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POLICE & COURTS - Southern Tier

Cocaine charges filed after arrest on bridge

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Gowanda woman was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance after customs officers found more than an ounce of cocaine in her possession Wednesday night on the Rainbow Bridge, authorities said.

Sherry Lynn Kettle, 38, of East Main Street, pleaded not guilty Thursday in City Court and was being held in Niagara County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 property bail.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Sandra Scamurra said a car carrying four people was pulled over for secondary inspection at 8:15 p.m. after entering the United States from Canada.

During a pat-down search, Kettle was found to be carrying 35 grams of powder cocaine, authorities said.

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Two get probation in pizzeria drug case

LOCKPORT -- Two defendants who pleaded guilty to felonies in the Mister Sepe's Pizza cocaine case were placed on probation Thursday, but one will serve jail time first.

Christopher D. Diehl, 48, of 16th Street, Niagara Falls, will start his five-year probation stint with six months in jail, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza ordered.

Diehl, who admitted to fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, said he let Patrick T. Geracitano, his nephew, store cocaine in his apartment and use it as a base of operations.

Geracitano, a major dealer for the ring, turned informant and was investigators' major source of information. In all, 49 people were convicted in the case centered on a former pizzeria on Main Street in Niagara Falls.

Ashley E. Pembleton, 21, a former Lake Worth, Fla., resident now living in Niagara Falls, drew five years' probation for fourth-degree conspiracy. Both she and Diehl were fined $1,000.

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Woman found dead in park is identified

Homicide detectives have determined the identity of a woman found shot to death Wednesday morning on a picnic bench in Masten Park.

The body of Madelyn Rodriguez, 29, of Eaton Street, was discovered by a person exercising in the park at about 8:20 a.m. She was found partially clothed in the park, near Masten Avenue and Best Street, just north of the basketball courts.

An autopsy revealed that she died from a gunshot wound.

Detectives believe she was killed about four hours before her body was discovered. Police said the park has been used on occasion for late-night narcotics transactions and sexual encounters.

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Man rowing in river says shots were fired

Two shots were fired in the direction of a Buffalo man while he was rowing on the Niagara River on Wednesday night, police said. He was not injured.

Central District police said shots rang out at about 5:45 p.m., when Alan Lockwood was in the water near Niagara and West Ferry streets.

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Lewiston man admits sex with 14-year-old girl

LOCKPORT -- A Lewiston man pleaded guilty in Niagara County Court on Thursday to having sex with a 14-year-old girl Sept. 11, 2003.

Lester A. Losell, 28, of Oneida Street, admitted to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree rape. Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. scheduled sentencing for Dec. 8.

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