DUNKIRK - Two drug raids in the city of Dunkirk on Thursday have led to eight individuals being taken into custody. Authorities executed two separate search warrants signed by City Court Judge Walter Drag, concluding a lengthy investigation.
Members of the Dunkirk Police special response team and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force executed the search warrants. At 6:39 p.m. officers made forced entry to execute one search warrant at 107 S. Beaver St. Monserrate Silva Jr., 51, of the residence, Alvin Jusino, 18, of West Fifth Street, and Angel Garcia, 24, of Middle Road were taken into custody. Silva was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Reportedly he was found with a substantial amount of both cocaine and crack cocaine at the time of his arrest. Jusino was charged with disorderly conduct, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Garcia was charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Officers also seized a quantity of cocaine, crack cocaine, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and several edged weapons.
The second search warrant was executed at 8:14 p.m. at 114 S. Gazelle St. Again, the special response team made a forced entry. Joseph Szach, 57, of the residence, Monserrate Silva III, 20, of 107 S. Beaver St., Raymond Santiago, 39, of West Second Street and William Green, 47, of South Beaver Street were taken into custody. Szach was charged with multiple counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance on a warrant. Silva III was charged with multiple counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance on a warrant. Santiago was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree obstructing governmental administration. Green was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Reportedly, he was found to be in possession of crack cocaine at the time of his arrest.
Members of the Dunkirk Police Department apprehend several suspects during a drug bust on Beaver Street in the city Thursday evening.
Photo by Chip Riewaldt
These arrests culminated a five-month investigation into sales of cocaine and crack cocaine at the two residences.
"It's been an ongoing investigation for several months into drug sales in the community and we concluded quite an extensive investigation tonight," Police Chief David Ortolano said.
Lt. David Bentley of the drug task force said the search warrants were related. Investigation has shown cross traffic between defendants and the sale of drugs at the houses.
"There has been a lot of cross traffic between the two locations, between the defendants as well as the products they are selling. This has been an ongoing investigation over the course of the last couple of months by officers of the task force making street level purchases from these two locations," Bentley said.
In addition, at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday officers responded to the report of a fight on the 600 block of Deer Street. Through investigation, police located Zachary Plumley, 17, of South Roberts Road. He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. These charges resulted from the Chautauqua County secret grand jury based on evidence from the regional drug task force. It is alleged Plumley has sold crack cocaine to agents of the task force over the course of the last several months.
All eight men were held pending arraignment before Judge Drag.
Ortolano said the police department is "sending a very strong message" by putting away criminals in drug-related cases calling it a "priority" for the department.
"We're going to send the message to these neighborhoods and these people that if they want to do their business here, that they might get their door knocked in at some point in time," Ortolano said.
Ortolano said this raid is a perfect example of the hard work by everyone involved in the case. Ortolano said he was very proud of his department. Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was on a ride-along with the Dunkirk Police Department tonight during the execution of the search warrants. He expressed his gratitude for the department and how he is continually impressed.
"I continued to be impressed by the work these gentlemen do. The enthusiasm and the dedication to ridding our streets of these criminals is a thrill to watch in person. I compliment them for what they're doing. I look forward to more," Dolce said.