Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, October 08, 2007

Suspected drug dealer arrested

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JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team apprehended a suspected drug dealer at 6:23 p.m. Friday during a traffic stop at the Fred Meyer gas station. The arrest was made after investigators learned that the man, a 19-year-old Juneau resident, had received a package through the U.S. Postal Service containing 9.9 gross grams of heroin.

The man was arrested for a probation violation and misconduct involving a controlled substance. He was lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

The driver of the car he was riding in at the time of his arrest, a 19-year-old Juneau woman, was taken to the Juneau Police department and then released. Her vehicle was seized as evidence.

Man arrested on child pornography charges

ANCHORAGE - A Palmer man has been arrested on child pornography charges.

Landon Binder, 26, was arrested after a two-year nationwide child pornography investigation, according to authorities. Alaska State Troopers said they found more than 8,000 child porn images on computers seized from Binder's home.

Binder was charged in September with 15 counts of possessing child pornography and four of distributing it. He was arrested the following morning, according to trooper investigator Nathan Bucknall.

"It was without incident; he fully cooperated with us," Bucknall said.

Troopers searched Binder's home near Butte in April 2006 and seized computers and about 20 CDs.

"We searched the computers and we located approximately 8,000 child porn pictures, and that was only a fraction," Bucknall said. "At 8,000, we stopped; we decided not to go any further because we had enough to support felony charges."

The median age of the children in the images appeared to be 6 to 10, Bucknall said.

The case originated in 2005 with the federal Internet Crimes Against Children task force, he said. As part of the Palmer troopers' Crimes Against Children Unit, Bucknall served on a local version of the task force, which included postal inspectors, immigration officials and others.

Authorities in New York state worked with the task force to investigate a Web site containing 27,000 pictures and 300 videos of child pornography, Bucknall said. To access the images, users had to register a password.

Investigators have tracked down 1,900 registered users around the world, using Internet protocol computer addresses, according to Bucknall. About 900 are in the United States, he said.

Federal prosecutors handed the Binder case case to the state, he said.

According to state records, Binder is free on $50,000 bail.

Groups: UC Berkeley should return artifacts

BERKELEY, Calif. - Native American groups have asked the University of California, Berkeley, to return thousands of museum artifacts to tribes from California to Alaska.

University staff members joined tribal representatives in a protest Friday, calling for tribes to be given a say in the Hearst Museum's decisions on which items in its collection must be returned. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is the only museum in the country that has a larger collection of remains than the Hearst.

A reorganization of the museum stripped tribal representatives of their say in deciding which of the museum's artifacts get chosen for return. Now, the decision is in the hands of museum staff.

"It's our ancestral right to bury our dead," said 43-year-old Lenora Starr, a descendant of Oregon's Warm Springs tribe. "Regardless of which nation you are a member of, I consider this our people."

Native American groups are trying to get possession of human remains and cultural artifacts using the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act - a law that orders museums and federal agencies to return as many of the estimated 200,000 remains being held for study as possible.

Assistant Chancellor Beata FitzPatrick said the university is abiding by the law.

"I would like to say our chancellor has very great respect for native peoples," FitzPatrick said. "We believe the university is in compliance with (the law)."

Blasts began when tanker catches fire

TACOMA, Wash. - An explosion at a foundry was triggered when a propane tanker burst into flames, touching off a series of other blasts, authorities said.

The Saturday blast sent a fireball into the sky over the Atlas Castings and Technology foundry. It could take days to find out why the delivery truck, loaded with 8,000 gallons of propane, exploded, authorities said.

The truck driver, identified as Charles McDonald, 64, was in critical condition at a Seattle hospital Sunday. Three others injured in the blast were released from a Tacoma hospital, authorities said.

An Atlas executive said the company had accounted for all 32 employees who were at the plant Saturday.

A large, two-axle portion of the tanker truck blew more than 150 feet into the air and landed in flames on a highway, state transportation workers told The News Tribune of Tacoma.

The highway was shut down after the blasts but reopened Sunday morning. Engineers had to wait until fire officials determined they could safely inspect bridge piers.

Embattled senatorto join Hall of Fame

BOISE, Idaho - Sen. Larry Craig has been chosen for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame, despite his well-publicized arrest and guilty plea in an airport sex sting, officials said.

The nonprofit Idaho Hall of Fame Association picked Craig in March, months before he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after a Minneapolis airport police officer accused him of soliciting sex in the men's restroom, the organization's board chairman said.

"Larry Craig has made a great contribution to Idaho over the period of 20-some years. At the time it was considered, this other matter had not come up," Harry Magnuson told The Spokesman-Review newspaper Saturday.

But some Republicans said the honor is inappropriate now. Kootenai County Republican precinct committeeman Phil Thompson said Idaho Hall of Fame officials should consider at least postponing the induction.

"Maybe in 10 or 15 years we can think of this hall of fame stuff. Now is not the time," he said.

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