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POLICE & COURTS

>Attempt to swipe statue lands man in hot water

A Buffum Street man faces felony criminal mischief, attempted grand larceny and trespass charges after attempting to steal a brass sculpture on Grand Island, state police said.

State police said they interrupted Guzzetta trying to steal the sculpture near Long Road and the former Dunlop building at 2:10 a.m. Saturday.Troopers noted the sculpture had been removed from its base and spotted a pickup nearby, with a saw and brass shavings. The pickup was traced to Guzzetta, 40, police said.

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>Recent drug sweep nets suspected parole violators

Three suspected Cheektowaga parole violators were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance during a drug sweep last week, Cheektowaga police said Tuesday.

Arrested were Paul Lopez, 56, of Awood Place; Nicholas Kowtun, 27, of Rowley Road; and Byron Barnes, 30, of Beach Road.

Cheektowaga police, along with the Erie County Probation Department, State Parole and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, conducted the townwide sweep of suspected violators last Thursday and visited 28 homes. Hamburg and West Seneca police K-9 units also assisted.

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>Four storm into home armed with a shotgun

Armed with a shotgun, four masked men forced their way into a Moselle Street home Tuesday and stole an occupant's cell phone, watch, identification and cash, Buffalo police said.

The home invasion at 331 Moselle occurred shortly before 3 p.m., Ferry-Fillmore police said.

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>Ontario trucker gets prison for drug smuggling

A Brampton, Ont., trucker was sentenced to three years and a month in federal prison after his conviction on international narcotics smuggling and bail jumping charges, U.S. Attorney William H. Hochul Jr. said Tuesday.

Balwant Singh Birk, 42, smuggled about 200 pounds of marijuana into the United States, hiding it in the cab of the tractor-trailer as he drove across the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge on Nov. 17, 2005, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Gillmeister.

Birk was also convicted of failure to appear in court as required to resolve the smuggling case, resulting in an additional six months added to his 31-month sentence.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny imposed the sentence.

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>Neighborhood tip leads to three drug arrrests

A neighbor's complaint about a Cheektowaga apartment building led to the arrest of three people on drug charges, Cheektowaga Police Capt. James Speyer said.

Officer Matthew Arnold, who went to a Linda Drive apartment Friday to investigate a report of suspicious activity, observed drugs in the apartment when residents answered the door, police said. Further investigation discovered cocaine, police added.

Sherry Seda, 34, of the Linda Drive address; Michael Barone, 50, of Meadowlawn Road, Cheektowaga; and Ronald Barton, 55, of Ada Place, Buffalo, were charged each with two counts of misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and a felony possession count, police said.

Barton also was charged with false personation for giving a fake name, police said. He was found to have warrants issued for him by Erie County sheriff's officials and Buffalo police.

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>Mother, 17, accused of 'bouncing' her babies

SALAMANCA -- A 17-year-old mother was charged with child endangerment after two 6-week-old babies were dropped onto a bed, hard enough to make them bounce, Salamanca police said.

The incident occurred Monday evening in the Zafron House, a state-supervised home for unwed mothers and their children, police said. Both babies were taken to a hospital for precautionary measures, police said.

The mother, police said, attempted to keep staff from entering her bedroom. The suspect, who was not identified because of her age, was arraigned before a city judge and sent to Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.

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>Plea deal accepted in attempted drug deal

A resident of Puerto Rico who got involved in a drug deal in North Buffalo pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

Luis Figueroa-Arzuaga, 27, was arrested last March 10 after an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to prosecutor Mary C. Kane, a confidential source working with the DEA arranged to purchase a kilogram of cocaine. DEA agents spotted Figueroa-Arzuaga entering a home on Hinman Avenue, coming outside wearing a backpack, and getting into a truck.

Buffalo police and DEA agents stopped the truck and found the cocaine in the backpack. They also found a digital scale and $6,809 in cash hidden in the house, Kane said.

District Judge Richard J. Arcara accepted the guilty plea.

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