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Cocaine supplier draws prison term as pizzeria drug ring is wrapped up

The curtain came down on the saga of a Niagara Falls cocaine ring Friday, with a man the prosecutor said was one of three main suppliers to the operation sentenced to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

John Pietrangelo, 42, of Niagara Falls, Ont., was one of 49 defendants who pleaded guilty in the wake of the November 2004 break-up of the Mister Sepe's Pizza ring, based in the Main Street pizzeria.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza deleted from the presentencing report allegations by the state attorney general's Organized Crime Task Force that defense attorney Mark Mahoney said were not what Pietrangelo pleaded guilty to. Mahoney was trying to help Pietrangelo's chances for parole.

Mahoney also won Sperrazza's consent to seek to have his client transferred to a Canadian prison, which also needs approval of the state Department of Correctional Services and the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Pietrangelo could have received a nine-year sentence for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, but Assistant Attorney General Patricia I. Carrington said of the five-year term, "I think it's appropriate."

Also sentenced Friday was a minor player in the ring, Sheri L. Kilmer, 27, of 23rd Street, Niagara Falls. She drew four months of weekends in jail, five years' probation and a $1,000 fine for fourth-degree conspiracy.

In other drug cases Friday, Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. ordered an 18-month prison term for Neil J. Christ, 26, of Berkshire Avenue, Buffalo, who pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance -- crack cocaine, sold to undercover police in Niagara Falls May 6.

Kylan Mason, 27, of Burtonsville, Md., pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of marijuana for trying to smuggle 1.9 pounds of the drug over the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge from Canada in his vehicle April 11. Sperrazza scheduled sentencing May 23.

Lawrence E. Smith Jr., 17, of Dudley Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree cocaine possession. Police said they found 1.2 grams of crack in his pocket after he was grazed in the head by a shot fired in a 13th Street home Oct. 24.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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