- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 9, 2006


Packages linked to wounded man

Police last night were investigating two suspicious packages linked to a man who stabbed himself earlier yesterday at a U.S. House office building.

The man stabbed himself at the entrance to the Longworth House Office Building, U.S. Capitol Police said. He was taken to a hospital, where his condition was not known.

A backpack the man dropped was taken to a nearby building, which was evacuated after some suspicious items were discovered inside. The backpack and its contents were later determined not to be dangerous.

Investigators also located another package the man mailed near Union Station, and some entrances to the station were closed during the investigation.

Immigrant avoids deportation to Vietnam

A federal immigration judge has ruled that a Vietnamese immigrant accused of punching a high-ranking Vietnamese official visiting the District will not be deported.

Tuan Phuoc Le, 36, of Atlanta, pleaded guilty earlier this year in U.S. District Court to punching in the face Nguyen Quoc Huy, vice chairman of the Vietnamese prime minister’s office, during a protest at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in June 2005.

Le is a permanent resident of the U.S., the son of an American soldier who was killed in action in Vietnam. The guilty plea and a previous domestic assault conviction in California placed him in danger of being deported to Vietnam, where his attorneys said he likely would be tortured.

Judge Paul W. Schmidt ruled Thursday in Immigration Court in Arlington that Le can remain in the U.S. by granting his request for “withholding of removal.”

Parastoo Zahedi, Le’s Vienna, Va.-based immigration attorney, said prosecutors agreed to the ruling and waived an appeal.

“The judge granted withholding [of removal] and the government surprisingly agreed with it,” she said. “Tuan was very relieved and very happy.”

Le was sentenced to nine months in prison with credit for time already served for punching Mr. Huy. He also was ordered to pay $550 in restitution, $100 in assessment costs and serve three years’ probation.

He is scheduled to begin serving the sentence next month, officials said.



Man arrested in road-rage case

A Glen Burnie man who police said threatened another driver with a knife is in police custody, authorities said.

Justin Uchendu, 22, was charged with first-degree assault after following a man to his job at an auto repair shop on West Street in Annapolis.

The police investigation indicated the victim cut Mr. Uchendu off in traffic, prompting what police called road rage.

The victim called police Wednesday, saying a man had followed and threatened him. Other employees at the business joined the victim after he was threatened with a large knife, authorities said.

Police said Mr. Uchendu yelled that he had a gun and was going to shoot the employees. While police were interviewing the victim, Mr. Uchendu returned with a friend. After questioning Mr. Uchendu, police arrested him.



Scandal leads state to drop charges

The federal indictment of Henry County’s former sheriff and a dozen past and present members of his department has led prosecutors to drop charges against 28 persons because of the taint of corruption, officials said.

The charges include 16 felony drug counts and 25 misdemeanor and traffic infractions.

“These charges could not be effectively prosecuted without the testimony of one or more individuals currently under federal indictment,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell said Thursday. “Given the circumstances, I have determined that the appropriate action is to drop these charges.”

H. Franklin Cassell, the former sheriff, pleaded not guilty last month to charges related to a scheme to sell drugs seized from criminal suspects.

An indictment returned in October accused Mr. Cassell, 68, of looking the other way as officers sold drugs seized in criminal investigations and also stole guns and other evidence. He is charged with impeding federal investigators and money laundering.

Mr. Cassell has retired since the indictment was returned.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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