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Tonawanda Indian Reservation

July 7, 2015 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, Alabama.

There's nothing in the circumstances surrounding the death of a 54-year-old Cheektowaga resident, whose body was found in a car at a location on Bloomingdale Road, July 4, to suggest foul play, said Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Pending the results of a toxicology from the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, which will likely take months to complete, investigators suspect the death of Jennifer L. Pinsof was a suicide, Brewster said.

There is evidence to suggest she took a quantity of prescription pills that caused her death. It's possible, said Brewster, her two dogs died from ingesting the same medication.

Pinsof was seen in a surveillance video parking her car at a business on Bloomingdale Road about 1:30 p.m., July 3, and reaching into the back seat and grabbing something, Brewster said. The Sheriff's Office received a call about her being in the car, unresponsive, about 6 p.m., July 4. The car had not moved during that time.

At the time of her death, Brewster said, police in Cheektowaga were looking for her to question her about a fire at her residence July 3.

Because available evidence points to a possible suicide, completing the toxicology will be a lower priority for the crime lab in Rochester, Brewster said, which is one reason it will take so long to get back results.

The investigation remains pending while authorities await those results.

July 5, 2015 - 6:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A woman and her two dogs were found dead yesterday afternoon in a car on Bloomingdale Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating, but did not release information indicating any possible cause of death.

The victim is Jennifer L. Pinsof, 54, of Cheektowaga.

There's no information available on how long she might have been dead before her body was found.

The investigation is being conducted by deputies Kevin McCarthy and Chad Minuto, and Investigator Tim Weis with the asstance of Trooper James Baines and Coroner Karen Lang.

April 17, 2014 - 6:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Dozens of law enforcement officers were on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation for about four hours this afternoon to help keep the peace while two factions of the same family tried to resolve an ownership dispute over Arrowhawk Smoke Shop.

Tom Peters (top photo), who said he's been managing the business recently for his family, said members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office showed up this morning with a court order giving his niece, Corrine Thomas, control of the property.

The order was signed by Judge Robert C. Noonan, Peters said, but Peters said Noonan had no jurisdiction of the land of his nation.

This is reservation land and any court order from any judge is not valid out here," Peters said. "He has no right to be here. He doesn't have jurisdiction here."

There's a bit of a contradiction over how the dispute was resolved for the time being today. Peters said a higher court issued a stay of Noonan's order, but Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said he was unaware of any such order. He said the Tonawanda chiefs brokered a deal to take control of the property until the issue can be resolved.

There were about 10 members of the Sheriff's Office on scene and more than two dozen troopers, including at least two K-9 units, which arrived to provide back up.

Asked if this was a typical response, Dibble said, "Is this typical? This isn't a typical situation. I've never seen a situation like this in my 38 years, so I wouldn't call it typical. I don't know that there is such a thing as a typical police response. We respond and do what we have to do for the safety of the people, and I think we were successful. Nobody got hurt."

Dibble and about 10 members of the Sheriff's Office delivered the court order from Noonan this morning about 7:30. According to Dibble, the order gave Thomas the right to inventory the property and its contents.

Peters said he was evicted from his apartment above the restaurant on the property. 

The dispute is about three years old, Peters said, going back to the death of his brother. His brother left a will and Peters said there are provisions in the law that contradict tribal law. He said it gave away property that belongs to the Tonawanda nation.

It's unclear at what point Thomas became the estate's executor, but it was apparently because she has been named executor that she was there this morning.

Once the order was delivered, the Sheriff's personnel left the reservation, then early this afternoon there was a small fire at the location and Dibble said there were "threats made."

That brought deputies back to the scene and a host of troopers to provide back-up.

Dozens of residents of the nation mingled in the surrounding area, along with some customers of the nearby smoke shops and gas stations, and watched as a group of chiefs and others sat on chairs and talked outside the Arrowhawk.

At around 4 p.m., Thomas and her supporters -- Peters called them "warriors" and "mercenaries" hired by Thomas -- left.

Dibble and Peters may not agree how the settlement came about, but they both agree the matter is now in the hands of the chiefs. Peters said he believes federal courts will overturn Noonan's order.  In the meantime, it's unclear if the Arrowhawk will reopen before the dispute is resolved.

Dibble said the chiefs will post guards on the property.

January 28, 2014 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, corfu, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Geraldine Horsefall
(photo from NYSP)

A Pembroke grandmother is the focal point of a multi-agency investigation into drug dealing in WNY, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced in Buffalo today.

Geraldine Horsefall is accused of obtaining hydrocodone pills from various individuals -- many of whom were arrested as part of the drug sweep -- and selling them to residents on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and in Erie and Niagara counties.

She's also accused of buying and selling cocaine as part of an organization that moved a large quantity of the narcotic.

The arrests were announced as part of the conclusion of an 18-month investigation called Operation Lockport, which led to 160 combined criminal counts against 25 people. The exact list of charges were not released.

At the press conference today, Schneiderman described Horsefall as a linchpin in the operation who allegedly enlisted the aid of her children and brought her grandchildren along while allegedly selling drugs.

“You know when someone brings small children along with them to make themselves a more effective drug dealer, that’s about as low as you can get," Schneiderman said.

The arrest of Horsefall, 59, and her alleged accomplices were announced along with several other arrests in a second cocaine dealing investigation in Erie and Niagara counties

The other investigation also led to the discovery of bi-monthly cockfights on an Indian reservation in Niagara County.

“Drug trafficking rings like these infect our neighborhoods and tear apart our communities,” Schneiderman said. “Today’s arrests strike a significant blow to the drug trade across Western New York. My office, with our strong collaboration with law enforcement partners, will fight to make our communities safer by rooting out large-scale narcotics trafficking networks.”

Local law enforcement agents from Erie, Niagara and Genesee counties -- along with members of the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, State Police and DEA -- all participated in the investigation, which included undercover operations, GPS tracking devices and hundreds of hours of covert surveillance.

“It is through the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement that these dangerous individuals are now off our streets and out of our communities,” NYSP Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said. “We worked together identifying these dealers, pinpointing their drug activity and shutting down their enterprises.

Other Genesee County residents charged with crimes as a result of the investigation are: Rylyn Horsefall, 33, of Pembroke; Lori Schwab, 33, of Corfu; and Eric Parker, 38, of Pembroke.

Also arrested was 42-year-old Michelle King, of Akron, reportedly a nurse in a doctor's office who allegedly helped supply controlled substances to Horsefall.

Operation Lockport led to the seizure of approximately two kilograms of cocaine and more than $60,000 in cash, officials said.

Members of the alleged narcotics ring would transport cocaine from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to WNY, authorities said.

Investigators believe that the suspects would pack cocaine into the soles and heels of doctored pairs of shoes and then cut up the shoes once in Buffalo. The shoes, along with box cutters, razor blades and utility knives, were allegedly found in a vehicle belonging to Vincent Mundy, of Fort Lauderdale, who was arrested this morning.

DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said Operation Lockport totally dismantled a complete drug-dealing operation.

"Today's arrests have put an end to their drug network, arresting crew members at all levels -- those who sold crack cocaine and cocaine on the streets, to the resellers, to the suppliers who transported the drugs from Florida to Buffalo concealed in soles of shoes," Hunt said. "I commend the dedication and teamwork of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout this investigation."

September 9, 2013 - 8:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A 52-year-old Oakfield resident who was involved in a motorcycle accident on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation on Sunday night was treated and released after being flown by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

Louis M. Biro, of East Shelby Road, was driving a 2011 Honda east on Bloomingdale Road when he allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign at Reuban Road and continued east into the Arrowhawk Smoke Shop parking lot. The Honda continued through the parking lot and struck a dirt embankment and a pile of cut trees.

The accident was reported at 10:14 p.m.

Charges are pending, according to the accident report.

The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

(Initial Report)

August 16, 2013 - 5:59am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A fire is reported in a residence at 380 Council House Road on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from Indian Falls and Oakfield.

UPDATE 6 a.m.: Alabama command puts Indian Falls and Oakfield back in service and orders Alabama to continue in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 6:09 a.m.: Alabama command puts two responding Alabama units back in service.

January 25, 2013 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Oakfield, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Heather M. Ground, 27, of Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, and Casey A. Jonathan, 35, of Skye Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, are charged with harassment, 2nd. Ground and Jonathan allegedly became involved in a dispute during a ceremony at the Longhouse on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Ground allegedly pushed and then punched Jonathan. A few minutes later, Jonathan allegedly punched Ground in the mouth.

Shawn C. Wetmore, 40, of 38 Maple St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. During a fight, Wetmore allegedly kicked a door open, which was close to an infant. He allegedly threw an item at another person. Wetmore was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Carrie Q. Blunt, 20, of 24 Thomas Ave., Batavia, is charged with false personation. Blunt was arrested on a bench warrant during an unrelated investigation.

Keith Joseph Jackson, 18, of Slusser Road, Batavia, is charged with possession/consumption of alcohol under age 21. Also charged, Corey Jarome Mooney, 19, of Lockport Road, Oakfield, and a 17-year-old female resident of State Street, Batavia. The trio was allegedly at an underage drinking party at 12:04 a.m., Saturday, on Orchard Street in Oakfield. The case was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves and Deputy Matthew Fleming.

Devine Raheem Worthy, 28, of Congress Street, Buffalo, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay restitution.

January 6, 2013 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A two-car accident has been reported at 986 Bloomingdale Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, in front of The Rez smoke shop.

One person has a facial injury.

Alabama Fire Department, Mercy EMS responding.

The roadway is blocked.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: All the patients are in the restaurant. There are at least two, maybe three.

UPDATE 1:44 p.m. (Billie): One person suffered a leg injury, possibly a fracture. One patient was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. Not sure of the destination, if any, of others. Alabama went back into service at 1:37 p.m.

November 17, 2012 - 10:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in the area of 590 Council House Road, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Alabama fire is dispatched.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: Chief on scene reports a vehicle on its side.

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: One patient. No word yet on extent of injuries.

October 19, 2012 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, crime, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Charges were dismissed in Federal Court in August against the one person arrested on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation as the result of a raid related to alleged synthetic drug sales at smoke shops.

Tiffany E. Greiner, 22, of Akron, was arrested in July on a single count of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analog intended for human consumption.

Joseph LaTona, her attorney, said this morning that the charges were dismissed because a witness was out of town and not available for a scheduled court appearance. The prosecution didn't want to adjourn the case, so LaTona moved to dismiss the charges and the judge granted the request.

Federal prosecutors still have the option to take the case to a grand jury and seek an indictment.

Barbara Burns, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Western New York, declined comment on the dismissal, but said authorities continue to investigate the case related to the Tonawanda raids. She said authorities continue to seek witnesses or other people with information and encouraged members of the public to come forward with any information they might have related to the alleged sale of synthetic drugs at the reservation.

October 4, 2012 - 11:39am
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A property damage accident is reported on Sand Hill Road, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The driver of the vehicle which reportedly struck the involved property fled northbound in a green Chevy Astro van. But the driver left his or her passenger at the scene.

July 26, 2012 - 6:50pm

An employee of a smoke shop on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation was charged in federal court today for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

Tiffany E. Greiner, 22, of Akron, was arraigned in federal court in Buffalo on a single count of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analog intended for human consumption.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison or a $1 million fine or both.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Greiner was employed as a sales clert at the Sacajawea Smoke Shop in Basom.

The charge stems from a lengthy investigation by the DEA involving sales of synthetic marijuana and bath salts that resulted in numerous search warrants being served at various shops on the reservation in February.

The criminal complaint alleges that Greiner sold quantities of "Sexy Monkey" and "Alien Incense."

The substances are allegedly analogs to controlled substances and the government is accusing Greiner of knowingly selling the products for human consumption to undercover agents.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation.

April 12, 2012 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, kathy hochul.

When there is an emergency call on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department never shirks its duty -- the volunteers suit up, jump on their trucks and head out to whatever emergency is toned out.

Even though, for a number of years, there's been no money coming in to support the department from residents of the reservation.

For years, the department has lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs for some reimbursement of its expenses -- something not uncommon across the nation, and even in Western New York.

Today, Rep. Kathy Hochul announced that after some efforts on the part of her staff, the bureau has agreed to reimburse the department for its calls on the reservation up to $69,000 a year.

"There are a lot of people over there who need our services," said Past Chief Bill Schutt. "This was never about not providing those services, but getting funding for those services. They are part of our town and they're our neighbors. We've never considered not going there."

Hochul announced the agreement during a brief visit with the Alabama firefighters at their fire hall today.

The department has a budget of $180,000, mostly funded by a fire district tax levied against town landowners, but since the reservation is sovereign land, residents there don't pay the tax.

Schutt said exactly how the new pot of money will be allocated in the department hasn't been decided yet, but there's always equipment to replace or repair.

The department has about 50 volunteers, two of whom live on the reservation, according to Schutt.

February 23, 2012 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, crime, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Federal authorities raided four smoke shops on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation this morning, seizing alleged untaxed cigarettes, synthetic marijuana and bath salts, according to U.S. Attorney for Western New York William Hochul.

Authorities are investigating whether the so-called synthetic drugs were being sold for human consumption, Hochul said.

Sale of products such as K2, Spice and bath salts for human consumption is illegal as an analogue to controlled substances.

"There's been reporting throughout the country on how dangerous these substances are," Hochul said. "Obviously, we want to reduce that danger where we can."

"It's 100 percent a public safety issue," Hochul added. "Whether it comes to bath salts or even untaxed cigarettes, you don't know what's in these substances."

At least one of the smoke shops is also under investigation for alleged sale of counterfeit merchandise, Hochul said.

No charges have been filed, Hochul said. This is an ongoing investigation.

The shops raided were The Rez, Arrow Hawk, Sacajawea and Smoke Rings.

Unrelated, there was also apparently a raid (or raids) this morning in the City of Batavia by members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. There is no more information available at this time on this activity.

June 26, 2011 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A car has reportedly struck a pole in the area of 7444 Reuben Road, Basom, the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

The driver is reportedly unconscious.

Pole and wires are down. Emergency responders advised to use caution upon approach.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: Mercy Flight not required. A second ambulance requested to the scene. Two people are injured.

UDPATE 5:14 p.m.: National Grid requested to the scene.

UPDATE 5:26 p.m.: A Mercy medic requests Mercy Flight to the scene. A landing zone is being set up at Ledge and Reuben roads.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: Mercy Flight is on the ground.

UPDATE 5:48 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne, headed to Erie County Medical Center.

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May 23, 2011 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A one-vehicle rollover accident with no injuries has been reported in the area of 986 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

The driver is reportedly out of the vehicle and walking around.

Alabama Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE 7:43 a.m.: An assistant chief on scene reports that "he didn't roll it, he just went off the side of the road." No injuries. Alabama equipment held in the hall.

View Larger Map

March 28, 2011 - 12:20pm


Frank James Davis, 31, of East Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Davis is accused of entering the Totem Pole Smoke Shop at 10:50 a.m., March 3, loading 15 cartons of cigarettes into a basket, then walking past cashiers and then running out of the store without paying for the cigarettes. The cigarettes are valued at $502 and the basket is valued at $10.

Davis is also accused of stealing $204 worth of Winston Lights on the same date from Arrow Hawk Smoke Shop. Davis was charged with petit larceny for that alleged crime.

Jennifer L. Coombs, 27, of 103 West Main St., Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Coombs is accused of slashing three tires on a car in November.

Andrew Paul Dentinger, 20, of Broadway Road, Alexander, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Dentinger is accused of hosting an underage drinking party. Deputies responded to an address on Broadway Road, Alexander, at 12:58 a.m., Saturday to investigate the party.

David A. Burr, 23, of Elba, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Burr is accused of intentionally damaging the front door of T.F. Brown's restaurant at 1:40 a.m., Sunday. Burr was jailed without bail.

Janie B. Burgess, 57, of 7 Maureen Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, unsafe turn. Burgess was stopped at 10:13 p.m., Saturday, on Oak Street by Officer Chris Camp. Burgess was jailed on $500 bail.

Daniel G. Crane, 34, of 9395 Upton Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and inadequate lights. Crane was stopped at 12:52 a.m., Sunday, on Main Street by Officer Dan Coffey.

Mark D. Hoerbelt , 42, of 152 State St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and inadequate headlights. Hoerbelt was stopped at 12:43 a.m., Friday, on West Main Street by Officer Matthew Fleming.

A 16-year-old resident of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. The youth is accused of stealing an iPod in January while at Batavia High School. The youth was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jennifer L. Stack, 25, of 12 Oak St., is accused of failing to pay a fine. Stack was convicted in May on an unnecessary noise charge. She was released on $100 bail but allegedly failed to appear at her next court appointment.

Scott C. Brown, 22, and Ashley M. Yunke, 31, of 11 1/2 Wood St., are charged with criminal nuisance. Brown and Yunke are accused of hosting a party where people under 21 were allowed to drink. They were arrested at 12:20 a.m., Sunday. They were jailed on $500 each bail.

Amanda A. Barclay, 23, of Oakfield, is charged with false report of an incident, 3rd. The alleged incident occurred at 4:27 a.m., March 18, in the City of Batavia. Barclay was arrested by State Police on Thursday. No further details were released.

Jared C. Reese, 31, of Stafford, is charged with controlled substance not in original container and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Reese was stopped by State Police at 6:09 p.m., Thursday, on Route 33, Stafford. No further details were released.

December 23, 2010 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A two-car accident is reported at 385 Bloomingdale Road in front of Jan's Smoke Shop.

There is a minor neck injury reported. The location is between Shanks and Martin roads on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Alabama fire and Mercy BLS are responding.

December 12, 2010 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A 46-year-old woman was taken by Mercy Flight this morning to ECMC after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Council House Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Sherri L. Abrams, a Skye Road resident, was walking eastbound when she was struck by an eastbound car driven by a person who fled the scene at 5:26 a.m.

No vehicle description was released.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

December 5, 2010 - 4:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, fire, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

A truck fire has been reported in the area of 271 Council House Road, Basom.

Alabama Fire is responding.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: An Akron firefighter on scene reports the truck is fully involved. He also says the correct address is 7003 Council House Road. An Alabama chief arriving on scene confirms the address.

UPDATE 5:02 p.m.: Alabama chief says units can respond non-emergency. The truck isn't near a building.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: All Alabama units are clear.

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