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Fake 911 calls resume from 15th Street home

After two quiet days, fake emergency calls resumed Thursday from a 15th Street home, records show.

Hundreds of fake 911 calls have been traced to 78 15th St., which was once home to the Juan Merced family. The family has since moved from the house.

Prosecutors have described Juan Merced, 49, as the chief suspect and ordered him Wednesday to submit to a voice test, which will be analyzed at the FBI's Engineering Research Facility in Quantico. Va.

According to records, a man called emergency dispatchers at least four times Thursday -- at 7:43 a.m., 8:23 a.m., 8:37 a.m. and again at about 2:40 p.m. -- each time reporting a structure fire. Fire trucks, police officers and paramedics were sent to the scene in response to the various calls.

The previous call from the address had been logged at 6:21 p.m. Monday.

"We will continue to respond to these calls because that's our job. But if someone is doing this as a joke, they need to stop, because it's not funny, and we don't want to have worry about people getting hurt," Fire Marshal Edwin Ortiz said.


Drugs, two swords, $2940 and two snakes seized

South Buffalo police Thursday evening stopped a motorist who ended up taking them back to his Remington Place home, where they confiscated drugs, two swords, $2,940 and two African boa snakes.

Police initially recovered 19 bags of marijuana from Justin A. Degnang, 18, after stopping the vehicle he was driving near his home at 6:55 p.m.

Police then visited his apartment in the 100 block of Remington, where they seized eight ounces of marijuana, a small amount of cocaine and three shotguns, in addition to the other items. Degnang was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.


Robbery results in term of 25 years to life

A Buffalo man was sentenced Thursday to 25 years to life in prison for mugging a 62-year-old man at the same Walden Avenue bus stop where he had mugged another man 11 years earlier.

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns imposed the maximum prison term on Shawn Akin, 38, of Freeman Street after prosecutor Gary W. Hackbush presented evidence of Akin's three previous felony convictions.

Akin was convicted on robbery charges Nov. 10.

The robbery occurred April 16 at the same bus stop where he had mugged a man in 1994, a crime that landed him in state prison for five years.


Ex-girlfriend accuses man of break-in, assault

A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on charges that he broke into the North Buffalo apartment of his ex-girlfriend and attacked her.

The victim reported that her ex-boyfriend, Grill A. Williams Jr. of Buffalo, raised the screen and forced open the window to her basement apartment on Delaware Avenue at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.

She told police that he hit her in the jaw and grabbed her by the right arm, causing bruising. Officers arrested Williams a short time later at another Delaware Avenue address on charges of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and second-degree harassment.


Amherst bank branch robbed by woman

A woman robbed a Northwest Savings Bank branch in Amherst on Thursday afternoon, town police reported.

At 1:31 p.m., a woman handed a note demanding money to a teller at the bank at 3150 Sheridan Drive, between Alberta Drive and Bailey Avenue, Amherst police Lt. Stephen McGonagle said.

No weapon was displayed or threatened. The teller handed over an undetermined amount of cash, and the robber fled on foot, McGonagle said.

The robber was described as an African-American woman with a medium complexion, 5-foot-4 and weighing about 135 pounds. She wore a white coat with a red insignia, a white baseball cap with a red insignia, sunglasses and gray gloves.


Large drug seizures made at border bridges

American and Canadian authorities announced the seizure of a significant volume of illegal drugs in separate cases.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported it seized 96,000 tablets of the club drug Ecstasy and 128 pounds of marijuana last weekend. Dogs sniffed out the drugs on both occasions.

A Canadian driver, whose name was withheld for investigative purposes, was transporting 64 pounds of Ecstasy and 78 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a vehicle crossing the Rainbow Bridge into the United States on Saturday, officials said.

Sunday, Elizabeth Rogers, 26, also Canadian, was stopped at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, where 50 pounds of marijuana was found in her vehicle, authorities said.

Both drivers were charged with possession and conspiracy to sell illegal drugs.

In Fort Erie, Ont., the Canadian Border Services Agency announced that officers at the Peace Bridge seized 11 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were found in a vehicle's spare tire Saturday. Two 32-year-old Ontario men, one from Oshawa and the other from Bowmanville, were charged with smuggling.

Niagara Regional Police in Welland, Ont., raided a house on Balsam Street and seized a marijuana-growing laboratory and 440 mature marijuana plants Tuesday. Gui Chen, 34, of Welland, was charged with production of illegal drugs and other charges.

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