Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Ex-stockbroker on ‘Most Wanted’ list

PHOENIX — Paul Merle Eischeid, a former Charles Schwab stockbroker who joined the Hells Angels motorcycle club, is the newest addition to the U.S. Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” fugitives list — sought in connection with the brutal slaying of a Phoenix woman.

Eischeid also is being sought by federal authorities for fleeing indictments on racketeer influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) charges and violent crime in aid of racketeering. Due to his career as a stockbroker and his clean criminal record, he had been released on his personal recognizance and placed on federal pretrial release with electronic monitoring.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix asked the U.S. marshals to assist in apprehending Eischeid, 35, for questioning in the death of Cynthia Yvonne Garcia, 44, who was killed in 2001 after a party at the Hells Angels’ clubhouse in Mesa, Ariz.


Wildfire breaches containment line

MEYERS — Firefighters trying to tame a raging wildfire that has destroyed about 200 homes near Lake Tahoe yesterday suffered a setback when the blaze jumped a fire line, forcing a new round of evacuations, authorities said.

Firefighters were working to protect a development outside South Lake Tahoe when the blaze expanded, prompting the evacuation of a 300-home subdivision. About 2,000 people evacuated, according to South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Martin Hale.

Authorities also issued a voluntary evacuation order for a pricey waterfront subdivision on the lake, officials said.

The flare-up is about three miles from where the fire started Sunday near the south end of Lake Tahoe. By yesterday afternoon, the blaze had consumed more than 2,700 acres — about 4.2 square miles — and was about 40 percent contained, fire officials said.


2 rescued from car stuck in flood

OKLAHOMA CITY — Teenage sisters had to be rescued yesterday from a car stalled in bumper-deep water rushing over a flooded road in a residential area of the city.

Streams overflowed in many parts of Oklahoma yesterday, blocking roads and flooding several homes and businesses.

Television news video showed a firefighter in an inflatable raft rescuing the two 16-year-olds from the car, pulling them one at a time through an opened window. Twins Lauren and Lindsey Penn were both in good condition, said fire department spokesman Tony Young.

About an inch of rain had fallen in the Oklahoma City area over the previous 24 hours, while other locations of the state had received several inches of rain. Rain has fallen daily in the area over the past two weeks.

Earlier yesterday, flooding in Texas closed streets and damaged houses and other structures in the Austin area.


Police say boy, 7, fatally shot cousin, 8

BOSTON — Boston police questioned a 7-year-old boy yesterday who they say shot and killed his 8-year-old cousin with an illegal gun.

The family had told police three armed intruders burst into their home and gunned down LaQuarrie Jefferson on Sunday night. But after further interviews with family members, the truth emerged Monday as the boy died in a hospital.

The victim’s mother, Lakeisha Gadson, 30, apologized for lying and said the slaying was a tragic accident. She had briefly disappeared with the 7-year-old and police started a citywide search for the two.

Police spokeswoman Sharon Dottin said the 7-year-old and Ms. Gadson were interviewed by police after voluntarily coming to police headquarters but declined to say if charges would be pressed. The boy can be charged as a juvenile.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the gun was illegal.


Slaying suspect attempts suicide

RENO — A man accused of killing his wife — former Nevada Controller Kathy Augustine — attempted suicide by slashing his wrists a day after testifying in his own defense, authorities said yesterday.

Washoe County District Judge Steven Kosach suspended the trial after Chaz Higgs was found early yesterday in a Reno apartment he shared with his mother, defense attorney David Houston said in court. Mr. Houston said Mr. Higgs slit his wrists during the night with a knife and was taken to a Reno hospital.

Mr. Higgs, 43, had been expected to face tough questioning from prosecutors yesterday, after testifying Monday that he was not guilty and that he loved Mrs. Augustine even though he had decided to leave her.

The judge revoked Mr. Higgs’ $250,0000 bail and ordered both sides to return to court today. He did not call a mistrial, but said he would not rule out the possibility if Mr. Higgs’ recovery is lengthy.


Corzine crash trooper drives governor again

TRENTON — The state trooper who was at the wheel during Gov. Jon Corzine’s near-fatal SUV crash is once again ferrying the governor even though he faces a suspension for his role in the wreck.

Mr. Corzine told WCBS radio in New York yesterday that he is “absolutely confident” in Trooper Robert Rasinski — “so confident that he drove for me on Saturday.”

A state police accident review board last week found Trooper Rasinski could have prevented the April 12 crash, which happened as Trooper Rasinski drove 91 mph in a 65 mph zone with the SUV’s emergency lights flashing.

The head of the state police, Col. Rick Fuentes, has recommended Trooper Rasinski be suspended without pay for up to five days for breaking department rules. A letter released last week did not specify which rules were broken.

Mr. Corzine noted those findings, but still credited Trooper Rasinski.

“In the midst of the accident, he did everything he possibly could do to protect me and the other people in the car,” Mr. Corzine said.


29 persons charged with smuggling

BROOKLYN — Federal authorities yesterday charged 29 persons in three separate complaints with conspiracy to smuggle more than 950 shipments of merchandise into the United States, principally from China, through ports of entry at New Jersey, California and New York.

They also were charged with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. Four others were also charged with money laundering.

The charges are the result of a 19-month coordinated initiative by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who — through cooperating witnesses, undercover agents and video and audio surveillance — seized counterfeit merchandise valued at $700 million.

A criminal complaint in the case said those involved sought to smuggle merchandise, both counterfeit and authentic, including counterfeit Coach, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga handbags, Rolex watches and Nike footwear, through John F. Kennedy International Airport and ports of entry at Newark, N.J.; New York Container Terminal in Staten Island, N.Y.; and Long Beach, Calif.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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