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Police Log June 7, 2012

Eden man charged in Buffalo growing operation

On Tuesday, June 5, Robert L. Osika, 46, of Eden, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture more than 100 marijuana plants, and manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants, which were located at 1372 Clinton St., Buffalo. This is the same incident which resulted in the arrest of Buffalo Police Officer Jorge Melendez and Jason Elardo on May 31. If convicted, the charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, a fine of $5,000,000 or both.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Osika was observed on May 31, entering the warehouse at 1372 Clinton St. in Buffalo shortly after law enforcement searched the warehouse and discovered a marijuana grow operation. When questioned by law enforcement officers, Osika alleged that he was hired by Elardo to assist in the maintenance of the marijuana plants.

Osika appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott and was released. He, and co-defendants Elardo and Melendez, are due back in court on June 25 at 10 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Elardo and Melendez are accused of maintaining marijuana grow operations at the Clinton St. warehouse as well as a warehouse located at 2157 South Park Ave. in Buffalo. During the course of an investigation into the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, law enforcement officers installed hidden surveillance equipment on the second floor of the South Park Avenue warehouse where a grow operation was located. According to officials, Melendez and Elardo were observed tending to over 100 marijuana plants.

Prior to installing cameras inside the warehouse, officers monitored the outside of the building, also using surveillance cameras. Melendez was allegedly observed arriving in a Buffalo Police patrol car, while on duty, and entering and exiting the location. The defendant works in the Buffalo Police Department’s “D” District, however the warehouse is located in the “A” District, officials said.

The outside surveillance cameras allegedly show Elardo entering the warehouse on a daily basis to tend to the marijuana grow operation. In addition, officers obtained credit card information indicating that Elardo purchased equipment used to sustain an indoor, hydroponic marijuana grow operation. The equipment included a dehumidifier and filters.

At one point during the investigation, officers observed a police badge and credentials belonging to Melendez inside the warehouse. According to the official complaint, Melendez claimed to have previously lost the badge and identification.

These charges are the culmination of an investigation on the part of investigators of the New York State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Buffalo Police Department.

Business burglarized

While on patrol on Sunday, June 3 at 5:45 a.m., Village of Hamburg Police Lt. Kevin Haberman saw two people exiting the entry door of the BFG Electroplating building on Scott Street, wheeling plastic wheelbarrows full of copper and other items.

Haberman stopped them by the railroad tracks and while investigating the incident, he found that Richard Young, 39, of Evans, and Benjamin Fattey, 31, of Buffalo, had allegedly broken into the building through a side door and had allegedly removed cooper and scrap metal from the building. When Haberman entered the building, he noticed other items were piled up, as if they were about to be taken out as well.

Fattey and Young were charged with felony third-degree burglary, petit larceny, fourth-degree criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools and unlawful possession of radio devices (using radio devices to commit a crime or felony). They appeared before Village of Hamburg Justice Michael Biehler, who set bail at $800. They were remanded to the Erie County Holding Center until they returned to court on June 6.

Felony DWI in N. Collins

On Saturday, May 25, Village of North Collins Police charged Adam M. Nordine, 28, of North Collins with felony driving while intoxicated, aggravated DWI, felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, interlock violation, false personation and a stop sign violation.

According to police, when stopped for the traffic violation, Nordine continuously gave officers a fictitious name and address. After finally admitted his true identity it was found he had been convicted of aggravated DWI and Leandra’s Law (a felony) for a child in a vehicle for an incident in February 2012 and that he was in violation of a mandated alcohol interlock system for his vehicle.

Shoplifter caught

On Thursday, May 31 at 4:26 p.m., Town of Hamburg Police Officer John Baker responded to a larceny call from Macy’s Department Store in the McKinley Mall, where Shawn R. Saunders, 48, of Lackawanna was being held for larceny. The store’s loss prevention officer stated that Saunders had allegedly concealed a Michael Kors purse, valued at $174 and exited the store without paying for the item.

Saunders was arrested for petit larceny and released on an appearance ticket. She was also turned over to the Lackawanna Police Department for an outstanding bench warrant.

E.C. Sheriff’s report

While on patrol in Springville on Saturday, June 2 at 4:44 a.m., Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Hoelscher located a vehicle on Main Street that was involved in a property damage accident in the Town of North Collins.

The driver of the vehicle, Dennis R. Hayden, 43, of Springville, was charged with driving while intoxicated and other traffic infractions. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol content to be .17 percent, over twice the legal limit. He was processed at the Springville Substation and released on appearance tickets.

DWI, marijuana possession

Sunday, May 27 at 12:03 a.m., Town of Evans Police Officer Jeffrey DeVinney was on patrol when he observed a vehicle heading east on Erie Road at a high rate of speed. When DeVinney stopped the vehicle, he noticed the driver, Ryan M. Said, 21, of Blasdell, had glassy eyes and gave off the odor of an alcoholic beverage. He further observed two open beer cans with beer still in them in the center cup holder.

When asked how much he had to drink, Said replied he had consumed one shot and four beers. Said was asked to perform several field sobriety tests and failed all but one, including the pre-screen breath test. He was taken into custody for driving while intoxicated.

Said was transferred to the Evans Police Department and submitted to a Data Master Breath Test, which revealed a .19 blood alcohol content.

While conducting a pat down, DeVinney located a suspected bag of marijuana in the offender’s right front pocket. A glass pipe with suspected burnt marijuana was found inside the vehicle. Said was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, speeding and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on the highway.

DWI leads to three arrests

At 7:55 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, Town of Evans Police Officers Joseph LaRosa and Jeffrey Mayer were dispatched to Erie Road after receiving a report that a vehicle was being operated erratically. The officers located the vehicle around Meier Road, where it was travelling in the left bound lane, though it was not passing any cars or making a left-hand turn.

When the officers stopped the vehicle, they observed the driver, Kevin P. Lynch, 20, of Niagara Falls, was slurring his speech, had bloodshot and glassy eyes, along with the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. He was asked to perform field sobriety tests, some of which he failed, and tested positive for alcohol on a field breath screen test. Lynch was taken into custody and transferred to the Evans Police Station, where he refused to submit to a DataMaster chemical breath test.

Lynch was charged with failure to keep right, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a breath test. He was also charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, after a computer check revealed his driver’s license had been previously suspended/revoked nine times, along with a driving while ability impaired conviction in the City of North Tonawanda. He was released on $300 cash bail.

When Officer Gregory Szarowicz arrived at the scene and attempted to transport the other passengers in the vehicle to the station, Dustin H. Waldeck, 20, of Niagara Falls refused to comply, placing his hands in his pockets instead of on the vehicle and walking into the roadway. When Szarowicz attempted to take Waldeck into custody, another passenger, David M. Andrews, 20, of Niagara Falls, got between them and tried to push Szarowicz away. Both men were taken into custody and arrested for disorderly conduct. Andrews was also arrested with second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. They were released on appearance tickets returnable to Evans Town Court.

Jewelry, Wii stolen

On Thursday, May 24, the Town of Evans Police responded to a burglary at a Lake Shore Road residence which occurred on May 10.

The victim stated that someone cut the screen of the living room window, entered the house through an open window and removed a gold necklace with a heart-shaped diamond pendant from the bedroom and a Nintendo Wii video game system from the living room. The victim also believes that someone stole a Playstation 3 game system and several video games.

Evans PD looking for info

Town of Evans Police are looking for information into the criminal mischief incident which occurred at a Southwestern Boulevard business sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 and 9:46 a.m. on Monday, May 28.

According to police, someone tried to cut off the catalytic converter off a vehicle in the lot.

Anyone with information, call the Evans Police at 549-3600 or the tipline at 217-3585.

T-shirts snatched from store

Town of Hamburg Police report, that at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, a female and male suspect entered Pacific Sunwear at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg, where the female suspect began loudly inquiring the location of different types of clothing and causing a general disturbance.

After the pair left the store without purchasing anything, 13 discarded theft sensors were discovered on a table and 13 T-shirts, with a total value of $390, were missing.

According to police, it is thought the female suspect was causing a distraction so that the male suspect could steal the items.

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