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8 ARRESTED IN DRUG RING SWEEP PLEAD NOT GUILTY

Eight people arrested in Salamanca in a drug ring sweep have been arraigned in Cattaraugus County Court and pleaded not guilty before Judge Larry M. Himelein.

Also on Tuesday, bail was lowered from $50,000 for several of the defendants at the request of Public Defender Mark S. Williams, who is handling six of the cases.

In addition, eight others face federal charges of possession for allegedly purchasing crack cocaine from the 10th Street Boys in Buffalo.

All were arrested May 13 in Salamanca in an early-morning drug sweep led by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They were named in sealed grand jury indictments reported to Himelein April 30 and May 1.

Charges include third-degree possession and third-degree sale of a controlled substance, according to District Attorney Edward M. Sharkey.

Lon C. Johnson, 39, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to charges. The alleged crime occurred Nov. 27 in Salamanca. His bail was reduced to $5,000. Johnson worked as a part-time deputy sheriff for Cattaraugus County and for the Drug Task Force until 1994, when he went to work for the Seneca Nation of Indians as chief law enforcement officer on the Allegany Reservation.

Ricky G. Bennett, 48, of Gowanda, pleaded not guilty to charges. The alleged crime occurred Dec. 30 in Salamanca. Bail remains at $50,000.

Charlene Ray, 44, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to charges. The alleged crime occurred Oct. 11 in Salamanca. Bail totaling $25,000 was previously posted.

Joshua W. Buck, 35, of Jamestown, pleaded not guilty to charges. The alleged crime occurred Oct. 16 in Salamanca. Bail was reduced to $10,000.

George C. Haas Jr., 35, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to charges. The crime occurred in Salamanca and bail totaling $25,000 was previously posted.

Roger E. Redeye, 24, of Steamburg, pleaded not guilty to charges. The alleged crime occurred Sept. 26 in Salamanca. He is being held without bail. He faces additional charges of fourth-degree criminal sale and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Wendy L. John, 47, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession and fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. The alleged crime occurred Jan. 9 in the Town of Salamanca. Bail was reduced to $5,000.

Dennis Lytel, 52, of Steamburg, pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession and fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance Nov. 23 and Dec. 17 in Steamburg. Bail was reduced to $5,000.

Several others were sentenced in other cases.

Robert E. Shoup, 35, of Allegany, was sentenced to one to three years in prison, to be served consecutively with an unrelated sentence he is currently serving in the Gowanda Correctional Facility. In addition, Shoup was fined $1,500 for his guilty plea to driving while intoxicated and second-degree aggravated unlicensed vehicle operation, July 24, in the Town of Allegany.

Rex A. Bartlett, 38, of Franklinville, was sentenced to five years probation and fined $2,500 for his guilty plea to driving while intoxicated, Oct. 8, in the City of Salamanca.

Jesse W. Smith, 27, of Collins, was sentenced to serve four months of weekends in the county jail, five years probation and fined $4,000 and for his guilty plea to driving while intoxicated, June 30 in the Town of Persia.

Several others entered pleas and will be sentenced in July. David W. Leavitt, 43, of Portville, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted assault, May 18, 2002, in Portville.

Steven R. Aldridge, 18, of Arcade, pleaded guilty Tuesday to fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, April 23, 2002, in the Town of Freedom.

Danielle J. Warner, 19, of Franklinville, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and petit larceny, Dec. 14, in the Town of Franklinville.

Merle F. Wright, 31, of Randolph, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and second-degree aggravated unlicensed vehicle operation, March 6, in the Town of Randolph.

Michael T. Smith Jr., 27, of Olean, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sexual abuse, involving a person younger than 11, on March 13, in the City of Olean.

Edward L. Carey II, 32, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse involving a 7-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, in July, in the City of Salamanca.

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