NIAGARA FALLS – City narcotics detectives gave a Valentine’s Day present Thursday to three neighborhoods that have weathered drug dealing.
Police said they raided three houses in succession after complaints about drug dealing and drug use at those addresses. They did not find drugs at one of the addresses, though that home was condemned.
Narcotics investigators, along with the department’s Emergency Response Team, forcibly entered and served warrants between 1 and 5 p.m. at 519 Memorial Parkway, 2264 Falls St. and 1361 Ashland Ave.
“Sometimes you need to send a message,” said Narcotics Detective Lt. Theodore Weed. “Just because they are running a small operation doesn’t mean it’s not going to be addressed. When people complain, we are going to address the problem.”
Officers seized nearly an ounce of crack cocaine and a loaded .357 Magnum on Memorial Parkway, police said, and charged residents Frank M. Thomas, 32, and his wife, Pamela A. Litzsey-Thomas, 39, with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Frank Thomas also was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Narcotics Detective Jay Reynolds said he and his partner, Detective Joseph Giaquinto, had been investigating the house since November and seized 22 grams of crack cocaine that the couple allegedly planned to sell out of the home.
On Falls Street, investigators said, officers found a small marijuana growing operation and seized two marijuana plants. Samantha L. Pelton, 23, was charged with violating public health laws for growing cannabis. The investigation was conducted by Detectives Thomas Rodriguez and Joseph Palermo.
In the third case, Weed said, police received complaints for months about the Ashland Avenue house. Although no drugs were seized, several people were charged with obstruction and loitering, and suspected stolen property was seized. City inspectors were called, and condemned the house.
“What the guy was doing was letting people set up in there. It had crazy traffic,” Weed said. “The dealers would set up there and sell, and they were smoking crack cocaine.”
Fabian Carter, 43, of 15th Street, and Donald Harper, 50, of 21st Street, were each charged with loitering. Carter also was found with suspected stolen items and additional charges may be filed, Rodriguez said.
Donald Lewis, 44, and Lysander Scott, 28, both of LaSalle Avenue, were charged with obstruction of governmental administration.
Rodriguez said the investigation into activities at the house, which started in August, continues.
City Building Inspector Patrick Ciccarelli called conditions at the house “very unsanitary." He said “sewage was backed up in the basement. There were serious electrical issues downstairs, and no smoke detectors, no carbon monoxide testers,” he said. Ciccarelli said the house was temporarily condemned until the violations are fixed. He said, residents are allowed to go inside to remove property.