Grandma who ran NY family drug ring gets 15 years

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A woman who enlisted generations of family members in a drug-dealing operation she ran for more than a decade was sentenced Tuesday to 15 1/2 years in prison.

Theresa Anderson, a grandmother in her 50s, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.

In U.S. District Court, she choked up as her attorney read a letter she wrote to Judge Richard Arcara in which she described being "consumed by addiction."

"I have been using drugs since I was 14 years old," the letter said. "My poor choices were a way for me to finance my own addiction."

Prosecutors said Anderson, of Buffalo, oversaw an around-the-clock operation in which crack cocaine was sold from several houses she bought on two streets to ensure a monopoly in the area.

She was arrested in February 2012 along with her common-law husband, son, three adult daughters, two of the daughters' boyfriends and a granddaughter. All have since pleaded guilty to drug charges.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said, "This defendant not only destroyed her own family by leading them into a life of illegal narcotics trafficking, she also damaged the neighborhood where the drug trafficking took place."

The government has seized more than $50,000 and nine houses used by the organization, Hochul's office said.

In sentencing papers, defense attorney Robert Ross Fogg said Anderson was addicted to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and prescription drugs while running her business. He said drugs and drug contacts became more available each time she participated in drug counseling, and he blamed her addiction for a criminal record dating to 1975.

Anderson told the judge she's "not a bad person."

"I have a good heart," she wrote in her letter.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • The Principal's Office
    Somebody's in trouble - lawmakers have to face the State Supreme Court for a lack of action

  • Get Out of Jail Free?
    Why Seattle firefighters won't face felony charges in alleged homeless beating
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.