federal prosecutors said the defendants are charged in a 34-count grand jury indictment with using residences at 67 and 76 Townsend to manufacture, store and distribute cocaine and marijuana.

“These residences on Townsend Street had been the source of frequent citizen complaints,” U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said in a statement.

The raid, which included about 60 officers and agents, a SWAT unit and a helicopter flying overhead, resulted in the arrest of John Sanders, Jr., Lamario Mills, Charles Washington, Brandon Washington, Jason Jackson, Carl Phillips, Jr., Duane Pitts, Vernon James and Kacene Brathwaite, all of Buffalo.

Investigators said they also executed a search warrant at Mills’s residence at the Delaware Park Apartments at Delaware Avenue and Amherst Street, where cocaine and marijuana was also recovered.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremiah E. Lenihan and Joshua A. Violanti said each of the nine defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and some face additional charges of distributing cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and butyryl fentanyl.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, New York State Police, Buffalo Police Department, Erie County District Attorney’s Office and the Erie County Crime Analysis Center.

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