American Scene

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KINSTON — An undercover drug buy led North Carolina detectives to an underground marijuana garden in a buried school bus.

Multiple media outlets reported Thursday the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for the source of the marijuana for three years and had been flying over the area with a helicopter.

Then sheriff’s narcotics officers bought several pounds of pot in a recent undercover buy. Sgt. Eddie Eubanks said officers traced the pot to a rural residence.

A search dog fell through a camouflaged trap door leading down to a full-length school bus buried 8 feet under a backyard tool shed.

Deputies seized 68 plants, each 4 feet tall and weighing about 35 pounds. Sgt. Eubanks said the plants were worth about $40,000.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-inspector charged in child-sex sting

STROUDSBURG — A former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq is facing child-sex charges.

Scott Ritter of Delmar, N.Y., is charged in Pennsylvania with unlawful sexual contact with a minor for alleged online exchanges with police posing as a 15-year-old girl. The Pocono Record first reported the case Thursday.

Monroe County authorities said they traced the exchange through his cell-phone number. Police said Mr. Ritter gave them a video of him masturbating during an Internet chat.

TENNESSEE

Man pleads guilty in plot to kill Obama

JACKSON — An Arkansas man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he plotted to kill then-Sen. Barack Obama and dozens of other black people in 2008.

Paul Schlesselman, 19, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and harm a presidential candidate and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in April.

A co-defendant, Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tenn., remains in custody. They were arrested in October 2008 and have been held without bond since.

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