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Lockport man beats drug charges as witness flees

LOCKPORT – An indictment against a Lockport man accused of selling crack cocaine was dismissed Thursday as the police informant who allegedly bought the drugs apparently has run away.

Eric M. Sobers, 27, of Caledonia Street, went free after Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III granted the dismissal motion. Sobers was charged with selling crack to the informant twice in November 2014 and risked up to 18 years in prison if convicted as charged.

The informant who could not be located to testify was the same one whose absence torpedoed drug charges against Rico L. Freeman of Lockport on Feb. 9. Freeman was indicted for three crack sales to the informant.

In another drug case Thursday before Murphy, Phillip A. Cerrillo, 45, of Fredericka Street, North Tonawanda, pleaded guilty to seventh-degree drug possession for selling Suboxone strips at his home Sept. 25. He risks up to a year in jail when Murphy sentences him April 7. Cerrillo must repay $120 to the county Drug Task Force.