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POLICE & COURTS

Plea of guilty entered in magnesium smuggling

An Orchard Park man pleaded guilty Monday before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to conspiracy to smuggle magnesium into the United States through the use of false and fraudulent invoices.

William Nehill, 62, faces a a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, when he is sentenced July 13.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, who handled the case, said Nehill was an importer of specialty metals. In early 2003, Nehill, through his company, International Technology Group Inc., entered into an agreement with Superior Metal Powders to import magnesium powder from the People's Republic of China.

At the time of the agreement, the United States had a 305.56 percent antidumping duty in place regarding the type of magnesium powder Nehill was importing. In order to avoid the duty, the magnesium was falsely labeled as magnesium reagent. By doing so, the duty imposed on the shipment was only 5 percent. The mislabeling resulted in a $6 million duty loss to the United States.

Nehill and others were charged in April 2010 with participating in a conspiracy to import Chinese magnesium into the United States.

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Marijuana conviction brings probation term

A Buffalo man convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana was sentenced Monday to three years' probation by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Miguel Guzman, 27, conspired with Derek Frank in his drug-trafficking activities, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who handled the case.

Guzman helped ship packages containing marijuana via the U.S. Postal Service from Phoenix and helped receive those packages at various residences in Buffalo, Baumgarten said.

Frank pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and money laundering conspiracy Feb. 17. He faces up to 60 years in prison and a $5.5 million fine when sentenced in June.

Others also were involved in the conspiracy, including former Transportation Safety Administration employee Minnetta Walker, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison; Regina McCullen, a former City of Buffalo employee, who was sentenced to probation; and Tinisha Tucker-Anthony, a former U.S. Airways employee, who is scheduled to be sentenced April 10.

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Shooting victim remains in serious condition

A Buffalo man remained in serious condition late Monday in Erie County Medical Center after being shot near Jefferson Avenue and East Ferry Street early Sunday.

Raymond Jeffrey told Buffalo police he was walking out of a store when he was shot at about 3:50 a.m.

Jeffrey was struck once by a .22-caliber bullet that hit him in the right arm, then entered the right side of his chest, police said.

Jeffrey told police he did not know the man who shot him.

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Shots fired at car; no injuries reported

Shots were fired at a car as it drove up to a Jefferson Avenue bar early Sunday, police said. No injuries were reported.

A Stanton Avenue man told police he was driving up to Mike's Lounge on Jefferson Avenue at about 4 a.m. to pick up a friend, when someone walked from the west side of the street and fired seven or eight gunshots.

Three of the shots struck the driver's side of the car as the man was driving away, police said.

The man said he did not recognize the shooter.

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Two brothers arrested in salvage yard break-in

Two brothers were arrested during a break-in at Mark's Auto Salvage Yard on William Street early Monday, following a combined surveillance operation by Cheektowaga and Norfolk Southern officers because of a series of thefts of car parts at the salvage yard.

Joshua France, 27, of Eagan Drive, Lackawanna, tried to flee when confronted by police after he and his brother, Andrew France, 26, of Indian Church Road, West Seneca, were observed trespassing on nearby railroad property and climbing over a fence onto the salvage business at about 12:20 a.m., Cheektowaga police said.

Both brothers were carrying bags containing numerous tools, including saws and flashlights, police said.

The brothers were each charged with criminal trespassing, trespassing on railroad property and possession of burglars tools. Joshua France was also charged with resisting arrest.

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34 arrested upstate in sweep of illegal immigrants

Federal immigration officials said Monday that agents arrested 34 people in upstate New York as part of a nationwide sweep of illegal immigrants, many of whom had criminal records.

Across the country, more than 3,100 immigrants were arrested as part of a six-day effort.

Of those arrested in New York, 11 had been convicted of felonies and 12 had misdemeanor convictions. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said 13 people picked up were fugitives who'd been ordered to leave the country but never did.