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Cocaine bust nabs 24 Western New Yorkers

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Wednesday announced that 24 people were arrested on narcotics trafficking charges in connection with drug distribution networks in Erie, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Genesee counties.


Two indictments are the result of an investigation known as “Operation Babcock,” run by Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force and the New York State Police’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team unit. Babcock is the nickname of a neighborhood in South Buffalo where much of the investigation took place.


Schneiderman’s office is prosecuting the 24 who participated in two separate cocaine distribution networks centered in and around the Buffalo area. During the investigation, several kilograms of cocaine, and approximately $58,500 in cash were seized.


“Operation Babcock has led to the arrests of dozens of individuals who infiltrated the streets of Western New York with large quantities of illegal drugs,” said Schneiderman. “With our partners in law enforcement, we will continue to crackdown on these drug networks to rid our neighborhoods from the infestation of these dangerous narcotics.”


The year-long undercover investigation revealed Richard Himbury, of Tonawanda, as one of the alleged major suppliers in the Buffalo area. Another defendant, Laurie Kozakowski, has been a toll collector, employed by the New York State Thruway Authority, for the past 10 years.


It is alleged that Kozakowski bought large amounts of cocaine from suppliers in South Buffalo and took it to Batavia where she re-sold the drugs.


The first indictment is 95 counts and charges 22 defendants with conspiracy, as well as criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance. The second indictment charges three defendants with conspiracy, criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance.