- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Colombian drug lord faces U.S. charges

NEW YORK The reputed leader of one of Colombia's most powerful drug cartels was brought into a U.S. court for the first time yesterday to face cocaine-trafficking charges.
Alberto Orlandez Gamboa arrived in New York under tight security Saturday after Colombian President Andres Pastrana and his Cabinet approved his extradition, despite death threats by drug dealers.
Appearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Gamboa, 44, sat impassively as prosecutors portrayed him as the mastermind of a decadelong scheme to smuggle an estimated 8 tons of cocaine worth more than a billion dollars from Colombia to the United States.

Missing army officer turns up in Israel

A U.S. military intelligence official who was reported to have turned up in Israel yesterday was under investigation for adultery at the time he went absent without leave from his post in Texas, officials said.
Lt. Col. Jeremiah Mattysse, who failed to return to his post Aug. 7 after going on vacation, was found in the Negev desert area and voluntarily submitted to police questioning, Israeli police said.
Col. Mattysse, 49, was charged with going absent without leave, desertion and conduct unbecoming an officer on Aug. 11, four days after failing to turn up for work, said Joseph Hanley, spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserve.
Israeli newspapers said Col. Mattysse, who joined the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect Habad, is believed to have entered Israel from Cyprus under a false identity and could be carrying sensitive U.S. army documents.

Death toll rises in pipeline blast

CARLSBAD, N.M. The death toll from a natural gas explosion rose to 11 yesterday, with one survivor in critical condition.

Bobby Smith, 43, died at a hospital in Texas yesterday. His daughter-in-law, Amanda Smith, 25, remained in critical condition.

The 11th death occurred as National Transportation Safety Board investigators found pipeline corrosion and a thinning of the pipe's wall in a 22-foot section that was blown off the pipeline, agency spokesman Keith Holloway said last night.

"Today, we visibly observed a significant amount of corrosion at the bottom of the pipeline," Mr. Holloway said. "The corrosion was along the pipe. Also we noticed some wall thinning, as well."

The NTSB has found no cause for the blast, Mr. Holloway said. It will be months before a report is released, he said. The NTSB team expects to gather evidence at the scene through tomorrow.

Skydiver killed in bid to set record

OTTAWA, Ill. Two men collided during an attempt to break the world record of 282 skydivers in a free-fall formation, killing one and leaving the other critically injured.
Paul L. Adams, 54, of Missoula, Mont., died Sunday during the collision with 22-year-old Kenneth Reed of Holts Summit, Mo.
In a free-fall formation, parachutes are opened in waves. Skydivers from the outer, middle and inner rings of the flower-shaped formation open their chutes at different times and altitudes to avoid collisions.
Roger Nelson, Skydive Chicago program director and jump participant, said participants from two waves somehow crossed.

Heche hospitalized in confused state

LOS ANGELES Actress Anne Heche, whose high-profile 3 and 1/2-year romance with comedian Ellen DeGeneres ended this weekend, was hospitalized hours later after walking into a rural central California home in a confused state, police said yesterday.
Miss Heche, 31, was taken to University Medical Center in the central California city of Fresno on Sunday after officers determined the star of "Six Days, Seven Nights" was suffering from "medical issues," said a Sheriff's Department spokesman in Fresno County.
The Fresno Bee newspaper, reporting on its Web site, cited unnamed sources as saying she appeared to be under the influence of a substance, most likely the drug Ecstasy.
Miss Heche was treated and released and later boarded an Air Canada flight for Toronto.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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