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Lockport crack dealer gambles on 24-year sentence

LOCKPORT – Ernest M. Tate took a big chance Friday in State Supreme Court.

Tate, 35, of Lewis Street, Lockport, was admitted to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment after pleading guilty to two felonies for selling crack cocaine in the City of Lockport.

Since Tate is a repeat felon, he could be sentenced to as long as 24 years in prison – 12 years on each count of third-degree sale – if he fails in the treatment program. The screeners for the diversion program ruled Tate inappropriate because of his record, but Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., with the consent of the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, overruled them. Tate admitted to two of the seven 2014 drug deals for which he was under indictment. He must repay $400 to the county Drug Task Force.

The stakes aren’t as high for Brandon M. Stickney, 48, of Washburn Street, Lockport, who pleaded guilty before Kloch Friday to fourth-degree sale and also entered diversion. His maximum sentence if he fails would be 5½ years for selling Suboxone to a police informant for $90 on Sept. 11, 2014.