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More than two ounces of cocaine and drug paraphernalia were seized from a convicted drug dealer during a surveillance operation and search of his home earlier this week by Lackawanna and Buffalo narcotics detectives.

Orlando Santiago, 42, and his wife, April N. Santiago, 34, were returning from the Riverside area of Buffalo Wednesday when detectives stopped the couple at Center Street and Ridge Road in Lackawanna and searched them, according to Capt. Joseph E. Leo, chief of detectives in Lackawanna.

Just before April Santiago was stopped, her husband, a passenger in the car, handed the drugs to her, Leo said.

“There were two ounces of cocaine stuffed down her pants. She handed it to the detectives out on the street and told us it was his. At the police station, Orlando gave us a statement saying the drugs were his,” Leo said.

In addition to following the couple, detectives had obtained a search warrant for their residence on Pulaski Place.

“At their home we confiscated a small quantity of cocaine and electronic scales located in the ceiling of the basement. The scales were hidden with packaging for the drugs,” the captain said.

The Santiagos were charged with two felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Orlando Santiago, authorities say, is no stranger to police. He has two convictions for robbery and one for selling drugs.

The investigation into Santiago started about six months ago after detectives received information from a confidential informant. The probe was headed by Lackawanna Lt. Aaron Brennan, who was assisted by Officers Chuck Jaworski, Jason Szentesy and Matthew Gorczca. Several members of the Buffalo narcotics unit also participated.

email: lmichel@buffnews.com