Heavily armed teams of state and local police, along with federal drug agents swarmed through the Cataract City Sunday night attacking what Falls narcotics cops called neighborhood drug dealers.

At press time, SWAT teams from the New York State Police, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department and Niagara Falls Police had executed search warrants at three South End homes and were on their way to four additional locations.

Officers had a 14-year-old boy and an adult male in custody and had seized quantities of crack and powdered cocaine, marijuana, as well as Hydrocodone tablets.

“They (street level drug dealers) think they’re controlling the streets,” Falls Police Narcotics Division Capt. Morris Shamrock said. “But they’re not.”

Shamrock said the carefully coordinated raids were designed to send a message.

“We’re targeting neighborhood problems that have reached the point where they were getting out of control,” Shamrock said. “The idea is to bring some semblance of order to these neighborhoods. We had to get (the dealers) attention.”

When a sheriff’s department SWAT team hit a home at 709 Townsend Ave., even veteran investigators were surprised by what they found. In addition to high tech surveillance cameras on the outside of the home, inside was a 14-year-old boy, apparently handling the drug sales at that location.

Investigators said they seized a quarter ounce of crack cocaine, a small quantity of marijuana and $225 from the young teen.

“I mean (the teenager) is in there with a scale and a razor (to weigh, cut and package the crack) and he’s not watching TV, he’s watching two (surveillance) monitors,” Shamrock said. “When we asked him where he got the money from, he said he sold newspapers.”

The narcotics chief said the boy will face drug charges as a juvenile. Able to see the SWAT team as it hit the door of the home, investigators said they found the 14-year-old lying spread-eagled on a bed in a position of surrender.

“You never get over seeing someone that young doing this,” Shamrock said. “No parent wants to see that. You wonder where they’re going.”

At a home at 442 Seventh St. police arrested Wilbert Henderson, after they found a quantity of prescription pain pills inside his apartment. The house was the scene of a homicide in January, in what detectives called a dispute over crack.

A State Police SWAT team hit a home at 2053 Tennessee Ave., but found the target of their search warrant was nowhere to be found. Still, investigators did find four ounces of powdered and crack cocaine.

Shamrock said the close proximity of the South End locations necessitated the simultaneous raids. Teams were on their way to three Cleveland Avenue homes and a 20th Street location following the first round of raids.

“That whole area around 19th and 20th streets has gone crazy,” Shamrock said, “but we’re attacking it.”

The narcotics chief said local police received invaluable support from State Police Major Chris Cummings and Niagara County Sheriff Tom Beilein in coordinating the sweep.

Contact reporter Rick Pfeifferat 282-2311, ext. 2252.

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