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Salamanca traffic stop results in drug charge

SALAMANCA -- A Salamanca woman faces drug charges following a traffic stop in the city early Friday, Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies reported.

April L. Kuhn, 27, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. Deputies said she was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Misty M. Davis, no age or address given, who ran a stop light at Broad and Clinton streets about 2:40 a.m.

Police said Kuhn also had a small quantity of powdered cocaine and a crack pipe.

Deputies said the boy, Peter M. Ryan of Northeast, Pa., was found in good health and reunited with his family.


Autistic boy, 5, found after walking into woods

RIPLEY -- A 5-year-old autistic child who wandered into the woods during a visit here Saturday was found by authorities after a brief search of the area, according to Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies.

The report of a lost child was received at 4:39 p.m. from a residence on the 4000 block of South Ripley Road. Deputies mobilized a search team that included a county K-9 unit, the Chautauqua County Tactical Team, the State Police, and South Ripley and Sherman volunteer firefighters.


3 face charges involving weapons, drugs, van theft

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Three Niagara Falls residents are facing weapons, drugs and vehicle-theft charges after authorities uncovered a marijuana-growing operation in a Drummond Road home Thursday, Niagara Regional police said.

Michal Pabian, 28; Ryan Grant, 21, and Cathy Laurence, 22, are accused of growing 267 marijuana plants inside the house. They were also in possession of a van stolen from The Niagara Square Mall in Niagara Falls on Nov. 30, police said. Three rifles and ammunition were also seized from the house.

The three face charges of production of marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property, three counts each of unlawful possession of a firearm and careless storage of a firearm. Laurence was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The plants seized had an estimated street value of $267,000 (Canadian), police said.


2 charged in robbing woman of medicine

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A man and a woman from southern Ontario were arrested Thursday in connection with a robbery of a woman last month as she left a local drugstore with her medication, Niagara Regional Police said.

Duane J. Parent, 37, of Fort Erie, and Tina D. Noble, 26, of Hamilton, were charged with robbery.

Parent and Noble accosted the victim Dec. 9 outside Brodie's Drug Store on Ridge Road. Noble hit the woman before the two made off with the medication, police said.


Boy, 14, to face court in break-ins at library

ASHVILLE -- A 14-year-old juvenile will be petitioned to Family Court for breaking into the Ashville Free Library last month, Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies said.

The suspect, whose name was not released, is accused of entering the library on three occasions in December to use the computer and remove items from the library, police said.


Clarence woman guilty of health care fraud

A Clarence woman pleaded guilty Friday to one federal count of health care fraud and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn said.

Marina Kats, 44, admitted that between September 2002 and September 2004 she, as a co-owner of All Care Management of Western New York, submitted fraudulent insurance claims to Medicare for services that were either never performed, medically unnecessary or performed by unqualified individuals.

Kats was the co-owner of the business with Robert Stein, who is also known as Mikhail Solovey, no age listed, according to John E. Rogowski, who prosecuted the case.

Stein admitted to the same fraud charge last January in San Francisco, where he was also under indictment for mail fraud. Stein was sentenced to 30 months in prison last month and ordered to pay $794,971 in restitution to the federal government, including $441,138 related to the health care fraud locally.

In all, Medicare paid about $491,138 in false claims into bank accounts controlled by Kats and Stein.

Kats is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. May 11 by U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

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