- - Thursday, May 7, 2009

ARIZONA

Mother helps bust Ecstasy dealers

PHOENIX — Police are crediting a Phoenix-area mother’s tip for the dismantling of an drug ring that even had a price list posted on MySpace.

The woman’s call to the Maricopa County Methamphetamine Task Force last week helped authorities find the dealers’ MySpace page. By Tuesday, police said 10 Ecstasy dealers in Phoenix and nearby cities were under arrest. Authorities said they had a combined clientele of nearly 500 high school and college students.

Undercover detectives were able to buy the drug from dealers in parks, restaurants and other public places. Police said that if a dealer ran out, he simply referred the agents to other suppliers.

CALIFORNIA

2 Marine pilots killed in crash

ALPINE — A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed in a remote section of a Southern California forest, killing two experienced pilots, authorities said Wednesday.

The pilots from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed shortly before midnight Tuesday in the Cleveland National Forest in eastern San Diego County. They were the only two people on board, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar said in a statement.

The two were part of an air-combat unit that was preparing to go overseas, said Maj. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman.

“To get to this level, these Marines have been through extensive, in-depth, very serious training,” Maj. Delarosa said. “They were at the top of their game.”

The AH-1W is a two-seat, twin-engine attack helicopter that can be armed with cannon, rockets and guided missiles.

MICHIGAN

Cable problem causes GM recall

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling about 300 new Chevrolet Camaro sports cars because a battery cable could rub against the starter motor, wearing the insulation and potentially causing the car to stop running or fail to start.

The voluntary recall applies only to Camaros with V-8 engines. The company said in extreme cases the cable problem could cause a fire, but no fires have been reported.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said the company has made about 1,400 of the V-8 equipped 2010 Camaros and 300 have been sold. The unsold models will be fixed before they are delivered to customers.

It will take dealerships about 30 minutes to reroute the positive battery cable so it doesn’t come in contact with the starter motor housing, Mr. Flores said.

MISSISSIPPI

Mayor in hospital after polls close

JACKSON — An unsuccessful primary bid turned more serious as Frank Melton, 60, the indicted mayor of the state’s largest city, was rushed to a hospital Tuesday shortly after polls closed in the Democratic mayoral primary.

Mr. Melton was being treated Wednesday in a Jackson hospital, said city spokeswoman Goldia Revies. He has a history of serious heart trouble.

The City Council planned an emergency meeting later Wednesday “to ensure the efficient continuation of city business,” said Miss Revies.

The primary loss came as Mr. Melton faced another difficult situation: Next week, he was expected to face trial a second time on federal civil rights charges related to a 2006 attack on a duplex he considered a crack house.

NEW MEXICO

Apache kin battle over remains

MESCALERO — A group of descendants of the Apache leader Geronimo is suing to stop another descendant from moving the American Indian icon’s bones from Oklahoma to New Mexico.

Phillip Thompson, an attorney for the Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, said his group and a man claiming to be a great-grandson of Geronimo filed motions Tuesday to request that the remains be undisturbed.

The move comes in response to a lawsuit filed in February by Harlyn Geronimo, who also claims to be a great-grandson of Geronimo. He wants to ship the remains from Fort Sill, where Geronimo died in 1909, to southwestern New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness.

NEW YORK

Bristol Palin touts teen abstinence

NEW YORK — Unwed mother Bristol Palin said Wednesday that abstinence is a realistic way for teens to avoid unwanted pregnancy — a view not shared by the father of her infant son.

Miss Palin,18, daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she wishes she’d waited to have sex. She was in New York to help promote National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Day.

“Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way you can effectively, 100 percent foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy,” Miss Palin said.

Her comments were a turnaround from what she told Fox News in February, that teens should avoid sex, but abstinence is “not realistic at all.”

“Abstinence is a great idea,” Levi Johnston, Miss Palin’s former fiance and the father of her 4-month-old baby, Tripp, told “CBS This Morning.” “But I also think you need to enforce, you know, condoms and birth control and other things like that to have safe sex. I don’t just think telling young kids, ‘You can’t have sex,’ it’s not going to work.”

NEW YORK

Second car crash in Cage filming

NEW YORK — Nine people, including some crew members working on a Nicolas Cage film, were being treated Wednesday for minor injuries at city hospitals after a sport utility vehicle hit a parked car near the movie set.

It was second crash this week involving the film “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” The most recent happened about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Times Square.

The SUV’s driver told reporters she tried to avoid hitting a taxicab and instead struck a parked car. Both vehicles jumped the curb, where some crew members were sitting under a marquee. It’s unclear how many crew members were among the injured. Police are investigating.

Early Monday, a Ferrari crashed into a restaurant blocks away from Wednesday’s accident during filming of a chase scene for the movie. Two people suffered minor injuries.

NORTH CAROLINA

Informants make Blackwater claims

RALEIGH — A defense contractor charged with trying to smuggle firearms out of Iraq claimed Blackwater guards asked him to help get rid of weapons after a deadly 2007 shooting in Baghdad, two government informants say in court documents.

The man told one of the informants, a U.S. Army reservist, that Blackwater guards wanted to dispose of the weapons before an investigation began into the September 2007 shooting that left several civilians dead, according to a criminal complaint filed in the smuggling case. The contractor, John Houston, did not work for Blackwater.

Five of Blackwater’s guards face manslaughter and weapons charges in the shooting, which prosecutors say was an unprovoked attack on civilians. That shooting strained relations between Baghdad and Washington and led Iraqi leaders to order Blackwater out of the country.

A spokeswoman said the North Carolina-based company, now known as Xe, only recently learned of Mr. Houston’s claims and has never been contacted by investigators about them.

“This individual’s claims may make for a juicy story, but time may tell a more truthful one,” spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said in a release.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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