Sheriff, local government, neighbors: ‘No place for drugs in our community’

[anvplayer video=”5181305″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The arrests of nearly 50 people connected to selling drugs in our area is the culmination of a three-year investigation.

The numbers touted by State Attorney General Letitia James, in town Wednesday, are staggering: 48 arrests, $9 million worth of drugs seized, along with 19 firearms and $400,000. Many say there is no place for drugs in the community.

“It sends a message to other people, ‘Oh, we can’t do the same old, same old,'” John Rouse said.

He lives on Avenue D, where many of the drug houses were connect to this ring. The drug investigation started in Wayne County. Sheriff Robert Milby was surprised to find out how far the drug ring stretched.

The ring was responsible for deadly drugs in just about every single county in the Finger Lakes.

“I’m elated. This will probably be the most significant community impact, drug investigation that this county has ever seen,” Milby said.

He is thankful for the partnership with other law enforcement agencies and the AG’s office for the support in taking down this drug ring.

“To those that are out there that maybe feel they got missed this time. I would caution them. Just because you don’t see us, doesn’t mean we are not there,” Milby said.

Monroe County Legislator Mercedes Vazquez Simmons represents the Northeast Clinton District. She just happened to hold an event Tuesday afternoon to educate drug users and provide tools that can safe their lives.

“The danger of it, right? Being laced. It could be weed and it’s laced into that. You must be cautious of what you are consuming. What you are taking in and some of this packaging that we are seeing, it almost looks like candy,” Vazquez Simmons said.

County Legislator William Burgess represents a district that borders the Northeast Clinton District. He works closely with Vazquez Simmons and stressed the importance of resources for the community.

“There’s Monroe County staff here providing people with free training for individuals that are in crisis,” he said.

A gun violence prevention summit organized by Rochester City Councilmember Willie Lightfoot was held Wednesday at Prayer House Church of God by Faith in Rochester.

State Attorney General Letitia James spoke at the summit about the drug arrests and the substances harming our communities. Lightfoot agrees with the AG and believes we can’t arrest our way out of this situation.

“It can’t just be a one-hit situation where you come show a lot of guns and a lot of drugs on the table – a nice picture on TV and everything. Somebody is going to replace those people tomorrow,” he said.

Many faith leaders also traveled from throughout the state and other cities to be a part of this summit.
Although they are very pleased to see a major drug takedown like this, they are also interested in seeing .

“How do we uplift our community who are going down a path – that we know for sure – they will end up in jail?” Gilford Monrose, faith advisor to New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Neighbors in the Northeast Clinton District say we have to give credit to law enforcement who were persistent in taking down this drug ring to keep our communities safe.

“Many say, ‘The police aren’t doing nothing. They just watching things happening.’ Well they watched it happen for a while so they can get that information and get them all at one time. So, yeah, it’s a good thing,” Rouse said.