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MEN FROM TORONTO, FLORIDA ACCUSED OF SELLING ECSTASY

NIAGARA FALLS -- Federal agents and city detectives arrested two men Wednesday on drug smuggling and distribution charges for alleged trafficking of the "club drug" Ecstasy.

Joseph P. Rejante, 34, of Toronto, and Andreian I. Marinov, 28, of Tampa, Fla., were arrested at 12:15 p.m. following the delivery of 30,000 tablets of suspected Ecstacy to an undercover federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

"It was one of the most significant MDMA (Ecstasy) seizures in Western New York history," said Donald P. Augustine, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's Buffalo district office.

The pair was charged with the federal felonies of smuggling and distribution of a controlled substance from Canada here by DEA and U.S. Customs Service agents and city detectives.

The arrests came following a yearlong investigation into the trafficking of Ecstasy from Canada via Buffalo to Tampa, Augustine said.

Rejante and Marinov were being held overnight without bail in the Erie County Holding Center and are scheduled to face the charges today in U.S. District Court, Buffalo. Prosecution is being conducted the U.S. attorney's offices here and in Florida.

Teen driver in fair condition
after car swerves, crashes

WHEATFIELD -- Kristina M. Schmidt, 16, of Meadowbrook Acres, North Tonawanda, was listed in fair condition in Erie County Medical Center with multiple injuries she suffered in a one-car accident Tuesday night on Klemer Road, a hospital official said.

The accident occurred at 6:55 p.m. when Schmidt swerved her car to avoid an animal that ran into the roadway, lost control and crashed into a tree. She was flown to the hospital by Mercy flight to be treated for facial, spinal and other injuries, said Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Ronald R. Dworzanski.

Fourth suspect is arrested
in thefts from pretzel shop

WHEATFIELD -- A fourth suspect has been arrested in the theft of an estimated $25,000 in cash and products from Auntie Anne's Pretzel Shop at the Summit Park Mall, Niagara County sheriff's Investigator Louis J. Faery said Wednesday.

Therese J. Monti, 21, of James Avenue, Niagara Falls, a former shop employee, was charged with third-degree grand larceny Tuesday. Three others already have been arrested in the thefts, which occurred from January through May, Faery said.

Lockport man pleads guilty
in gas station robbery

LOCKPORT -- A man accepted a plea bargain Wednesday in connection with the April 23 armed robbery of a gas station there.

Stefan J. Williams, 22, of Mount Hope Road, is to be sentenced Nov. 14 by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza for attempted first-degree robbery.

Williams wielded a sawed-off shotgun in the robbery at Smokin' Joe's IV on Upper Mountain Road, authorities said.

Falls man gets six years
for knife attack in June

LOCKPORT -- David Ridgeway of Niagara Falls will serve six years in prison for a June 14 knife attack on a Buffalo man.

County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza imposed the sentence Wednesday on Ridgeway, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

The Fifth Street man inflicted 16 to 18 wounds on the head and body of Eddy L. New, 35, in the Niagara Deli, 928 Niagara St., Niagara Falls.

Van hits front-end loader,
injuring three people

SANBORN -- Three people were injured late Wednesday morning when a van crashed into a front-end loader on Saunders Settlement Road at West Street, said Lewiston Patrolman Christopher Salada.

William G. Dick, 40, of Whitney Avenue, Niagara Falls, identified as the driver of the van, was listed in stable condition in Erie County Medical Center with leg injuries. A passenger, Melvin Abel, 43, of Anthony Drive, Niagara Falls, was being treated for pelvic injuries.

The driver of the front-end loader, Todd Judware, 39, of Upper Mountain Road, was treated in ECMC, then released.

The crash occurred at 10:19 a.m. All three had to be cut from the wreckage. Firefighters from Sanborn, Lewiston No. 2 and Shawnee companies responded to the crash.

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