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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Student is accused of giving out pills

NIAGARA FALLS -- A LaSalle Preparatory School student in Niagara Falls is being petitioned to Family Court for allegedly distributing "controlled substance" pills to six other students, five of whom became ill, Niagara Falls police said Friday.

Officials at the Buffalo Avenue school contacted police after confirming that one of their students was distributing unknown, and possibly legally prescribed, pills to other students.

Police said the pills have been identified as a "controlled substance" but more laboratory testing is needed to determine their exact contents and police continue to probe how the student obtained them.

The student is known to authorities, and the police department's Youth Aid Division is working with school officials on the investigation of the boy's activities.

Because of the ages of the students involved, police refused to release any of their names "at this time." A police official stressed that the incident shows how even legally prescribed controlled substances can easily be subject to abuse.

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Marijuana importer gets 45 months in prison

Mohammed Abdellatif, 29, of Grand Island, was sentenced Friday to 45 months in prison on his conspiracy conviction for importing at least 80 kilograms of marijuana into this country from Canada.

Prosecutor Thomas S. Duszkiewicz said Abdellatif and others were arrested after one of their couriers was stopped at the Rainbow Bridge Aug. 7, 2008, with nearly 15 pounds of marijuana hidding in her car.

During a subsequent court-approved search of Abdellatif's house, lawmen seized an AR-15 rifle and three magazines with over 60 rounds of ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara imposed three years of supervised release after Abdellatif serves his term.

Mohammed's brother, Ayman Abdellatif, 32, of Niagara Falls, was sentenced to 46 months in prison by Arcara three months ago on his conspiracy conviction. Their courier was placed on probation by Arcara last week.

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Man accused of raping girl who was high on drugs

NIAGARA FALLS -- Zachary J. Lowman, 21, of 87th Street, Niagara Falls, is being held on first-degree rape and child endangerment charges for an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl while she was high on a form of synthetic marijuana three months ago, city police announced Friday.

Lowman, who was taken into custody at his home late Thursday evening, is accused, because of the alleged victim's age, of both first-degree rape and child endangerment for the incident several doors from his home in the 500 block of 87th Street last Nov. 29, according to police.

Police said Lowman is being held without bail in the Niagara County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Niagara Falls City Court today.

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Guilty plea to drug charge leads to diversion program

LOCKPORT -- A Buffalo man was admitted into the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment Thursday after pleading guilty to having nearly one-third of an ounce of cocaine when his auto was stopped by Lockport police Aug. 25.

Jonathan M. Johnson, 23, of Bailey Avenue, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. told Johnson, a second-time drug felon who is currently in jail on a parole violation, that if he successfully completes the treatment program, he will be placed on probation. But if he fails, the maximum penalty is four years in state prison.

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Man to get year in jail in box-cutter incident

LOCKPORT -- A Wheatfield man was promised a jail term of no more than a year Thursday as he pleaded guilty to pulling a box cutter on a security guard who ran him down after a shoplifting incident last year.

Joshua K. Allen, 27, of Lena Drive, admitted to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree robbery. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. scheduled sentencing for May 18.

Allen was charged with stealing a computer memory card and a bottle of cologne from the Sears store at The Summit mall on Williams Road in Wheatfield Feb. 15, 2011.

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Suspect being sought in Citizens Bank holdup

Buffalo police are looking for the man who held up the Citizens Bank branch in the 400 block of Main Street at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Police said the suspect handed a teller a note and made off with an undisclosed amount of money.

Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives, would not say if the same man who robbed two other Main Street banks earlier this week is under suspicion in the latest heist.

Anyone with information is asked to call or text the confidential TIP-CALL line at 847-2255 or submit information via the department's "Report a Tip" function on its website, bpdny.org.