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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service And City Of Buffalo Team Up In Historic Demolition Of Drug Houses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that six drug houses used by the Anderson family drug trafficking organization are being demolished following a historic agreement reached between the City of Buffalo and the U.S. Marshals Service. The houses were forfeited as a result of the Office’s prosecution of the Anderson organization. All members of the organization have been convicted, with Theresa Anderson receiving a sentence of 188 months in prison. 

U.S. Attorney Hochul was joined by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, United States Marshal Charles Salina, NYS Police Captain Steven Nigrelli, Drug Enforcement Administration Resident Agent in Charge John Flickinger and Deputy Buffalo Police Commissioner Kim Beatty as the wrecking ball began to tear down these neighborhood eyesores. 

 “Drug dealing in houses such as this has the potential to cause physical, psychological and emotional harm to an entire neighborhood,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “By removing this blight, law enforcement and the City send a strong message that Buffalo continues to make positive progress, while restoring confidence to those who call this community home. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make Buffalo and its neighborhoods safer and healthier places to live.”

"This is what it’s really about when we take something and then turn it back over to the community and revitalize a neighborhood,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “Today’s demolition is the first of six demolitions of forfeited properties from the Theresa Anderson drug prosecution and marks the end of a long chapter. This was a team effort to make our city even better and it worked. The partnership between the City of Buffalo, the United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service has proven to be a significant tool in strengthening the quality of life in our community and fighting crime, contributing to the over 25% drop in overall crime in Buffalo since 2005.”
From approximately 2005 to 2012, the Anderson drug trafficking organization controlled drug sales in a multi-block neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo, including Swinburne and Deshler Streets. The organization employed family members to sell crack cocaine on a daily basis, and engaged in violence in order to monopolize narcotics sales in the area.  Organization members also purchased several homes in the area which were used for selling and storing the illegal narcotics.

As part of the prosecution, over $50,000 in U.S. Currency was seized and eight drug houses were forfeited. Two of the houses were destroyed by fire. The remaining six properties will be demolished by the City of Buffalo working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service.  The demolitions will be paid for by funding from the federal asset forfeiture program. These funds include the illegal proceeds of criminal activity.

Hochul further stated “The work that begins today is the largest and most wide ranging demolition of forfeited drug houses that has occurred to date in the United States. “By using forfeiture funds to pay for the demolition, we are not only taking the profit out of criminal activity, we are using the money of criminals to pay for improving the neighborhood by removing visible reminders of their past crimes.”

 The six properties being demolished are:

• 41 Deschler
• 54 Deschler
• 19 Swinburne
• 26 Empire
• 39 Empire
• 214 Hutchinson
Two other drug houses, 31 and 74 Deshler Street, burned down earlier this year.

Theresa Anderson was arrested in February 2012 along with eight others: Steven Butler; Dion Anderson; Melvin Calhoun; Anquensha Hodge, a/k/a Anne Anderson; Wymiko Anderson, a/k/a Red; Toshia Hodge, a/k/a Toshia Anderson; Tajia Anderson, a/k/a Porkchop; and Leo Mellerson; all of Buffalo. Five of these defendants are either children or grandchildren of Anderson. A sixth defendant is Anderson's husband and the two others are boyfriends of Andersons' daughters. All nine have been convicted and sentenced.

Updated August 26, 2015