A Pembroke grandmother portrayed by state officials as a leader of a significant drug ring that sold cocaine and pills in a three-county area, including Genesee County, entered guilty pleas to two felony counts in a Buffalo court today.
Geraldine Horsefall faces a possible seven year jail sentence after admitting to criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.
Another person arrested as part of the months-long, multi-agency law enforcement investigation, Michelle King, entered a guilty plea to criminal sale of a controlled substance, 4th. She is facing a possible judicial diversion sentence.
The historic run by the Pembroke Girls Basketball Team came to an end just one victory shy of their goal…to win the first sectional championship in school history.
The Lady Dragons were out-muscled all night long, as they fell to Lyons, 50-36, in the Class C2 championship game.
It became apparent very early in the contest that Lyons would have the upper hand on the glass, as they out-rebounded Pembroke 30 to 9 in the first half, with 17 of them coming on the offensive boards.
“We knew that rebounding was going to be the key,” said Pembroke Head Coach Mike Wilson. “We planned for it. We tried to take some of their bigger kids out of it, but we weren’t able to do that. They just out-rebounded us.”
Despite the massive advantage on the boards, the Lady Dragons kept things close, trailing by just three at halftime after a pair of back-to-back three-pointers from Breanna Johnson to end the second quarter.
Pembroke got off to a strong start coming out of halftime as senior Chance Alexyn scored four quick points, but things quickly slid down hill.
Lyons would hold Pembroke to one point in the final 7:07 of the third quarter as they used a 12-1, to pull away for good, as turnovers doomed the Dragons.
“We’ve been turning the ball over 15 times or less per game for the last month,” Wilson said. “But we probably had 15 in that quarter. We were sloppy with the basketball. We gave them too many second-chance opportunities.”
Tournament MVP Abbie Shields dominated all night for the Lions, as she scored 17 points, grabbed 23 rebounds (12 offensive), and three blocks.
Meanwhile, Pembroke star Breanna Johnson struggled to find her shot throughout the match.
The senior class valedictorian managed just three points in the second half and was held without a field goal.
“We didn’t make enough baskets,” Wilson said. “We just didn’t finish. We’ve been finishing shots; we’ve been playing well down the stretch. Unfortunately we came up short.”
Despite the loss, the Dragons had one of their most successful seasons in school history and perhaps the best player to play in the program has played her final game.
Johnson finished with 11 points and four assists in her final high school game and her performance was good enough to earn her all-tournament team honors alongside her sister, Aralyse, and Alexyn.
“All of my seniors are very special to me,” Wilson said. “Bre and I definitely have a special connection. We’ve spent a lot of time developing her game. She has been nothing but dedicated to what we have wanted to do.”
Alexyn had a solid outing in her last game, scoring 10 points, pulling down four rebounds and three steals for Pembroke (15-6).
Lyons out-rebounded the Dragons 54-21 for the game, with 28 of those coming on the offensive boards.
Taniqua Johnson was also named to the all-tournament team for Lyons, as she scored a game-high 18 points and added 15 rebounds.
Fire police are shutting down all westbound traffic on Route 5 at Lake Road to accommodate emergency traffic following a structure fire in the 5000 block of Main Road, Pembroke. It was a fire in an apartment over a garage which is now out. A code enforcement officer is requested to the scene. East Pembroke and Pembroke fire are among the responders.
UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: Corfu Fire Chief Brian Schollard told Alecia Kaus at the scene that when firefighters arrived they saw smoke and flames coming from a second-story window above the garage. The structure is a single-family home with two separate sides, above a garage. Two people were inside at the time, a mother and her son. One was watching TV and the other was sleeping. They were able to exit the building safely. The fire started in a bedroom closet. The right side is uninhabitable. The power is off and if it can be restored, the occupants plan to stay in the left side. But that remains unknown at this point. Route 5 was closed for a couple of hours and seven fire departments responded to the scene -- Corfu, Pembroke, East Pembroke, Indian Falls, Alabama, Darien, as well as Akron. A Crittenden crew stood by in their quarters.
It has been a long time since Pembroke was a factor in Section V girls basketball.
The Lady Dragons can now say that they are, as they punched their ticket to the Class C2 finals for the first time since 1987 after defeating Clyde-Savannah, 45-39.
“We’ve put in a lot of time these last four years,” said Pembroke Head Coach Mike Wilson. “We’ve spent a lot of long hours in the gym. For a group of kids to step up and play the way they are playing right now is extremely special.”
One of the biggest reasons for Pembroke’s success is senior Breanna Johnson, the school’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Johnson came out fast, scoring 16 of the Lady Dragons’ 23 points in the first half for a seven-point lead at the break.
However, Clyde-Savannah threw a wrench into the plan, as they switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone in the second half, causing Pembroke to go cold in the third quarter.
Pembroke would only manage to connect on one shot from the field in the frame, and the Lady Eagles would hold Johnson without a point in the third.
“We didn’t really move the ball as much as we should have,” Johnson said. “We weren’t cutting and we weren’t getting to the basket.”
While Johnson was unable to get anything going, Clyde-Savannah was taking it to the Dragons on the glass, out-rebounding them 38-25 for the game.
In particular, Ally Fenton had a monster game for the Lady Eagles taking advantage of Pembroke’s 2-3 zone, scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds (six offensive).
“We wanted to keep our girls out of foul trouble,” Wilson said. “We tend to play too aggressive in man-to-man and zone preserves our players.”
Leading just 27-24 going into the fourth quarter, Johnson came back to life. She made her first basket of the second half with on a three-pointer with just 1:58 left in the game.
In total, she scored 12 points in the last frame, racking up nine from the foul line to guarantee the victory.
“To have a kid like [her] play as well as she is,” continued Wilson. “Mel Taylor and Kelsey Bezon get a lot of press in the league, and they deserve it, but tonight Breanna Johnson showed that she deserves to be in the conversation. She does everything she can to help the team.”
Clyde-Savannah (12-6) was unable to answer the call, and the Lady Dragons escaped with the win.
Pembroke (15-5) already garnered their first sectional win since 2007, and now they return to the sectional finals for the first time in 27 years. The school has never won a sectional championship in girls basketball.
The Lady Dragons will take on top-seeded Lyons on Saturday at Rush-Henrietta High School. Tip-off will be 5 p.m.
Sectional play is under way and it is now win or go home for local area high school teams.
Alexander got off to a strong start, defeating Marion 59 to 27 in the first round of the Class C2 bracket.
The sixth-seeded Trojans overwhelmed 11th-seeded Marion, who only brought five players to the contest.
“We prepared for a few more players,” said Alexander Head Coach Josh Bender. “Before the game started we found out that they were shorthanded, but it was business as usual for us. We brought the right intensity from the start and it was a good overall team victory.”
The Black Knights kept things within striking distance until midway through the second quarter as Alexander was just too much and too deep.
They took a 33-14 lead into halftime and never looked back, extending that lead to 25 at the end of the third quarter before the starters exited for the final time.
Seniors Johnny George and Zach Laird had strong nights in the last home games of their careers, scoring 12 points apiece. Another senior, Zach Dunbar pitched in nine points.
Preston Crego scored a game-high 14 points for Marion (4-15).
Alexander (12-7) will travel to third-seeded Cuba-Rushford on Friday evening in hopes to advance to the Class C2 semifinals.
The Rebels are 15-2 on the season and boast two star guards.
Carl Holmes is averaging 24 points per game on the season, while Caleb Edwards is averaging 20 points per game and both are lethal beyond the three-point arc. In their last contest, Cuba-Rushford made 17 three-point field goals as a team.
“They’re a tough team,” Bender said. “They run and gun; they look to shoot the three. It should be a good battle. They’re a good offensive team and I consider us one of the best defensive teams in the G-R League. It should be a good matchup for us.”
Is this your cat? Lori Vosburgh is trying to help find the feline's rightful owner. Here's what she says about it:
Jacob Bukowski was driving on the Thruway Jan. 31st, when he saw this cat laying down in the median between the Pembroke and Depew exits on the Thruway, right before the South Newstead RD overpass and 4 miles east of the Clarence Travel Plaza (Tim Horton's service area).
She was thin, cold, hungry and the hair around her neck was matted. He took her home and then to the vet the next morning. She is a young female, not micro-chipped, declawed and spayed. Instead of leaving the hair matted they shaved a little of it off. She was clearly an indoor cat and very friendly. She smelled like a farm and for obvious reasons was very dirty.
We think she may have been outside for at least a month, as another woman tried to rescue her the first of January but was unable to due to safety concerns with traffic. She reported it with the police but they must not have been able to rescue her.
She's a beautiful sweet cat and I'd like nothing more than to find her owners, or someone that would be willing to take her in. It's amazing that she made it through the bitter temperatures and snowy conditions!
If it's your cat or you can help find the owner, call Brittany at (585) 297-0297.
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."
An estimated 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and every 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.
Tonight Pembroke High School took a big step in helping to find a cure with its third annual Shoot for a Cure game against Oakfield-Alabama.
No admission was charged all evening, while all concession sales and donations were directly given to the Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
Not only were the gymnasium and hallways decked out in pink, but so were the Pembroke players, who wore all pink uniforms in honor of breast cancer awareness. They even played with a pink basketball.
Pembroke Head Coach Michael Wilson spearheaded the event after Athletic Director Ron Funke’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. A few players suggested a “pink game” and it took off from there. Most importantly, several women in the Pembroke community and school district were honored at halftime for surviving their fight with the disease.
Between the junior varsity and varsity contests, several people even donated their hair for “Bald for Bucks.” The Buffalo Bisons also displayed their support as mascot Buster T. Bison attended the contest.
“These kids have been all over Rochester, Buffalo and Batavia promoting this event and collecting donations,” Wilson said. “I’ve got an incredibly compassionate group of kids and they love it. You could see that in the way they played tonight. They were definitely shooting for a cure.”
The Lady Dragons certainly played with a purpose, as they routed Oakfield-Alabama 52-18.
Pembroke pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back as they outscored the Hornets 14-1 in the frame.
Rylee Moser led the way, scoring a game-high 13 points, while Aralyse Johnson scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Breanna Johnson chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals for Pembroke (10-3).
“Getting a win on the court means a lot, but tonight was about recognizing women in the district who are currently battling breast cancer or who have won their battle or those that we have lost,” Wilson said. “It’s more about these kids coming together, showing that they’re civic-minded and showing that they are compassionate.”
In total, the night yielded nearly $10,000 that will be donated directly to Roswell by the entire Pembroke girl’s basketball team.
Photos by Howard Owens.
Sherie Grande was among the local breast cancer survivors who received a rose from a Pembroke player at half time.