- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009


Explorers may lose vast treasure

TAMPA | A federal judge says deep-sea explorers based in Florida should give 17 tons of shipwreck treasure back to Spain.

Odyssey Marine Exploration said Thursday it will fight a federal magistrate judge’s recommendation that the estimated $500 million in silver coins and other 19th century artifacts go to the Spanish government.

Another federal judge will consider the recommendation and decide.

Tampa-based Odyssey has been locked in a court battle with Spain over the ownership of the treasure since announcing the find in May 2007.

Federal magistrate judge Mark Pizzo wrote in an order Wednesday that Spain is the rightful owner of the treasure, which was being carried by a Spanish navy galleon when it sank southwest of Portugal in 1804.


Police: Mom stabs driver in dispute

NEW ORLEANS | Authorities say a woman who was repeatedly asked to fold up her baby’s stroller on a New Orleans city bus refused, then poured milk on the driver before stabbing her in the chest.

New Orleans police and transit officials tell the Times-Picayune newspaper that the veteran Regional Transit Authority driver suffered a 4-inch deep wound but she survived.

Authorities say 17-year-old Darrion Scott boarded the bus with her 2 1/2-year-old baby and was asked to fold up the stroller. Authorities say Ms. Scott tore the top off the baby’s bottle of milk and poured it on the driver before stabbing her.

She has been charged with aggravated battery.

The driver, Hanella Johnson, was released from the hospital Wednesday. She has been an RTA driver for 18 years.


Triplet gives birth to own set of three

DETROIT | A Michigan woman who’s one-third of a set of triplets is celebrating the birth of her own three babies.

Amber Ali delivered Amir, Armann and Amari Whitaker on May 26 at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. The 23-year-old woman tells the Detroit News she’s relieved the boys arrived safely.

The children remain hospitalized, and Ms. Ali says she’s looking forward to playing with them. She says: “It’s going to be fun.”

Amir was 4 pounds, 5 ounces at birth; Amari was 4 pounds, 3 ounces; and Armann was 3 pounds, 12 ounces. The babies’ 25-year-old father, Andre Whitaker, says that naming the triplets “took forever.”


Officers accused of drug smuggling

ST. LOUIS | Three corrections officers at the St. Louis Justice Center are accused of smuggling heroin to an inmate inside the jail.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Reap announced the indictments Thursday.

Mr. Reaps says that on several occasions between January and March, the corrections officers received purported heroin and cash payments from someone outside the jail and delivered the drug to an inmate.

A grand jury indicted 36-year-old James Lamont Moore and 54-year-old Marilyn Denise Brown on one count of attempted distribution of heroin. Forty-eight-year-old Peggy Lynn O’Neal was indicted on two counts of attempted distribution of heroin.

Calls seeking comment from city officials were not immediately returned.


Boy dies of plague; sister recovering

ALBUQUERQUE | New Mexico health officials say an 8-year-old boy has died after contracting bubonic plague and his 10-year-old sister, who also contracted the illness, is hospitalized and recovering.

The state Health Department announced the boy’s death Thursday, saying the siblings’ cases are the first human plague cases in the nation so far this year.

Health officials are conducting an environmental investigation at the family’s Santa Fe County residence to determine whether there is any ongoing risk to people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an average of 10 to 15 people contract the plague each year in the United States. Modern antibiotics are an effective treatment.


Neighbors who beat man not charged

PHILADELPHIA | Philadelphia’s police commissioner says there will be no charges against neighbors who beat a man sought for questioning in the rape of an 11-year-old girl.

About a dozen residents of the city’s West Kensington neighborhood pummeled 26-year-old Jose Carrasquillo for several minutes Tuesday before police arrived.

He was arrested on an unrelated warrant but hasn’t been charged with rape. He remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey says charges won’t be filed against the residents, and adds he doesn’t condone violence.

The group recognized Mr. Carrasquillo from a photo released by police, who called him a person of interest in the girl’s rape on Monday.

The girl has been released from the hospital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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