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POLICE & COURTS

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.

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2 Batavia firefighters charged in betting ring

BATAVIA -- Authorities in Genesee County on Thursday arrested three men -- two of them Batavia city firefighters -- suspected of running a sports betting ring, officials said.

The arrests followed a six-month investigation by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is composed of law enforcement officers from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police Department and the Le Roy Village Police Department.

The three suspected bookies, each from Batavia, were identified as Gregory G. Phillips, 39, of Belvedere Lane; Brian C. Bordinaro, 43, of Prospect Avenue; and Lance J. Engel, 41, of Wade Avenue.

Phillips and Bordinaro have been suspended from the city Fire Department with pay.

All three men were charged with a felony count of first-degree possession of gambling records. Phillips was charged with an additional felony count of criminal possession of a controlled substance after police allegedly found a small amount of cocaine in his possession.

The men were arraigned before Batavia City Judge Robert Balbick and sent to the Genesee County Jail with no bail set.

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12-year sentence given to Buffalo drug dealer

WARSAW -- A Buffalo man was sentenced Thursday to up to 12 years in state prison, but given a chance to seek prison health services for drug addiction and a possible early release on parole.

Antoine Jones, 26, pleaded guilty to criminal sale of drugs. Wyoming County District Attorney Donale G. O'Geen said Jones and his now-imprisoned co-defendant, Raymond Van Voorhis, came from Buffalo to Warsaw in late December 2009 to sell crack cocaine, and the pair broke into the apartment of one user who couldn't pay, stealing her flat-screen TV.

VanVoorhis, 27, is serving two to four years on his third-degree burglary plea in the case, the prosecutor said.

"The message to people dealing crack cocaine is clear," O'Geen said. "If you get caught dealing in this county, there is a high likelihood that you are going to prison."

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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 hidden 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.