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hDrug lord suspect nabbed



Published: Tue, April 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



hDrug lord suspect nabbed

NEW YORK -- A reputed Afghan drug lord who authorities say operated with the protection of the Taliban has been captured and faces charges that he tried to smuggle more than $50 million worth of heroin into the United States, authorities said.

Bashir Noorzai, who is on the U.S. list of most-wanted drug kingpins, was ordered held without bail at his initial court appearance in Manhattan. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The full circumstances of Noorzai's capture were not made public. Prosecutor Boyd Johnson told a judge that Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested the defendant Saturday in New York, but he did not elaborate.

Noorzai, 44, wearing a full beard and a dark blue polo shirt, remained silent during the brief hearing. He was given a court-appointed attorney, David Greenfield, who declined to comment outside court.

Prosecutors say the smuggling attempt involved about 1,100 pounds of heroin.

Missing tots found in pond

WARRENTON, Ga. -- Two toddlers who were reported missing from their home over the weekend were found dead in an algae-covered sewage pond a few hundred yards away Monday after a two-day search.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said it was not known whether the youngsters were the victims of foul play. Autopsies were planned.

Nicole Payne, 2, and her brother, Jonah, 3, were reported missing on Saturday from their lakeside house about 100 miles east of Atlanta. The children's mother called authorities to report that the toddlers vanished after she went into another room. Police said their mother found the front door open and the children gone.

Jackson's ex may testify

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The judge in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial said Monday he will allow the mother of two of the pop star's children to testify as a prosecution witness.

Prosecutors want Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe to tell jurors that she was compelled to appear on a videotape praising Jackson as a good father and humanitarian.

Prosecutors say Rowe did the interview under duress, having been told by Jackson associates that if she did not do it she would risk losing her visitation rights with her children, daughter Paris and son Prince Michael.

The defense objected, saying the testimony was part of a prosecution "desperation" tactic at the end of its case and had no relevance to the charges against Jackson.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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