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Man who portrayed ‘Totes McGoats’ succeeds in drug rehab

LOCKPORT – A former Niagara Falls heroin dealer who portrayed Niagara Falls recycling mascot “Totes McGoats” was ruled a success in a court-supervised drug rehabilitation program Thursday.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III allowed James L. Dolson, 50, of Cleveland Avenue, to cancel his felony plea to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and reduce it to a misdemeanor, seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance. On Jan. 14, Murphy will sentence him either to a conditional discharge or to three years’ probation, with the time spent in the judicial diversion program counting toward that term.

“Congratulations, Mr. Dolson. Not everyone makes it this far,” Murphy said.

Dolson, who made no comments, was arrested Dec. 13, 2013, at 68th Street and Buffalo Avenue in the Falls for selling heroin from his car to a police informant.

He entered the diversion program June 24, 2014, risking up to nine years in state prison if he didn’t succeed in treatment. As part of his rehabilitation, Dolson, a member of the Mayor’s Impact Team, a Niagara Falls cleanup group, was chosen in October to put on a goat head and a blue T-shirt and promote Niagara Falls’ new program of using large wheeled garbage totes for curbside trash pickup and recycling.

“We want everyone to be successful,” Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said. “He earned it. He put in the time, he put in the effort, and I hope he stays on this course.”