- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2007

U.S. extradites drug suspects

The U.S. government has extradited three men from Thailand to stand trial on charges of operating an international heroin-trafficking organization that routed the drug from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma and northern Thailand throughout the world, including the United States.

Yaya Yahayai, Henry Sichone and Andrew Sarpong, who are accused of conspiracy in a scheme to distribute heroin globally, were charged as part of “Operation Ivory Triangle,” said John P. Gilbride, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge.

According to indictments handed up in U.S. District Court in New York, Mr. Yahayai headed the drug trafficking organization from August 2004 until December 2005, assisted by Mr. Sichone, operating mainly out of a storefront in Bangkok.

The indictments said members of the organization transported the heroin through human couriers, mail, cargo shipments and other means.

Richardson plans presidential run

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson intends to take the initial step toward the Democratic nomination, hoping his extensive resume will fuel an insurgent campaign to become the first Hispanic president.

Mr. Richardson plans to announce tomorrow that he will soon file the papers to create a presidential exploratory committee, several officials with knowledge of his plans said yesterday. The governor is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Richardson, 59, is a former congressman, U.N. ambassador and Energy Department secretary.

Border shooting images not clear

BISBEE, Ariz. — A deadly Border Patrol shooting that drew criticism from Mexico’s president was recorded by surveillance cameras, but the images are not clear, authorities said.

The Border Patrol is trying to have the tape digitally enhanced to show more detail of the Jan. 12 confrontation east of Bisbee, said Michael Nicley, chief of the agency’s Tucson Sector.

Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, 22, of Puebla, Mexico, was fatally shot by an agent who had responded to a call about a group of seven persons crossing the desert.

Mondale criticizes vice president

ATHENS, Ga. — Vice President Dick Cheney has bullied federal agencies and given absurd advice about the nation’s risk and Iraq, Walter Mondale said yesterday.

“I think that Cheney has stepped way over the line,” the former vice president said at the opening of a three-day conference about former President Jimmy Carter at the University of Georgia.

“I think Cheney’s been at the center of cooking up farcical estimates of national risks, weapons of mass destruction and the 9/11 connection to Iraq,” Mr. Mondale said.

Responding to Mr. Mondale’s comments, Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cheney, said: “Twice elected to serve with President Bush, the vice president is committed to protecting Americans from those who wish to do us harm.”

Navy relieves sub commander

The Navy said yesterday it had relieved the commander of a nuclear submarine that was involved in an incident that killed two sailors.

On Dec. 29, rough seas swept four American sailors from the deck of the submarine off the coast of southwestern England. The USS Minneapolis-St. Paul was leaving Plymouth harbor when the sailors were knocked into the water by surging waves. The four men were taken to a hospital in Plymouth, where two were pronounced dead.

According to officials, an initial review determined the incident was avoidable and due in part to a poor decision by the commander. A formal investigation is still under way. He was identified by the Navy as Cmdr. Edwin Ruff.

According to the Navy, Cmdr. Ruff was reassigned to a shore-based post in Norfolk.

Teen fatally stabs classmate in fight

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — A 15-year-old boy was fatally stabbed yesterday in a hallway at his high school in this affluent Boston suburb, and a classmate was charged with murder after blurting out, “I did it, I did it,” authorities said.

Investigators would not comment on a motive for the attack.

John Odgren, 16, pleaded not guilty in the killing of 15-year-old James Alenson and was jailed without bail. He was to be tried as an adult.

The teen’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, said his client has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and has been taking medications for many years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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