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'The neighbor you never want': Colden couple among 3 facing meth charges

They have been the subject of hundreds of complaints from their neighbors over the last decade in Lackawanna, Springville, Concord and Colden, many of them having to do with drugs.

They have been arrested multiple times, too.

And on Thursday, Dawn Smercak, 49, and David Smercak, 51, were charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after members of the Erie County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at their home on State Road in Colden.

Detectives and deputies found a "felony amount of meth," in addition to loose hydrocodone pills, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, sheriff's officials said.

David Smercak was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court.

"They're the neighbor you never want," said Erie County Sheriff's Chief of Detectives D.J. Granville.

In a separate – but connected – arrest, deputies pulled over Gregory Schroeder, 37, of South Dayton, who was driving on South Cascade Road in Springville just before 1 p.m. Thursday.

Deputies found he had 10 active suspensions on his driver's license.

A search of the vehicle turned up an ounce and a half of meth with a street value of $3,000 to $4,000. Investigators believe he was delivering the meth to the Smercaks, Granville said.

Schroeder was charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a stimulant, as well as a misdemeanor for possessing drug paraphernalia and vehicle and traffic violations.

All three were being held at the Erie County Holding Center on Friday.

The Sheriff's Office has received hundreds of complaints related to the Smercaks for more than 10 years, Granville said. Many of them involve drugs, but there have been complaints related to stolen property and loud parties as well.

The Smercaks originally are from Lackawanna, but they have also lived in Springville and now Colden.

The Smercaks have been arrested multiple times before.

In March, sheriff's deputies arrested David Smercak and a second man after pulling them over on North Cascade Drive in Springville. The deputy approached and saw an open container of alcohol. A search of the vehicle turned up a clear container of crystal meth weighing about 24 grams, in addition to a digital scale with white powdery residue, loose pills, marijuana and a marijuana pipe.

David Smercak was charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a stimulant and three misdemeanors.

And in June of last year, Dawn Smercak was arrested after a search warrant at an address on Springville Boston Road in Concord turned up a clandestine meth lab.

Deputies found "chemicals, materials and supplies" used to make meth. They also discovered a .308-caliber rifle with the serial numbers defaced and a switchblade knife.

Dawn Smercak was charged following that arrest with felony counts of unlawful manufacturing of meth, unlawful disposal of meth lab materials, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a defaced weapon and willful defacement of a gun. She was also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of meth manufacturing materials and criminal possession of a knife.

Thursday's arrests were made amid a recent increase in meth-related cases in far Southern Erie County and Southern Tier, law enforcement authorities say.

In early August, Olean police charged four men for making meth inside a South Eighth Street apartment where there were four children inside.

In July, Jamestown police arrested five people and seized more than half a pound of meth at a house on Bishop Street.

Also in July, two women, one from Springville and the other from East Otto, were arrested with more than 4 ounces of meth following a joint investigation by members of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office and the Southern Tier Regional Task Force.

And in June, a man was found dead inside a Forestville house after a call that someone was suffering from an unknown medical problem. Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies responding found items used to make meth inside the house, as well as meth.

"It's a drug of choice to many drug users in the Southern Tier," Granville said of meth.

"I would say over the last year, meth has been on the rise in Cattaraugus County," said Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Dry. "We're taking a very aggressive approach to it."

Deputies in Cattaraugus have seized larger amounts of meth during raids, Dry said. Also, the price of meth has dropped, he said, "which means there's more availability."

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