- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Prosecutors: Plans for terror defendants’ release ‘untested’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Three men accused of trying to leave Minnesota to join the Islamic State group have not renounced the group’s violent ideology, and proposals for their pretrial release won’t adequately protect the community or guarantee that they’ll show up for court, prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday.

The document was filed in advance of Wednesday hearings on defense attorneys’ proposals to release Hamza Naj Ahmed, 21, and Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman and Hanad Mustafe Musse, both 19. The men, Americans of Somali decent, are among seven people recently charged with plotting to join the terror group in Syria.

The proposals were crafted by the defense with input from Somali community members and religious leaders. They include options for housing, religious education, volunteering and other activities that defense attorneys say are designed to steer the men in a positive direction, assure the community’s safety and ensure the men attend court hearings.

Prosecutors disagree.

“Jobs, family, school and attendance at mosque did not stop the defendants from trying to flee before, and will not stop them from trying again,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter wrote.


Child sickened by amoeba in western Minnesota lake

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota health officials say a child has been sickened by a rare brain infection after swimming in a lake in Pope County.

The state Department of Health said Tuesday the child became critically ill after swimming in Lake Minnewaska in western Minnesota.

Officials suspect the child contracted a form of parasitic meningitis.

The disease is caused by an amoeba often found in warm bodies of freshwater. The amoeba reaches the brain after contaminated water is inhaled through the nose, although health officials say that occurrence is rare.

The infections are more common in warm southern states. Thirty-five cases were reported in the U.S. from 2005 through 2014, including single cases in Minnesota in 2010 and 2012. Both Minnesota cases were linked to a lake in Washington County.


Minnesota coin dealer gets 12 years in prison for fraud

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Twin Cities coin and bullion dealer has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for orchestrating a $1.3 million fraud scheme.

Fifty-four-year-old Dennis Helmer of Farmington also was ordered Tuesday to pay restitution.

Federal prosecutors say Helmer defrauded dozens of elderly victims.

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1He91Lehttps://strib.mn/1He91Le ) reports Helmer told U.S. District Judge David Doty at his sentencing that he takes responsibility for his crimes, but went on to blame others.

After serving his prison time, Helmer will be on three years of supervised release.


2 dead after apparent overdoses in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - Rochester police are investigating the deaths of two people from apparent drug overdoses.

Police say a 35-year-old woman was found around 4 p.m. Monday in her apartment after neighbors complained of a foul odor.

The Post-Bulletin (https://bit.ly/1Mc8gU6https://bit.ly/1Mc8gU6 ) reports the woman had been dead for several days. Police says drug paraphernalia, including syringes, was found at the scene.

About three hours later, Apache Mall security on a routine check discovered a 25-year-old man, believed to be from Chatfield, dead in a bathroom stall.

Police Capt. Capt. John Sherwin says syringes were found nearby.

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