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Four felony drug counts filed in crack seizure

NORTH TONAWANDA -- A 20-year-old city man was charged with four felony drug counts Friday morning after members of the Niagara County Drug Task Force seized more than an eighth of an ounce of crack cocaine from his apartment, said Mark Driess, task force chief investigator.

Task force members and the North Tonawanda Police Department Emergency Response Team entered the residence of of Eli L. Clark, 20, at 295 Bryant St., Apt. 3, about 10:35 a.m.

It was the second time task force officers raided the apartment this year, Driess said. Clark was charged with misdemeanor drug possession in the first case, which started Jan. 28.

On Friday, task force officers confiscated crack cocaine that was "individually packaged and ready for sale," Driess said, along with $1,268 in cash, a scale and a security camera that had been installed since the January raid.

The latest arrest is the result of an investigation led by by North Tonawanda Police Detective Brad Shiesley and Niagara County Sheriff's Investigator Jeff McAuliffe, both task force members, who helped secure a search warrant after Clark sold cocaine twice to undercover buyers, Driess said.

Clark was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Nicholas M. Montague, 29, of 218 Edward St., North Tonawanda, who was in Clark's apartment, was charged with criminal impersonation and is accused of telling officers he was his brother.


Father, son accused of marijuana operation

HARTLAND -- More than 90 marijuana plants, a rifle, prescription medication and a pound of processed marijuana were seized and two men were arrested after state troopers raided a property at 7366 Ridge Road, state police reported Friday.

The property owner, William Pippard Sr., and his son, William Pippard Jr., were arraigned Friday in federal court on charges of intent to manufacture marijuana, unlawful possession with intent to distribute marijuana and maintaining a premises with intent to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Authorities said they found the plants growing in a barn that had been converted to grow the plants.

Two others were detained and turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol because of their immigration status.


Financial scam artist gets up to 7-year sentence

LOCKPORT -- Scammer Michael T. Shaner, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to three financial felonies, was sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison Friday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Shaner, 39, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, had admitted to two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count of fourth-degree grand larceny.

He admitted that on Aug. 4 and 5, he deposited two forged checks totaling $34,328, purportedly from Nationwide Insurance, into a Citizens Bank account. Also, in 2009 he deposited four bogus checks totaling $2,220 into an account at Woodforest Bank at the Niagara Falls Walmart and then withdrew the money.


Buffalo man is held on rape indictment

LOCKPORT -- A Buffalo man is being held on $10,000 bail in Niagara County Jail after being arraigned on a rape indictment Friday in State Supreme Court.

Christian B. Thomas, 27, of Auburn Street, pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The rape allegedly occurred Jan. 26 in Niagara Falls.


Fire causes damage of $150,000 on Isle

A kitchen fire caused $150,000 in damage to a Hazelwood Court home on Grand Island Thursday afternoon, fire company officials said.

At 2:20 p.m., a woman called 911 after she found her home filled with smoke. Firefighters arrived to find the kitchen engulfed in flames but were able to get the fire under control within seven minutes.

The fire was confined to the kitchen, but smoke and heat damage extended throughout the first floor.

No injuries were reported.


DWI charge follows hit-and-run crash

A Depew man was charged with driving while intoxicated after he was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run crash early Friday in the parking lot of Club Infinity on Main Street in Clarence, state police reported.

Brian S. Landseadel, 21, is accused of backing into an unoccupied car in the parking lot of the club and then leaving the scene.


Falls man arraigned on four drug charges

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man was arraigned on a four-count drug indictment Friday in Niagara County Court.

Rodriquez D. Burton, 21, of Haeberle Avenue, pleaded not guilty to two counts each of third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance.

He is accused of selling cocaine in Niagara Falls Dec. 16 and 20.

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