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POLICE & COURTS

Amherst driver, 21, remains in critical condition

A 21-year-old Amherst man remained in critical condition Monday in Erie County Medical Center with injuries he suffered early Saturday morning when his car struck a tree in Amherst.

Louis Callari lost control of his vehicle on Red Oak Drive at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday.

The vehicle left the road and struck the tree.

Callari remains in the medical center's Trauma Intensive Care Unit.

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Man shot by police charged in fatal attack with sword

A 63-year-old West Side man who was shot by police while advancing toward officers last week with a sword that he used to slay his girlfriend and injure her teenage daughter was formally charged Monday with murder, felony assault and weapons possession, Buffalo police reported.

Juan Castro is accused of using the weapon to kill Maria Pagan, 45, Jan. 17 in the 400 block of Normal Avenue. Zayra Pagan, 15, also was attacked by Castro, police said. She continues to recover in Women & Children's Hospital.

A short time after the double stabbing, officers tried to apprehend Castro a few houses away from the incident, but he refused to drop his sword, police said. After refusing police orders to drop his weapon and advancing toward police, Castro was shot and wounded.

Castro remained in police custody in Erie County Medical Center late Monday. He was in serious condition.

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Cocaine trafficker enters plea of guilty

A Buffalo man will serve at least five years and as many as 40 in prison, and be fined up to $2 million, for his role in trafficking two kilograms of cocaine from New Jersey to Buffalo for distribution, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported Monday.

Luis Vazquez, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Vazquez conspired with others to obtain kilogram quantities of cocaine from sources in Puerto Rico and New Jersey for redistribution in Buffalo, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi.

Vazquez traveled from Buffalo to Paterson, N.J., to help in transporting the cocaine from New Jersey back to Buffalo, where it was distributed to other traffickers.

Vazquez was arrested with 26 others last February and is the seventh person to plead guilty in the case. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

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Attempt to strangle woman brings multiple charges

A Buffalo man was arrested late Sunday for allegedly attempting to strangle a Schiller Street woman, according to Ferry-Fillmore District police.

Keith M. Dodson, 40, also of the first block of Schiller, was charged with first-degree strangulation, assault and criminal mischief following the attack at about 11:30 p.m., police said.

Deborah Swierszcz told police Dodson kicked in the main door of her home and began strangling her and then punching her in the face.

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Man attacked and robbed at gunpoint in Amherst

Amherst police were searching for a gunman who attacked and robbed a man Monday afternoon on Callodine Avenue.

The victim told police he was walking in the 100 block of Callodine just before 3 p.m. when he was approached from behind by a man with a gun who demanded money.

A struggle ensued, and the victim was struck on the side of the head with the gun and knocked to the ground. The robber then made off with a wallet and cellular phone, police reported.

The suspect headed south on Callodine toward Main Street and was described as a black male in his late teens. He was 5-foot-8 and wore a black and red hooded sweat shirt. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Amherst police at 689-1311.

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Grand Island house fire was caused by a candle

Careless use of a candle was determined to be the cause of a fire Thursday evening at a Grand Island home, Grand Island fire officials reported Monday.

The fire broke out at about 7 p.m. at a house on Schwegler Road. Residents there were alerted by smoke detectors and rushed down to the first-floor, where they found a dining room table engulfed in flames.

Residents put out the fire before fire crews arrived. Damage was reported to be about $2,500.

The house was ventilated, and firefighters returned back into service, fire officials said.

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Attempt to 'elope' with girl brings prison sentence

A Salvadoran man was sentenced to five years, 10 months in federal prison for attempting to take his 15-year-old cousin to Canada over the Peace Bridge to "elope," U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Monday.

Enrique Rivas Perez, 28, an illegal immigrant, will be deported following the completion of his prison sentence. Rivas Perez was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara for transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

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