Four Arrested in Connection with International Drug Ring

Cartel drugs in WNY; Operations end after arrests

Mike Baggerman
April 13, 2018 - 5:42 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard announced the arrests of individuals connected to an international drug ring in Buffalo.

Howard said the arrests resulted in the dismantling of the Buffalo-end of an international drug distribution network which began in Jamaica.

On Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy approached the operator of a vehicle at Eggert and Eldon streets in Buffalo. They believed the operator of the vehicle, 26-year-old Alexander Ruof-Brown, was connected to their drug ring investigation. Ruof tried to run over the police officer and fled on foot.

"Officers from the Buffalo Police Department observed the individual a short time later actually jumping from rooftop to rooftop along Fennimore Street," Howard said. "He continued to flee rooftop to rooftop until he was apprehended."

A search of Ruof-Brown's vehicle discovered a felony amount of cocaine and marijuana. He was arrested and has been remanded without bail at the Erie County Holding Center because he was considered a "menace to society".

As a result of Ruof-Brown's arrest, a search warrant was given and executed at the residence of David Hardware, who was the primary focus on the investigation. Hardware's residence at 131 Harriet Avenue in Buffalo had hundreds of pounds of marijuana and a large amount of cash. Hardware, 53, was arrested and charged with a felony count of criminal possession of marijuana. He is being held on $5,000 bail.

Following the arrest of Ruof-Brown, authorities on Thursday executed a second warrant at 45 Bennet Village Terrace in Buffalo, where Hardware had a second address. Authorities arrested two individuals who were in the United States illegally: 32-year-old Deshawn Whims and 24-year-old Wendy Hall, both from Jamaica. The two illegal residents were charged with criminal possession of marijuana and are awaiting arraignment. 

"This announcement today marks the culmination of efforts with the Erie County Sheriff's Department to keep the streets of Western New York safe," Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations said. 

Kelly said that the marijuana came from Mexico. 

"It's cartel marijuana now in Western New York," Kelly said. "That's pretty significant and that's what HSI's job is. We'll work with our state and local counterparts. We'll push it Mexico and try to expand the conspiracy out of Western New York." 

Officials said Hardware was the local head of the operation. 
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