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Two plead guilty to 'meth lab' charges

Two of the three suspects linked to a West Seneca "meth lab" have pleaded guilty to felony charges, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Kevin D. Breitenbach, 26, and Henry Polanowski, 31, pleaded guilty before Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka to third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine. The pleas mark the first convictions in Erie County for the operation of a "meth lab," according to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III and prosecutor Mary Beth DePasquale.

Both suspects pleaded guilty to the highest charge lodged against them by grand juries.

Sedita said that a West Seneca police investigation last summer closed down the drug lab Breitenbach was operating out of his home on Briarhill Road.

Hollie L. Belz, 23, of Seneca Street, West Seneca, the third suspect in the case, remains jailed pending further court proceedings linked to her September indictment in the case, the prosecutors said.

Sedita and DePasquale said that during a West Seneca police raid July 13, Breitenbach and Belz were caught with methamphetamine at Breitenbach's home. Polanowski was also arrested last summer and charged with supplying drug material for the West Seneca "meth lab," the prosecutors said.

Law enforcement agencies at the local, county, state and federal levels are involved in investigations of illegal "labs" manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, which is often referred to as a poor man's cocaine, court officials said.

Because of a drug conviction in Arizona several years ago, Polanowski faces a prison term of up to four years when he is sentenced by Pietruszka on Jan. 18.

Breitenbach is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 7 and faces a 2 1/2 -year prison term, the highest possible prison term for a first-time felony drug conviction.


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