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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Briefly

May 29, 2003

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Miami

Colombian drug kingpin convicted for cocaine

One of the biggest Colombian drug lords of the 1980s was convicted Wednesday of getting back into the cocaine business after he was released from prison in his homeland and given amnesty.

Fabio Ochoa, 46, could get life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 19 on federal drug conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors said that from 1997 to 1999, Ochoa was part of a network suspected of smuggling up to 30 tons of cocaine a month into the United States. Prosecutors called it "the Wal-Mart of drug trafficking."

During the 1980s, Ochoa and two brothers led the now-defunct Medellin cocaine cartel with Pablo Escobar, applying a corporate approach to smuggling. Ochoa was credited with creating a waterproof blue box for air-dropping cocaine close to U.S. shores.

He served five years in Colombian prisons in the 1990s and then received amnesty under a government program aimed at bringing peace to the country after years of cartel-ordered bombings and assassinations.

Colorado

Air Force may punish academy commanders

U.S. Air Force Academy commanders who were reassigned over a sex scandal could be punished if it is shown they mishandled cadets' complaints, Air Force Secretary James Roche said Wednesday.

The decision will be made after Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper review an investigative report on the scandal.

The two will look at whether the commanders should have noticed problems and whether they did anything to make it more difficult for female cadets to report assaults.

Dozens of current and former female cadets have said they were ostracized or reprimanded after they reported being raped or sexually abused at the academy near Colorado Springs.

Pennsylvania

Final sentence given in 1969 race-riot killing

A white man who pleaded no contest to attempted murder and conspiracy in the 1969 killing of a young black woman during 10 days of race riots was sentenced to two to five years in prison Wednesday.

Ezra T. Slick, 53, was the last of 10 white men charged in the slaying of Lillie Belle Allen -- a case that remained dormant until new information surfaced in 1999. He originally was charged with murder.

Allen, 27, of Aiken, S.C., was shot and killed by a white mob girded for war with blacks during the July 1969 riots in York. A white police officer, Henry Schaad, also was fatally shot during the riots, which left dozens wounded and whole blocks burned before 400 state troopers and national guardsmen quelled the violence.

Of the nine other men charged with murder in the case, six pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Two others, Robert Messersmith and Gregory Neff, were convicted in October of second-degree murder and sentenced in December.

Miami

Sixth crew member dies after ship blast

A crew member injured over the weekend in a boiler room explosion aboard a cruise ship died Wednesday, bringing the death toll to six.

Winston Lewis, 53, was a steward from Jamaica, according to the ship's owner, Norwegian Cruise Line. Twelve other crew members remained in the hospital, three in critical condition.

More than 15 crew members were injured when a boiler exploded Sunday aboard the docked ship, sending debris and a blast of steam through parts of the 41-year-old Norway. All the dead and injured were crew members; none of the more than 2,100 passengers was hurt.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the explosion. Miami-Dade police said it appeared to be an accident.

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