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CHEEKTOWAGA RAID NETS 3 ARRESTS ON DRUG CHARGES RESIDENCE IS KNOWN AS 'HANGOUT FOR KIDS'

A Cheektowaga residence known as a hangout for youths was raided Friday night by police, who arrested the couple who lives there and a visitor.

Officers Don Strozyk and Thomas Gill investigated neighbors' complaints about drug activity at 7 Lemans Drive.

"It's been a focal point of police attention. It's a hangout for kids," Lt. James Starr explained.

When police arrived about 9 p.m., "there was marijuana being used in plain view, and it was used in plain view of several children," Starr said.

Police confiscated about 2 1/2 ounces of suspected marijuana, with an estimated street value of $400, as well as several pipes and other drug paraphernalia, the lieutenant said.

Police identified the couple as Michael P. Wentland, 19, and his wife, Denise L. Wentland, 32. Living in the house were their three girls, ages 2, 9 and 12. Also present were two 15-year-old boys and a Williamsville man, police said.

The Wentlands each were charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child, as well as criminal possession of marijuana.

Frank Battista, 28, of Millbrook Drive in Williamsville, was charged with a violation count of unlawful possession of marijuana. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Police said that until Friday, the Wentlands also had custody of two foster children, a 7-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy. Those children were removed by state authorities before the raid, Starr said, but the reason for their removal was unknown.

The Wentlands were being held in the town lockup, pending arraignment this morning. Their children were being cared for by a relative, police said.

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