Niagara Gazette

May 13, 2013

Interim probation granted in Falls gun case

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

LOCKPORT —

A Falls man, who was arrested while packing a loaded handgun and who police suspect of trying to rip-off a drug dealer, has been given a chance to avoid time behind bars.

Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III sentenced Michael Loverdi to six months of interim probation on Monday. Loverdi will return to court in October for a final sentencing.

Loverdi had faced up to seven years in prison for his guilty plea to a single count of attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was expected to be released from the Niagara County Jail, where he has been held for almost a year while his case was pending, as early as Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors had no comment on Murphy's interim sentence.

While Loverdi has avoided prison, his co-defendant, Michael Ramos is serving a five-year prison term for his guilty plea to counts of attempted second-degree possession of a weapon in the drug dealer rip-off case and attempted second-degree burglary in an unrelated incident.

The pair were caught packing pistols when they showed up at the door of a Third Street drug dealer on April 26, 2012. What they didn't know was that Falls narcotics detectives were already at the dealer's apartment that day, executing a search warrant.

After knocking on the apartment door, Ramos and Loverdi encountered then-Narcotics Division Lt. Bryan DalPorto at the door.

“I looked out the peep hole and there were two guys there. One was covering his face with a baseball cap and the other had his hoodie up over his head,” DalPorto said at the time. “You could tell they were up to no good.”

As the two men went to walk away, DalPorto went to stop them. As he did, he noticed that both Ramos and Loverdi had their hands in their pockets and appeared to be holding on to something. Veteran Narcotics Detective John Galie, who had been searching the apartment, heard DalPorto talking and went to make sure there were “no problems.”

“As soon as I walked out there, I just had this sense that something was wrong,” Galie said. “I could just tell. The one guy (Ramos) had his hands in his pockets and he refused to take them out.”

Galie repeatedly told Ramos, to get his hands out of his pockets. Instead, Ramos began to turn away from Galie and the detective saw him begin to take something out of his waistband.

“I reached in to grab his hands and I felt a gun,” Galie said.

As Galie struggled with Ramos for control of the weapon, DalPorto yelled at Loverdi, to get his hands out of his pockets as well. When Loverdi refused to show his hands, DalPorto took him to the floor and as he struggled to move the suspect’s hands from underneath him, he felt a handgun in his pocket.

Ramos had a loaded snub-noised .38-caliber handgun. Loverdi was packing a loaded .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Both guns had been stolen in a burglary in the Falls.

DalPorto and Galie said they believed Ramos and Loverdi had come to the apartment to conduct a home invasion-style robbery of the drug dealer there.

Both Ramos and Loverdi have lengthy and violent criminal records.