Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Cocaine seizure an Arkansas record

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. More than 10 tons of cocaine valued by authorities at $125 million was confiscated from a transport truck in what Arkansas authorities said yesterday was the largest cocaine seizure in the state’s history.

Randy Ort, spokesman for the state’s Department of Transportation, said state highway policemen were inspecting a tractor-trailer rig on Interstate 30 near Hope, Ark., when they uncovered processed cocaine hidden in a shipment of cantaloupes.

The truck driver and a passenger, both believed to be Oklahoma residents, were arrested and jailed in the town of Hope.

Girl Scouts sued by male employee

NEW YORK A graphic designer for the Girl Scouts has filed a discrimination lawsuit accusing the organization of denying him job promotions because he is a man, according to court records made public yesterday.

Joseph Picca’s lawsuit says that during his 15 years working at the Girl Scouts’ New York headquarters, he was denied one promotion and barred from applying for two others.

Leonard Flamm, Mr. Picca’s attorney, said he will seek class-action status for the case to include the approximately 115 male employees at Girl Scouts corporate headquarters.

It will not include the numerous councils throughout the nation that deal directly with scouting activity, he said.

Intruder gets into Blair House

An intruder made his way into the official U.S. guest residence opposite the White House on a day Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was staying there last week, the U.S. Secret Service said yesterday.

Secret Service spokesman Mark Connolly said the intruder, identified as Dipal Pandya, was arrested Saturday evening on a unlawful entry charge at the Blair House guest residence.

“The incident is under investigation. The prime minister was not in the Blair House at the time and was not in any danger,” Mr. Connolly said.

Mr. Vajpayee stayed at the house Saturday night and was under Secret Service protection during his visit to the United States, Mr. Connolly said. He declined to comment on the security arrangements for Blair House.

Mr. Pandya, 27, of Matewan, N.J., was charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful entry and released on his own recognizance. A trial was set for Oct. 31 in D.C. Superior Court, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Portland’s immigration chief to retire soon

PORTLAND, Ore. The city’s top Immigration and Naturalization Service official, under fire for the agency’s treatment of foreign visitors, will retire in two weeks, the agency announced yesterday.

Elected officials called for the resignation of David Beebe, 55, last month after a Chinese businesswoman was forced to undergo a strip search and was jailed for two days after inspectors incorrectly thought her passport might have been altered.

During Mr. Beebe’s watch, the city was dubbed “Deportland” by some Asians because of reports of unfair treatment of Japanese and other travelers at Portland International Airport.

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