BUFFALO, N.Y. – "Our work has shut down a major heroin pipeline between the Bronx and Buffalo."
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called it the largest heroin bust in Buffalo's history – ending Wednesday morning after an 11-month investigation.
"These people were selling drugs that I'm sure traveled all around Western New York. It is a critical blow to drug operations in this part of the state," Schneiderman said.
In what police are calling Operation Horse Trail, state and local police arrested 15 drug dealers across the state, including eight in Buffalo. They're charged with various counts of possession, sale and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. The investigation also uncovered $3.5 million worth of heroin and cash.
Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said the bust kept a lot of drugs of the city’s streets.
“That’s at least, bare minimum, at least 160,000 sales of heroin that could have taken place in the City of Buffalo," Brown said.
State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said investigators were tipped off to a possible ring last summer.
"This investigation began in the Buffalo area. It quickly was traced back to its roots in the New York City area. The heroin trafficking organization moved its products from the Bronx using the New York State Thruway system to communities of Rochester and Buffalo,” D’Amico said.
Investigators said the accused members of the narcotics ring transported the drugs to an apartment in the Delaware district where dealers prepared them for distribution.
Schneiderman added the effects of this bust will be felt on the streets of Buffalo for quite some time.
"One-tenth of a gram of heroin is a dose. There are a lot less drugs running around on our streets,” Schneiderman said.