NIAGARA FALLS - A North Tonawanda woman who allegedly sold cocaine while working as a bartender in several city bars was arrested late last week on felony charges of sales and possession of more than $1,200 worth of powered cocaine.
CindyL. Ventresca, 41, of Wallace Avenue, was arraigned Tuesday in City Court on charges of third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She pleaded not guilty and was released after posting $5,000 bail. A return court date was set for Oct. 2.
Police Capt. Morris Shamrock, chief of the Narcotics Division, said Ventresca had worked at several city bars, most recently at a Welch Avenue bar, which he declined to name. He said the bar's owners worked mostly during the daytime, are "adamantly against drugs" and were unaware of Ventresca's dealings.
"But she was definitely selling drugs in the bar at night. People were meeting her there," Shamrock said about Ventresca.
He said Ventresca had worked at a number of bars in the city, at least three previous to her current job and said they had been receiving complaints at each location.
After an investigation, narcotics detectives served a warrant at 8 p.m. Friday, stopping Ventresca at 30th Street and Welch Avenue while she was on her way to work.
She was found in possession of 14 baggies, each containing half a gram of powered cocaine packaged for sale, as well as larger baggies of cocaine, cash and personal checks made out to cash.
"The checks were made out to the exact same amount that she was selling the drugs for," Shamrock said. "As one of my detectives said, it says something about the time you've been in business and the clientele you've built up when you are willing to accept personal checks."
North Tonawanda police assisted narcotics detectives in a search warrant at Ventresca's house on Wallace Avenue, where they reported finding another small quantity of cocaine, as well as scales and packaging materials.
"She had built up her base at each bar she worked for, and [her clientele] followed her wherever she went," Shamrock said.