By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — Falls police narcotics detectives, doggedly following the trail of a single drug dealer, ended up with three men in custody after a series of Friday night arrests.
Investigators said a raid from a week earlier, on Good Friday, was the starting point of their investigation.
“This began with a raid of an apartment in the 500 block of Ferry Avenue," Narcotics Division Capt. Dave LeGault said. "It was a nuisance apartment, where people were smoking crack and doing heroin, but there was a suspect (dealer) we were targeting and he wasn't there at that time."
Detectives were looking for Barry Frain, a previously convicted drug dealer, paroled from prison just three weeks earlier.
"He was on our radar almost immediately (after he got out of prison)," LeGault said. "He was very active right away. He was selling crack, marijuana, heroin, anything he could get his hands on. So the detectives were tracking him all week."
By Friday, investigators had traced Frain to the Hospitality Inn motel in the 6700 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard. The same motel where they had busted a North Tonawanda man selling crack cocaine in mid-March.
"As we were at the motel (on Friday), there were all kinds of people coming and going, when they saw us, on foot," the narcotics captain said. "They'd walk up, turn around and it was like, 'I'm outta here.' It was almost like an open air drug market. It's sad."
Just as members of the Falls Police Emergency Response Team were preparing to hit Frain's motel room, their prime suspect bolted away in a car, trying to disguise his identity as he passed uncover officers.
With help from Patrol Division officers, detectives were able to pull over Frain's car and take him into custody.
Frain appeared to be heading out to make a sale. Officers found him in possession of marijuana, crack and heroin.
Back at the motel, ERT officers hit the door of Frain's room and found another man inside. Investigators found Lawrence Barnes in possession of what was described as a significant amount of crack.
But even then, their work wasn't done. As ERT officers stood outside the motel room and detectives searched inside, a man in a pickup truck rolled up.
"As he pulled in, he saw us and you could see he tried to turn around and get out of there," LeGault said. "But one of the detectives pulled his car in behind (the truck)."
At that point, the driver panicked.
"He rolled down his window and started throwing cocaine and pot out the window," LeGault said. "It was everywhere. It was bad timing on his part."
Detectives arrested the driver, James Mallory, 45, 2926 21st St., on charges of third- and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Barnes, 38, 3518 Ferry Ave., rear, was charged with third- and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Frain, 35, 3538 North Ave., was charged with third-, fifth- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
LeGault said his detectives were aided by Falls City Court Judge Diane Vitello, who made herself available to sign various warrants that were needed during the raid and arrests.