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Thursday, July 27, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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ACROSS THE NATION

Ecstasy bust snares suspects, $40 million drug shipment

LOS ANGELES - Federal agents in Los Angeles announced yesterday that they have seized $40 million worth of the hallucinogenic party drug Ecstasy, the largest such capture in U.S. history and an ominous sign of the increasing popularity and profitability of the so-called club drug.

The 1,096-pound shipment was seized Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving on an Air France flight from Paris. Authorities tracked the shipment - in 15 boxes labeled as pens, pencils and tablets - for weeks via wiretaps and seized faxes and say it probably originated in Amsterdam.

Three people alleged to be linked to a ring that imported the drug were arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles. A fourth, alleged ringleader Tamer Adel Ibrahim, 26, of Los Angeles, is a fugitive.

Demand for the drug has surged in the United States. It is especially sought by teenagers who frequent nightclubs and all-night dance parties called raves. It has gained a reputation as a "feel-good" drug, but reportedly can damage long-term memory and be fatal.

Suit alleges Kaiser provides

inferior care to the disabled

SAN FRANCISCO - An advocacy group has sued the nation's largest not-for-profit health maintenance organization, saying it provides inferior care to disabled people in California.

The suit filed yesterday by Disability Rights Advocates alleges that Kaiser Foundation Health Plan hospitals fail to offer accessible facilities, examination tables, scales and other medical devices to wheelchair users.

The Superior Court suit is the latest legal challenge for Oakland-based Kaiser, which was accused in April of requiring psychiatrists to prescribe medication to patients they had not seen.

Kaiser spokesman Tom Debley declined to address yesterday's allegations, but said the institution complies with state and federal disability guidelines. Debley also said Kaiser would cooperate with the advocacy group to resolve the dispute.

White officer faces charges

in unarmed black man's death

OMAHA, Neb. - A white police officer was charged with manslaughter yesterday in the shooting death of an unarmed black man after a high-speed chase.

Jerad Kruse, 31, a seven-year veteran of the Omaha police force, could face up to 70 years in prison.

Kruse had been chasing George Bibins, 35, who was suspected of car theft, on July 19.

After Bibins crashed into a telephone pole, Kruse jumped out of his police car and shot Bibins while he was still inside the vehicle he was suspected of stealing, Police Chief Don Carey said. Bibins died of a single gunshot wound to the shoulder. Carey had said the department's internal investigation could not find a justification for the shooting.

Ban on late-term abortion

struck in N.J. appeals court

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal appeals court agreed yesterday that a New Jersey law banning certain late-term abortions is unconstitutional.

The finding by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the ruling of a federal judge in Trenton who struck down the law in 1998.

Writing for the panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry noted that the court's decision was made before the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a Nebraska law also aimed at banning a procedure that opponents call "partial-birth" abortion.

The Supreme Court on June 28 found the Nebraska law unconstitutional. "Nothing in that opinion is at odds with this court's opinion," Barry said.

Meanwhile, in Buffalo, N.Y., a federal judge ruled that abortion foes must continue to honor protest-free zones outside New York health clinics and doctors' offices.

Teen's killer is 26th to die

by Texas execution this year

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A convicted killer who attacked a prison chaplain while on death row was executed yesterday for the abduction and slaying of a Fort Worth teenager 15 years ago.

The execution by injection was the second this month in Texas and 26th this year. At least six executions are scheduled for August.

Juan Soria, 33, was convicted in the 1985 stabbing death of Allen Bolden, 17. In June, Soria attacked a 78-year-old volunteer prison chaplain with a razor, nearly severing the man's hand.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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