- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015
Officials confirm gray wolf killed in Colorado

DENVER (AP) - Wildlife officials say a coyote-like animal killed near Kremmling was a gray wolf.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that DNA tests at its Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, were used to confirm the species.

A legal coyote hunter shot the animal April 29 and immediately notified state wildlife officials. The gray wolf is listed as an endangered species under state and federal law.

Most gray wolves live in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin but are known to wander thousands of miles in search of food or a mate. A gray wolf that wandered into Colorado in 2009 was found dead along a county road in Rio Blanco County.

Officials later determined the wolf had been poisoned.


New law limits what Minnesota bounty hunters can wear, drive

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new state law aimed at reining in Minnesota bounty hunters forbids bail bondsmen from using certain-colored uniforms or vehicles with emblems that the public might mistake for sworn officers.

The law passed with little public airing. Those behind it acknowledge it’s designed largely with bounty hunter Stew Peters in mind. He’s a private bail enforcement agent known to wear a police-like uniform and drive around in a specially equipped SUV similar to those used by law enforcement.

Peters says he’ll abide by the law but is annoyed with the premise and process of passage. He denies impersonating a police officer and says he’s out to apprehend bail jumpers.

The Minnesota Professional Bail Bonds Association wasn’t involved in crafting the law, but the group’s president is supportive of its intent.


41 people indicted in alleged heroin ring on reservations

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Federal and tribal law enforcement authorities said Thursday they’ve taken down an interstate drug trafficking ring that was the largest source of heroin on two Minnesota American Indian reservations.

The 41 defendants named in the indictment unsealed Wednesday face charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and other drugs. Several also face firearms charges.

U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference Thursday that the ring was led by 37-year-old Omar Sharif Beasley. The arrests have shut down a major pipeline that spread heroin across the Red Lake and White Earth reservations, as well as Native American communities in North Dakota, Luger said.

“We didn’t want to just take down the head of the organization or the people bringing the heroin into the state of Minnesota,” Luger said. “We wanted to make it as difficult as possible for somebody to come in and pick up where this organization left off.”

The indictment alleges that Beasley recruited drug sources, managers, distributors, facilitators, couriers and drivers to bring heroin and other drugs to the reservations. It says the drugs came from Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and elsewhere.


Ex-nuclear plant contractor charged with terroristic threats

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A disgruntled contract employee who had been working at Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant harassed and threatened union officials before police discovered he had a carload of explosive materials and ammunition, prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint.

Robert James Johnson, 58, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was charged in Ramsey County last week with three felony counts of making terroristic threats. The complaint alleges he had been confrontational with carpenters’ union officials leading up to his May 13 firing and became increasingly threatening to them before his arrest May 20, as first reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The complaint said Johnson worked at Monticello for three months and “has a history of being removed or fired from job sites for a variety of reasons.” It said the steward at the job site told union officials May 10 he could no longer work with Johnson because of Johnson’s behavior. It said an attempt by a chapter president to mediate ended with Johnson being escorted out of the union office.

Johnson allegedly told another union official May 18 he was “an ex-Marine and certifiably crazy. … You’d better resign or the last thing you’re going to hear,” then “made a whistling sound like a bullet.”

When police searched his car May 20, they found 6 pounds of the explosive Tannerite, lighter fluid, propane, 500 .22-caliber rifle rounds, nine 20-gauge shotgun shells, a 5-gallon bucket and leg irons, the complaint said. It alleged that he told investigators he was planning “a surprise attack.”

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