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Buffalo narcotics detectives arrested four men on drug charges Thursday after confiscating more than 50 pounds of marijuana following a tip.

Officers from the narcotics Squad received a telephone call late Wednesday from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that it had intercepted two overnight-delivery packages containing marijuana that were destined for Buffalo, according to Lt. Larry J. Baehre, the Buffalo police public information officer.

Baehre said search warrants were obtained for both locations where the packages were destined in Buffalo.

Three arrests were made at 373 Moselle St., where officers said they confiscated 35 pounds of marijuana. Charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana were Enoch Tarver, 38, of Roosevelt Avenue; Laster Thedrus, 31, of Floss Avenue; and Nathaniel Clark, 20, of Kehr Street.

Detective Phillip Tisdale said a fourth man signed for the delivery, which was shipped via FedEx, but fled the scene.

Officers said they confiscated 30 pounds of marijuana that were delivered to 444 Doat St., where they arrested Nigel Brown, 24, also of Doat Street. Brown faces charges of first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and first-degree criminal sale of marijuana.

Section of Bailey Avenue
closed by diesel fuel spill

A diesel fuel spill in Amherst closed Bailey Avenue between Grover Cleveland Highway and Main Street for several hours Thursday night while crews cleaned it up.

Amherst Fire Control said a tractor-trailer carrying food for McDonald's was northbound on Bailey through a construction area at 7:17 p.m.

The truck drove over a steel plate that covered an open manhole. The plate was kicked up by the front wheel of the truck and punctured one of the vehicle's fuel tanks, carrying 120 gallons of diesel fuel, said Eggertsville Fire Chief Stephen Matisz.

The truck left a trail of diesel fuel for about a half-mile until the driver smelled the fuel when he stopped for a signal at Main Street and Bailey Avenue.

The leak continued into the storm sewer. Firefighters plugged the leak in the tank, but about 100 gallons had been spilled already, officials said. Emergency crews contained the fuel and stopped the flow into the sewer.

Amherst pizzeria loses
$1,300 in burglary

Amherst detectives are investigating a burglary at LaPorta's Pizzeria at 485 West Klein Road that may have been committed either by someone with access to the shop's keys or by someone who hid inside at closing time.

Police found no sign of a forced entry at the pizzeria, which was broken into sometime between midnight and 11:20 a.m. Thursday.

Burglars took about $1,300 that had been locked in a cooler.

Cocaine and $3,000 seized
in Amherst; two arrested

The Amherst police Narcotics Unit confiscated about four ounces of cocaine and about $3,000 while arresting two people in a drug raid Thursday after a one-month investigation into cocaine distribution in the Amherst area.

Using a search warrant signed by Town Justice Geoff Klein, narcotics officers raided the residence at 532A Allenhurst Road.

Arrested on two felony drug charges each were Anthony Bishop, 29, of Highgate Avenue, Buffalo, and Adrian V. Carbonell, 23, who listed Kettering Drive, Town of Tonawanda, and the Allenhurst Road address, police said.

Both were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Bishop also was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, while Carbonell faces a criminal possession charge.

Two-alarm fire in Snyder
damages several businesses

A two-alarm fire that may have been sparked by an electrical problem extensively damaged the basement of the Subway shop at 2016 Kensington Ave., Snyder, Thursday night, injuring three firefighters, damaging seven other businesses and leaving $215,500 in damage.

Responding to a 9 p.m. alarm, Snyder Fire Chief John Fildes reported heavy smoke conditions and called for a second alarm, bringing Eggertsville Hose Company and the Getzville Fast Team to the scene.

The fire, declared under control at 9:55 p.m., left $175,000 damage to the Subway shop, mostly in the basement; $7,500 in fire damage to three other stores; and $33,000 smoke damage to the adjacent businesses.

Three Snyder firefighters were injured. Duane Probst was taken to Buffalo General Hospital for dehydration. Thomas Kenney and Richard Schrader were treated at the scene, Kenney for neck and shoulder pain, Schrader for an ankle injury, fire officials said.

Two seriously injured
in Clarence collision

Two people in the same car were seriously injured when two vehicles collided at Sheridan Drive and Harris Hill Road in the Town of Clarence Thursday night, and Erie County sheriff's investigators still don't know who was at fault.

Robert J. Maturski, 66, of Dexter Terrace in the Town of Tonawanda was listed in critical condition today in Erie County Medical Center. His sister-in-law, Octavia Ware, a passenger in the car, was listed in serious condition in the same hospital.

Deputies David Karney and Mike Summers reported that a vehicle driven by Laurie A. Powers, 17, of Hunting Valley Road, Clarence was heading north on Harris Hill at about 9:40 a.m. when it collided with Maturski's westbound car on Sheridan.

Powers was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, where she was seen and released.

Because deputies aren't sure who disregarded the red light, they are asking anyone with any information to call the Traffic Bureau at 662-6150.

Pignataro's mother-in-law
testifies in child-neglect trial

The mother of Deborah Pignataro testified Thursday that she was "floored" when she learned that the reason her daughter was always "very ill" in summer 1999 was that she was poisoned by arsenic.

Caroline Rago was testifying during the child-neglect trial of her daughter and her estranged husband, former physician Anthony S. Pignataro. She told Erie County Family Court Judge Marjorie C. Mix that Pignataro said to her, "Now don't go telling everybody," after her daughter told her about the arsenic poisoning in a telephone conversation.

Seeking to end courtroom bickering between the estranged couple's attorneys, Mix ordered both sides to focus on the reason for the proceedings, noting that she has "not yet had a full explanation about how the Pignataros' two children ingested" arsenic that left them hospitalized for four days in August. The children became ill after having soup with their mother.

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