BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – In what is believed to be the largest cocaine raid ever seen in western New York, nearly 1,000 pounds of the narcotic was seized from a trailer truck at a Buffalo rest area, according to an agent US Attorney Trini E. Ross announced several drug offenses on Friday.
Ross announced at a press conference with several other law enforcement officials that Canada resident Ahmed El Kady has been charged with multiple charges of possession with intent to sell after a days-long surveillance of El Kady’s semi-truck ended with officers discovering more than 850 pounds one Substance that tested positive for cocaine.
A total of about 430 kilograms of cocaine were seized in an operation involving law enforcement agencies in both the United States and Canada, according to special agent in charge Matthew Scarpino.
“Clearly, this is a significant quantity of drugs that were intended for distribution in western New York,” Ross said. “Due to the diligent and excellent work of law enforcement and this office, this poison has been intercepted and is not being distributed to our community. This is important to our community as we see an increase in deaths from opioid poisoning.”
According to a criminal complaint shared with the news media, law enforcement began pursuing El Kady on Aug. 7 after he entered the United States from Canada across the border in Detroit, Michigan, in a Frieghtliner cargo truck with no trailer. The truck had an Ontario license plate.
In the days that followed, officers continued to monitor El Kady as he appeared to have several meetings and conversations with other commercial vehicles throughout Michigan and Ohio as he drove west from New York.
In the complaint, the investigating special agent describes three encounters in which El Kadys and another cargo truck were “parked in such a way that, when law enforcement opened the semi-trailer’s doors, it appeared as if they were attempting to conceal their actions from potential onlookers.” .” .” Inspections of all three commercial vehicles that El Kady encountered revealed negative tests for narcotics.
El Kady arrived at a Buffalo rest area on Wednesday and continued to be guarded by officers. On Thursday morning, a white Jeep driven by an alleged accomplice caught up with El Kady, with the driver frequently stopping and “driving evasively, in a manner consistent with individuals conducting countersurveillance.” Officers kept an eye on El Kady’s semi truck, which no one else could access, while El Kady sat in the jeep.
Some time later, El Kady and the Jeep driver returned and officers issued a search warrant for El Kady’s truck, which found about 386 kilograms, or about 850 pounds, of a substance that tested positive for cocaine.
Scarpino said the illegal drugs circulating in the area around the northern border were being smuggled by “transnational criminal organizations operating locally, nationally and internationally”.
“By making this seizure, we have significantly disrupted the day-to-day operations of this criminal organization and choked off a major drug pipeline of illicit drugs into our region,” Scarpino said. “As far as I know, this may be the largest cocaine seizure in western New York, or maybe even the northern border. I haven’t confirmed that yet.”
El Kady is expected to return to court on Monday.
Justin McMullen is from western New York and joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more about his work here.