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Home detention ordered for Ecstasy drug smuggler

Jennifer Stein, 30, of Le Roy, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara in Buffalo Thursday to serve nine months of home detention on electronic monitoring and three years of supervised release on her conviction for conspiring to import Ecstasy into the U.S. from Canada.

Stein, who also was given credit for time served following her arrest at the Rainbow Bridge on April 2, 2006, was convicted of attempting to smuggle 2,000 Ecstasy pills into the country through another woman whom she paid $400 and strapped the narcotics to that woman with duct tape.


5 illegal immigrants taken into custody in Cambria

CAMBRIA -- Five illegal immigrants were taken into custody after a pickup being driven by a local farmer was pulled over Tuesday night.

Border Patrol alerted the Niagara County Sheriff's Office that they were following a red pickup just before 9:30 p.m. and suspected it was carrying illegal immigrants. Deputies stopped the truck on Plank Road for having four passengers in the rear seat.

The driver, Freatman Farms owner Jeffrey Freatman, and his father, Paul Freatman, were advised by Border Patrol, but not charged.


Drug diversion program given to admitted burglar

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man will enter the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment after pleading guilty in Niagara County Court on Thursday to two Niagara Falls burglaries, including a burglary of his parents' home.

Eric Waterstam, 38, of 18th Street, pleaded guilty before Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza to two third-degree burglaries and admitted to breaking into a home in the 500 block of 23rd Street on June 7 and his parents' house on Cleveland Avenue on June 8.

If successful in the diversion program, Waterstam could avoid jail time and be sentenced to probation, but if he fails he could serve 2 1/3 to 7 years on each conviction, Sperrazza told him.


Over $4,800 in jewelry taken in Falls break-in

NIAGARA FALLS -- More than $4,800 in jewelry was reported stolen in a break-in on the 300 block of 76th Street on Wednesday.

The victim told Niagara Falls police that between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. a rock was used to break a glass sliding door, valued at $1,700. Police reported that a number of rings, chains and earrings were stolen.


Falls suspect pleads guilty to firing shots at man

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court to attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and admitted that he attempted to use the loaded gun against another man on June 20.

Michael V. Juhacz, 32, of Falls Street, was arrested at gunpoint after police surrounded his home June 20.

Police said Juhacz threatened to shoot a man in front of Irene's Mini Mart in the 400 block of 24th Street, pulling out a silver handgun and firing off six to seven shots. The victim ran for cover and was not injured.

Officers said they closed Falls Street for about two hours before Juhacz came out of his house without incident. Juhacz waived his indictment and will be sentenced Dec. 9.


Falls man takes plea deal in robbery at pharmacy

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man admitted he robbed a Niagara Falls pharmacy at gunpoint on April 21 when he took a plea deal in Niagara County Court on Thursday.

William P. Hald, 36, of 25th Street, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. He was originally charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Hald demanded hundreds of painkillers and held a gun on three employees, according to Assistant District Attorney Joseph A. Scalzo. One of the employees recorded his license plate when he left and he was found at his home with the stolen drugs.

Hald faces 3 1/2 to 15 years in state prison and up to five years of post-release supervision when he returns for sentencing Dec. 9.


Battery of charges lodged against man accused in rape

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Niagara Falls man was charged on a warrant Wednesday after he allegedly took a woman from her house at gunpoint last week, drove her to a parking lot and raped her in his vehicle.

Stacey Michael Lewis, 29, of Elm Court, was arraigned in City Court Wednesday on charges of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, obstructing breathing, third-degree criminal mischief, first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sex act, criminal possession of weapon, menacing, second-degree assault with a weapon, unlawful imprisonment and second-degree burglary.

A woman Lewis is acquainted with told police last week that Lewis ran up to her carrying a black handgun, dragged her to his vehicle and threatened to kill her. She told police that he repeatedly struck her with the gun.

Lewis was sent without bail to Niagara County Jail. A return court date is set for Tuesday.