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Five plead innocent in drug sting

LOCKPORT -- Three Niagara Falls residents, including a longtime city public works employee, were arraigned as cocaine dealers in Niagara County Court on Friday following an eight-month investigation led by the state attorney general's Organized Crime Task Force.

Two men from Lewiston and Porter were charged with misdemeanor conspiracy in the case. All five defendants pleaded not guilty. A sixth defendant named in the indictment has yet to be apprehended, Assistant Attorney General Patricia A. Carrington said. She said the alleged drug deals occurred between October and December 2007.

Niagara Falls Police Narcotics Capt. Morris Shamrock called city employee Ronald E. Bivins one of the "midlevel dealers" who allegedly sold at least one ounce of cocaine. Shamrock said at least one of the alleged sales was made while Bivins was working.

Bivins, 34, of Weston Avenue, has worked for the city for seven years, his attorney said. Bivins is charged with second-degree conspiracy, second- and third-degree sale of a controlled substance and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Leo E. Smith, 36, of Monroe Avenue, was charged with first-, second- and third-degree sale and second- and third-degree possession of a controlled substance and second- and fourth-degree conspiracy.

"He was the subject, the target of an extensive investigation by the attorney general's office," prosecutor Carrington told Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Perez D. Watts, 30, of 17th Street, was charged with first-degree sale and second- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy.

Ryan Bush, 35, of Onondaga Street, Lewiston and Carl Mang, 37, of Cain Road, Porter were charged with fourth-degree conspiracy.

Murphy set bail at $50,000 for Smith, $25,000 for Watts and $5,000 for Bivins. He released Bush and Mang on their own recognizance.

The sixth person named in the indictment, Marilyn Davidson, was expected to turn herself in, Carrington said.

Shamrock called the investigation a spin-off from the David A. Phelps investigation. Phelps, 36, of Ontario Avenue, was sentenced in August to four to six years in prison for heading a cocaine ring.

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