- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2007


Border Patrol agents rescue boy in desert

TUCSON — U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued a 5-year-old boy in the desert this week after he became separated from his parents.

Border Patrol spokesman Rob Daniels said the rescue occurred after agents assigned to the Ajo, Ariz., station spotted a group of 30 persons crossing illegally into the United States southeast of Lukeville, Ariz. He said the agents were able to apprehend 15 members of the group and as the others fled into the desert, the boy turned up missing.

Mr. Daniels said an air and ground search was initiated immediately and after a few hours of searching, agents located the child and four others at an abandoned house in the village of Pisinemo, on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.

He said the child, whose name was not released, appeared to be in good health and was anxious to be reunited with his parents. The family of three, from the Mexican state of Guerrero, was processed along with the others in the group, and all were granted voluntary returns to Mexico.


Media mogul pledges millions for research

LOS ANGELES — Sumner Redstone, the media mogul who controls both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., pledged $105 million yesterday to fund cancer and burn research at three major U.S. health care centers.

Mr. Redstone, 83, whose net worth is estimated at $7.5 billion by Forbes magazine, will give $35 million each over five years to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Cedars-Sinai Prostate Cancer Center in Los Angeles and FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions in Washington.

Mr. Redstone nearly died in a 1979 Boston hotel fire and suffered third-degree burns over a major portion of his body. He also was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past but was treated and has fully recovered, a Viacom spokesman said.


Marijuana lab blast injures Miami man

MIAMI — An explosion set fire to a Miami house being used to grow marijuana hydroponically yesterday and the force of the blast sent the occupant flying into the yard, police said.

The man, identified by police as Edel Mesa, 40, was badly burned on the chest, arms and legs and was in critical condition at a trauma hospital, investigators said.

Firefighters extinguished the flames and called police, who seized more than 40 marijuana plants from the home, police said.


Wildfires threaten wildlife refuge

WAYCROSS — Two fast-burning wildfires have forced more than 1,000 people from their homes, spread over nearly 30,000 acres of tinder-dry forest in southeast Georgia and were threatening the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation’s oldest and best preserved wetland areas, officials said yesterday.

Georgia’s two U.S. senators announced yesterday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in response to a request from Gov. Sonny Perdue, has agreed to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs.

The largest blaze, ignited Monday when a tree fell on a power line, has blackened about 25,000 acres near Waycross as it raced southwest toward the Okefenokee Swamp, officials said.


Soldier dies, wounded during live-fire drill

FORT CAMPBELL — A soldier with the 101st Airborne Division was killed during a nighttime live-fire exercise at Fort Campbell early yesterday, the Army said.

The soldier was hit by small arms fire and taken to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, where he died of his wounds about 4 a.m., Fort Campbell said.

The soldier’s name was not released. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team at the sprawling Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line.

The death is under investigation by military officials.


Bomb threat forces evacuation of college

MINNEAPOLIS — Seven buildings at the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus were evacuated yesterday after a professor discovered a bomb threat.

The professor found a note in Smith Hall that included a bomb threat against several campus buildings. The buildings, including a library, were evacuated and classes in those buildings were canceled for the day.

The threat came two days after a 23-year-old Virginia Tech student killed 33 persons on campus, including himself. Universities and public schools in several states have ordered temporary lockdowns or evacuations since Monday’s rampage. Some of those threats mentioned the Virginia Tech massacre.

University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness said he was aware of the empty threats made against many schools across the country since Monday, but he couldn’t discount the chance of a real attack.


22 persons indicted in drug conspiracy

ALBANY — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in New York yesterday said a federal grand jury has returned indictments against 22 persons in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in New York and elsewhere.

DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride said that between May 2006 and January, a distribution network that called itself the “Cocaine Cowboys” was responsible for distributing crack and powder cocaine throughout New York’s Capital Region.

Those indicted face maximum sentences of life in prison, with a statutory minimum penalty of imprisonment of 10 years if convicted, and fines between $4 million and $8 million.


Smoking helps save woman’s life

ROCK HILL — Smoking just might have saved Brenda Comer’s life.

She said she had just finished washing dishes Monday and stepped outside to smoke a cigarette when an 80-foot oak tree crashed through her roof, landing across the sink where she had been standing seconds before.

“Honey, I know you fuss at me for smoking,” Mrs. Comer said she told her husband. “But today it saved my life.”

The tree, felled by strong wind, also missed the couple’s adult daughter, who was at the other end of the house.

The family’s insurance agent said they could not live there after the tree cut the kitchen and living room in half, scattering the contents of the kitchen cabinets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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