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county court

Bail revoked for Albion man awaiting sentencing for selling ‘wax’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2017 at 12:58 pm

ALBION – An Albion man awaiting sentencing for selling “wax,” a highly potent form of concentrated marijuana, had his bail revoked today after he allegedly sent a contract with a confidential informant to someone on social media.

Adam Gallo, 31, of Eagle Harbor Road on Dec. 12, 2016, admitted in court to selling the concentrated marijuana on Aug. 9.

He pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and could face up to 2 ½ years in prison when he is sentenced on March 6. He has no prior criminal record.

Gallo allegedly shared the contract with a confidential informant used by the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

Publishing that contract on social media may have put the informant in danger, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

“We’re concerned with the safety of the informants and the fact that people are disseminating their criminal history,” Cardone said after the court appearance today in front of County Court Judge James Punch.

Gallo had been free on $10,000 bail, but the judge revoked bail today and intends to have Gallo in jail until his sentencing.

Michael O’Keefe, Gallo’s attorney, said after court that Gallo didn’t post the information on social media. He sent the contract of a confidential informant to a someone in a private message. That contract had already been posted on Facebook by other people and didn’t originate from Gallo, O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe also said Gallo didn’t share the contract with the confidential informant in Gallo’s case. It was the same informant, but the contract was not specific to Gallo’s case, O’Keefe said.

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Former local pastor, already serving 15 years for child molestation, found guilty in Pennsylvania

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2017 at 6:53 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Roy Harriger, a former local pastor, walks to Orleans County Court on April 6, 2015, when he was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

A former local pastor, Roy Harriger, has been found guilty of additional charges for sex crimes against children.

Harriger, 73, was sentenced to 15 years in state prison on April 6, 2015 for child molestation crimes. He faced additional charges in Pennsylvania, and was convicted again, WIVB (Channel 4) in Buffalo is reporting.

Harriger was found guilty in Orleans County of sexually abusing some of his own family members. His children said the crimes went back more than 40 years. During his Orleans County trial, three of Harriger’s grandchildren testified he had molested them.

The Pennsylvania charges involve  young female famiy member in the 1990s. Harriger was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in state prison for the crime, with the sentence to be served concurrently with the New York sentence. That means there won’t be additional prison time for Harriger, who could be released as soon as December 2027.

He has been at the Wende Correctional Facility since April 9, 2015.

Harriger is the former pastor of Ashwood Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville and the Community Fellowship Church in Hartland.

When he was sentenced in Orleans County on April 6, 2015, Judge James Punch called Harriger, “a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.”

Punch said Harriger used his position as a pastor, as a leader in his family and the community, to try to silence the victims.

“The bullying, the use of charisma, the power of your personality were all brought forward to victimize these children and keep them quiet,” Punch said then.

In Mercer county, Pa., a woman came forward and accused Harriger of performing sex acts on her from when she was 8 until 12. She also said Harriger forced her to perform sex acts on a 5-year-old boy while he watched.

Harriger, who was pastor of Mercer Community Church of the Nazarene from 1991-97, was charged in Pennsylvania with rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault.

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$300,000 bail for Medina man facing drug, tampering charges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 February 2017 at 2:40 pm

MEDINA – Orleans County Court Judge James Punch set bail at $300,000 for a Medina man facing drug, conspiracy and tampering charges.

Gary L. Bonk, 40, of North Gravel Road was arraigned in County Court on Monday.

Bonk and two others were to be arraigned on Monday. One of the defendants, Robert Fearby, didn’t show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Victor Orr, 38, of Medina was fully arraigned after a Jan. 17 court appearance when Punch set bail at $200,000.

Orr was arrested on Dec. 9 after he allegedly disposed of a cardboard box with controlled substances in a nearby creek. He also allegedly removed controlled substances (drugs) from a safe and put them in the Erie Canal, according to Susan Howard, the assistant district attorney.

Orrr on Monday was arraigned on charges of tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy in the fifth degree.

Fearby and Bonk also face the same conspiracy and tampering charges, according to the DA’s office.

Bonk has more serious charges because he allegedly had the drugs that were disposed of. Bonk also was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, one count of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia.

Howard said Bonk has four prior felonies. Bonk’s attorney, Mark Lewis, said Bonk is a lifelong local resident with four children. Lewis asked for “reasonable bail,” saying Bonk isn’t a flight risk.

“He’s been a life-long criminal in the community,” Punch said in setting bail for Bonk. “His record is remarkably bad.”

Bonk and Orr both pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.

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2 sentenced to jail for DWIs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 February 2017 at 8:21 am

ALBION – Two people will people time in jail for driving while intoxicated after being sentenced Monday in Orleans County Court.

Christopher Aldrich, 47, of West Avenue in Albion was sentenced to a year in the county jail by Judge James Punch. The year was the maximum sentence as part of a plea deal. Felony DWI can carry a maximum of 4 years in state prison.

Aldrich pleaded guilty to felony DWI on Nov. 28. He was stopped in Albion on July 24 after he was driving erratically.

Aldrich admitted he had been drinking before driving that day. He has a prior DWI in 2012.

“You certainly have quite a history in multiple states,” Punch told Aldrich during sentencing. “You were quite under the influence.”

The judge also revoked Aldrich’s license for a year, and is requiring him to pay a $520 court surcharge and $50 DNA fee.

• A Byron woman with a past DWI was sentenced to four months of intermittent jail. Lindsay Skivington, 29, of Cook Road will be in jail from 6 p.m. on Mondays through 7 a.m. on Wednesdays for four months.

She faced a maximum of six months in jail as part of a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to felony DWI on Nov. 28. She admitted she had been drinking before driving when she was arrested in the Village of Albion on July 31, when she was stopped for speeding.

“You have a record here and there has to be some punishment,” Punch said. “You must stop drinking completely.”

Skivington also had her license revoked for a year and will be on probation for five years.

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Gaines resident facing felony weapons charge pleads guilty to misdemeanor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2017 at 4:54 pm

ALBION – A Gaines resident who was facing a felony weapons charge pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor and could be sentenced to up to a year in Orleans County jail on April 17.

John P. Klotzbach, 66, of Ridge Road declined to consider any plea offers on Jan. 9. He has been facing charges of conspiracy in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. On Jan. 9, Klotzbach told Judge James Punch he intended to have the case go to trial.

But today Klotzbach pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

He admitted he had a shortened shotgun on May 20, 2016. The judge asked Klotzbach is the gun was operable, and Klotzbach said it was.

He pleaded guilty to  charge that is less serious than what he was facing last month.

Klotzbach was charged on May 20 following an investigation by the Task Force, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Klotzbach allegedly attempted to purchase a shotgun and refused to complete the required ATF form 4473 for the federal background check and was subsequently denied the purchase.

Several days later, a female acquaintance allegedly went into the gun store and wanted to purchase the same gun that Klotzbach attempted to buy. The gun store owner became suspicious when he noticed the woman was riding in the same vehicle as Klotzbach, as well as attempting to purchase the same gun that Klotzbach wanted. The store owner then contacted law enforcement authorities.

Two other people also pleaded guilty today:

Sara Harris, 35, of Hilton pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She will face from 1 to 2 ½ years in prison when she is sentenced on April 24.

Harris allegedly was found with heroin and pills in her vehicle when she was stopped in Murray on Oct. 26 by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Harris allegedly had two amphetamine pills and 18 small, plastic bags which field tested positive for heroin.

Harris said in court today that some of the heroin was for her personal use and some she also intended to sell.

• A Kent resident pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree.

Daniel Flanagan, 31, of Bills Road will face a maximum of 1 to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced.

He admitted he had been drinking alcohol when he was stopped Dec. 7, 2013 on East State Street in Albion. Flanagan registered a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.23 percent and also was driving without a license.

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Kendall man, already sentenced to 4 years in prison, offered plea deal with child pornography charges

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 February 2017 at 1:29 pm

ALBION – David Perry, the Kendall man sentenced to 4 years in state prison on Dec. 13 for molesting girls, was offered a plea deal on Monday in County Court where he could face an additional 4 years in state prison for child pornography.

Perry, 68, of Norway Road was called a “child molester” by County Court Judge James Punch during sentencing on Dec. 13.

Perry faced a 1 ½ to 4-year sentence in prison. The judge gave Perry the maximum, saying he is “a serious danger to society.” Perry had pled guilty previously to sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of five girls ranging in age from 13 to 15. (Perry is now an inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility.)

Law enforcement had a search warrant for Perry’s house and computer and discovered approximately 15,000 images of suspected child pornography on Perry’s devices that were submitted for analysis. Many of the images found were children between the ages of 2 and 9 years of age, police said.

Perry appeared in court on Monday with his assigned counsel, Nathan Pace. District Attorney Joe Cardone presented Perry with a plea offer where he would face up to 4 years in state prison for possession of sexual performance by a child, a felony. Perry is facing 21 counts of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.

If Perry accepts the plea deal, Judge Punch would determine the length of sentence and whether it would be served with the current prison sentence or separately. There is a chance the case could be turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s office and Perry could face federal charges.

In other cases in County Court:

Evan J. Vanskiver, 24, of Hilton was sentenced to a year in the county jail for felony driving while intoxicated on Feb. 25, 2016 in Albion. Vanskiver has a prior conviction in Parma in 2014.

Jessica D. Hale, 26, of South Avenue in Medina pleaded guilty to felony DWI and will face up to a year in jail when she is sentenced on April 10. Hale said she had been drinking vodka when she was stopped by police on Sept. 29 on West Avenue in Shelby. Her Blood Alcohol Content was 0.17 percent two hours after being arrested.

• A Holley woman was arraigned for violating her probation. Jennifer McCarthy-Conklin, 41, was previously sentenced to the county jail for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Punch set bail at $25,000.

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Niagara County also makes arrests in alleged credit card scheming

Staff Reports Posted 1 February 2017 at 9:49 am

LOCKPORT – Three people arrested last week by the State Police for credit card scheming and identity theft now also face charges in Niagara County for similar crimes.

Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour announced on Tuesday that the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office obtained several warrants for the three men involved in recent credit card skimming and identity thefts in the Town of Lockport. The three accused are currently in custody in the Orleans County Jail on charges by the State Police.

The three now facing charges by Niagara County include: Ernesto Alvarez Santos, 20, of Hialeah, Florida; Able Garcia Fernandez, 31, of Hialeah, Florida; and Yordani Ramirez Salgado, 27, of Miami, Florida.

All three will be charged with Grand Larceny 4th degree, Identity Theft 1st degree, Forgery 2nd degree, and Criminal Possession of Forged Instrument 2nd degree.

The investigation is ongoing with the State Police, Voutour said.

The three were arrested on Jan. 24 in Albion when the State Police and federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation responded to Walmart in Albion for men attempting to use fraudulent gift cards, the State Police reported.

When Troopers and BCI investigators approached Ramirez-Salgado, he attempted to flee and resisted arrest.

Ramirez-Salgado was transported to the State Police barracks in Albion for processing. The other suspects fled the scene in a red Nissan Versa which was given out by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office. This vehicle was later located by an off-duty county dispatcher traveling on State Route 98. With the assistance of an Orleans County deputy that vehicle was stopped and Garcia-Fernandez, Alvarez-Santos where detained and transported to the State Police in Albion.

All three are in Orleans County Jail on $100,000 bail.

At this time it is possible that hundreds of credit card information has been taken.

If you are a victim of credit card fraud contact your County Dispatch non-emergency number.

Allegany County Sheriff’s Office      585-268-9600

Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office 716-938-9191

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office 716-664-3100

Erie County Sheriff’s Office              716-858-2903

Genesee County Sheriff’s Office       585-343-5000

Niagara County Sheriff’s Office        716-438-3394

Orleans County Sheriff’s Office        585-589-5528

Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office     585-786-2255

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2 plead guilty in large cocaine bust

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2017 at 4:52 pm

ALBION – Two men charged in Orleans County’s largest cocaine bust pled guilty today in Orleans County Court and could face up to 7 years in state prison.

Daniel Guzman

The two men were arrested on June 17 when they were allegedly trying to smuggle a kilo of cocaine from Texas into Orleans County.

Daniel Guzman, 29, of Houston, Texas and Luis Alberto Sanchez-Garza, 31, of Mexico each are in jail on $500,000 bail.

Luis Alberto Sanchez-Garza

They pled guilty to criminal possession of controlled substance in the second degree.

Guzman has at least one prior felony while Sanchez-Garza doesn’t have a prior felony but is an illegal alien who would likely be deported after serving his sentence, District Attorney Joe Cardone said this afternoon.

Law enforcement searched a vehicle on June 17 after getting a warrant. Police heard from an informant that Guzman and Sanchez-Graza were allegedly bringing the cocaine to Orleans County.

Police, including the Albion K9, searched the vehicle that was stopped on East Avenue in Albion and found 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine hidden in the engine compartment.

Cardone praised law enforcement for intercepting the cocaine, which was targeted for sale in Orleans County. Getting the drug off the street spared the community some misery from the drug, Cardone said.

The two will be sentenced in April.

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3 arrested in large credit card skimming scheme

Posted 26 January 2017 at 11:29 am

Ramirez-Salgado

Alvarez-Santos

Garcia-Fernandez

Press Release, State Police

ALBION – State Troopers and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) on Tuesday arrested Yordani Ramirez-Salgado, 27 of Miami, FL, Ernesto Alvarez-Santos, 20 of Hialeah, FL and Abel Garcia-Fernandez, 31 of Hialeah, FL for Forgery 2nd (D-Felony), Possession of a Forged Instrument 2nd (D-Felony), Grand Larceny 4th (E-Felony), Scheme to Defraud 1st (E-Felony), Conspiracy 5th (A-Misdemeanor) and Resisting Arrest (A-Misdemeanor).

On Tuesday at 1:59 pm, Troopers and BCI responded to Walmart in Albion for men attempting to use fraudulent gift cards. When Troopers and BCI investigators approached Ramirez-Salgado, he attempted to flee and resisted arrest.

Ramirez-Salgado was transported to the State Police barracks in Albion for processing. The other suspects fled the scene in a red Nissan Versa which was given out by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.  This vehicle was later located by an off duty county dispatcher traveling on State Route 98. With the assistance of an Orleans County deputy that vehicle was stopped and Garcia-Fernandez, Alvarez-Santos where detained and transported to the State Police in Albion.

All three were remanded to Orleans County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The three suspects have traveled from Florida to New York for the purpose of obtaining credit card information. These three suspects are believed to be a smaller part of a larger group of suspects who are using devices and the Internet to obtain credit card information.

The State Police is working with the Secret Service, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies in the area.

At this time it is possible that hundreds of credit card information has been taken.

This is still an ongoing criminal investigation.

If you are a victim of credit card fraud contact your County Dispatch non-emergency number.

Allegany County Sheriff’s Office      585-268-9600

Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office 716-938-9191

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office 716-664-3100

Erie County Sheriff’s Office              716-858-2903

Genesee County Sheriff’s Office       585-343-5000

Niagara County Sheriff’s Office        716-438-3394

Orleans County Sheriff’s Office        585-589-5528

Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office     585-786-2255

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Albion man facing federal child porn charges

Posted 25 January 2017 at 6:56 pm

Press Release, Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., Western District of New York

Christopher Ridder

BUFFALO – Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Christopher Ridder, 45, of Albion was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession of child pornography.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie O. Lamarque and Aaron J. Mango, who are handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on September 3, 2016, two Medina residents found a Samsung Centura smart phone in the trash in front of the former residence of the defendant on South Main St.

The following day, one of the individuals who found the phone charged it, began searching through it, and opened the Facebook application which automatically connected to Facebook account of the Ridder.

The phone also had pictures on it of individuals that the person knew as well as 75 images of young boys in various states of dress (bathing suits, underwear, etc.). Some pictures contained naked images of different boys. The individuals who found the phone turned the phone into the Village of Medina Police Department.

Further review of the phone and its contents by law enforcement officers uncovered a Facebook Messenger conversation that took place between Ridder and another individual. Officers also discovered another Facebook Messenger conversation between the defendant and second individual.

On October 18, 2016, an undercover officer logged into a Facebook account and contacted the defendant through Messenger. During the conversation, the defendant advised that he lived in Albion and stated, when describing himself to the officer,  wrote, “im  very  down  to  earth… very open minded…biggest fantasy is to be with a bf laying on a blanket nude in the woods.”

The officer replied, “sounds like boy scout retreat.” The defendant wrote back, “I been a boy scout… and yes… had a friend in it tht we messed around in our tent.. .I was 13 he was 12.” The officerE replied, “that’s wild, you ever still think about that now.” Ridder then wrote, “Ya… I wish I can have tht chance again with a bf.” As the conversation continued, the defendant told the officer, “Im a ped just like you. I know exactly how u get or feel…These laws… I hate them.”

The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer. Ridder is being held pending a detention hearing on Feb. 1, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen and the Medina Police Department, under the direction of Chief Chad Kenward.

Anyone with information about any minors that Ridder has had contact with can call the FBI at 716-843-1680.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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