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Traffic stop results in drug charges

A Lackawanna man was arrested Tuesday by Cheektowaga police after officers found him in possession of khat, a stimulant drug popular in the Middle East, authorities reported Thursday.

Shokey Albaneh, 28, of Wilkesbarre Street, was stopped by Officer Christopher Lovallo at about 9 p.m. on Marion Court for vehicle and traffic violations. Lovallo saw Albaneh place something into his mouth to chew and recognized the substance as khat.

The officer also found additional quantities of it in Albaneh's vehicle.

Albaneh was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance.


Ex-bar bouncer convicted in assault injuring customer

A former bouncer at a Chippewa district bar faces up to seven years in prison after being convicted Wednesday of second-degree assault for slamming a bar patron's head to the sidewalk, fracturing the man's skull and leaving him deaf in one ear.

Although Charles Kurkowski, 30, of Derby, denied he injured Jared N. Underberg, 22, he admitted ejecting him from the former Quote bar at Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street at about 3 a.m. Nov. 14, 2008.

The verdict was reached following a five-day nonjury trial before Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk, who found Kurkowski not guilty of first-degree, or intentional, assault.

Kurkowski is free on $10,000 bail. He will be sentenced June 22.


State corrections officer charged with child porn

A man identified as a state corrections officer has been accused of possessing Internet child pornography.

Shawn Pound, 34, of Gowanda, was arrested Thursday after alleged child porn images were found on his home computer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said.

The arrest followed an investigation by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents.

Prosecutors identified Pound as a state corrections officer, but the name of the facility where he works was not available late Thursday.


Sex offender accused of abusing girl, 14

The Amherst police Special Victims Unit has arrested a registered Level 2 sex offender accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl he met online.

James Maskal, 21, of Pleasant Parkway, was charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor, according to Detectives Ed Bailey and Ed Solak.

"We've been investigating it for the last three months," Detective Lt. Joseph LaCorte said. Anyone with additional information about Maskal is asked to call LaCorte at 689-1393.


Child porn possession leads to prison term

A 53-year-old Buffalo man was sentenced Thursday to five years, eight months in federal prison for possessing child pornography, a day after a Gowanda teen was arrested on similar charges in an unrelated case, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reports.

Robert M. Hochulski pleaded guilty last July to possessing images of child pornography on his computer in November 2008. He admitted accessing the Internet using three different computers to view child pornography.

Following his prison sentence, Hochulski was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to serve 10 years of supervised release.

Authorities also reported that Kenneth Fisher, 19, of Gowanda, faces at least five years in prison and up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine if convicted on charges he received and possessed child pornography.

A search of Fisher's laptop found child pornography, authorities said, and Fisher was arrested Wednesday. He entered a plea of not guilty later Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.


Man shot in the foot; close call on May St.

Shots fired an hour apart Wednesday afternoon caught one man in the foot on Minnesota Avenue and narrowly missed an East Side mother and an infant in a May Street house, Buffalo police said.

Police said Montell Jones, no age or address listed, was walking on Minnesota between Bailey and Comstock avenues shortly before 5 p.m. when he was shot in the right foot. He told police he had no idea how he got shot or who did it. He was taken by Rural/Metro Medical Services to Erie County Medical Center.

An hour earlier, about 3:50 p.m., a May Street woman told police a gunman fired three shots -- one bullet entering the front window, nearly hitting her and a 1-year-old child.

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