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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Man arguing with police faces several charges

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 24th Street man was charged with resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child Tuesday after he punched walls, broke furniture and grabbed a 2-year-old girl while arguing with officers, city police said.

Robert L. McClain III, 21, also struggled with officers as he was arrested about 7:40 a.m., police said.

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>Delayed plea entered to driving while impaired

LOCKPORT -- A Lewiston woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Niagara County Court to driving while impaired -- the same plea she entered a year ago and later withdrew, arguing she hadn't been driving the car that collided with another in Wheatfield almost two years ago.

Tammy D. Gertz, 52, of Hewitt Drive, dropped that claim Tuesday as she entered a plea in front of an audience of prospective jurors who were about to begin the selection process for a trial on charges that included vehicular assault.

The other driver in the Feb. 24, 2009, crash belatedly informed prosecutors she had developed health problems as a result of the accident, and after Gertz's first plea was scrubbed on her original sentencing date last April, the case was reindicted with the assault counts added. Gertz had argued her son was actually driving.

Attorneys said Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza agreed to sentence Gertz to three years' probation; she will make it official March 18.

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>Ontario trucker gets prison for drug smuggling

A Brampton, Ont., trucker was sentenced to three years and a month in federal prison after his conviction on international narcotics smuggling and bail jumping charges, U.S. Attorney William H. Hochul Jr. said Tuesday.

Balwant Singh Birk, 42, smuggled about 200 pounds of marijuana into the United States, hiding it in the cab of the tractor-trailer as he drove across the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge on Nov. 17, 2005, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Gillmeister.

Birk was also convicted of failure to appear in court as required to resolve the smuggling case, resulting in an additional six months added to his 31-month sentence.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny imposed the sentence.

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>Bail for man revoked in assault on 4-year-old

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III revoked bail Tuesday for a man who had pleaded guilty to assaulting a 4-year-old girl.

Jeffrey C. Whitmer, 21, of Bell Street, Niagara Falls, had pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to second-degree assault for throwing his girlfriend's daughter head-first into a bedroom nightstand Aug. 13 in the apartment of the girlfriend's mother.

He was freed after the plea, but the next day Whitmer was arrested in Niagara Falls on charges of slamming the girlfriend into a wall, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said.

Whitmer is being held on $100,000 bail on that charge, so Murphy decided to cancel bail on the case involving the girl. Whitmer could receive a prison sentence of up to seven years when he returns to court Feb. 28.

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>Mother, 17, accused of 'bouncing' her babies

SALAMANCA -- A 17-year-old mother was charged with child endangerment after two 6-week-old babies were dropped onto a bed, hard enough to make them bounce, Salamanca police said.

The incident occurred Monday evening in the Zafron House, a state-supervised home for unwed mothers and their children, police said. Both babies were taken to a hospital for precautionary measures, police said.

The mother, police said, attempted to keep staff from entering her bedroom. The suspect was not identified because of her age.

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>Recent drug sweep nets three parole violators

Three suspected Cheektowaga parole violators were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance during a drug sweep last week, Cheektowaga police said Tuesday.

Arrested were Paul Lopez, 56, of Awood Place; Nicholas Kowtun, 27, of Rowley Road; and Byron Barnes, 30, of Beach Road.

Cheektowaga police, along with the Erie County Probation Department, State Parole and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, conducted the townwide sweep of suspected violators last Thursday and visited 28 homes. Hamburg and West Seneca police K-9 units also assisted.

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>Attempt to swipe statue lands man in hot water

A Buffum Street man faces felony criminal mischief, attempted grand larceny and trespass charges after attempting to steal a brass sculpture on Grand Island, state police said.

State police said they interrupted Guzzetta trying to steal the sculpture near Long Road and the former Dunlop building at 2:10 a.m. Saturday. Troopers noted the sculpture had been removed from its base and spotted a pickup nearby, with a saw and brass shavings.

The pickup was traced to Guzzetta, 40, police said.

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