National Digest


March 30, 2005

DALLAS — Boy Scouts official charged with having child pornography

DALLAS -- A longtime Boy Scouts of America official who directed a national task force to protect children from sexual abuse has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse and other sexually explicit conduct. The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21.

"We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," said Gregg Shields, spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Texas. Smith was a national program director and staff adviser of the Boy Scout's renowned Youth Protection Task Force. Shields said Smith took over the task force a couple years ago when another employee retired. Smith managed the distribution of literature, video tapes, a Web site and other resources that teach children and adults how to detect and prevent child abuse.

Homeland Security to add 500 agents to border

WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country.

The border buildup was to be announced today -- two days before civilian volunteers with the so-called Minuteman Project begin a monthlong Arizona patrol against immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico line.

About 155 agents will be immediately sent to Arizona, according to department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the buildup was not yet announced. More than 370 additional agents -- all new trainees -- will be permanently assigned to the Arizona border throughout the year.

Falwell in critical condition with 2nd case of pneumonia

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in critical condition yesterday, battling his second case of viral pneumonia in five weeks, hospital officials said.

Falwell, 71, was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital shortly before midnight Monday suffering from "respiratory arrest," the hospital said in a statement, meaning his breathing had slowed or stopped.

Military begins destroying chemical weapons in Ark.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Pine Bluff Arsenal began destroying its stockpile of 3,850 tons of chemical weapons yesterday, incinerating two rockets laced with sarin nerve gas.

"We are making chemical weapons history by destroying weapons stored here more than 60 years," said Dale Ormond, deputy assistant secretary of the Army.

Another 28 rockets were scheduled to be destroyed today. The rockets have been stored at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, about 40 miles south of Little Rock, since the early 1960s.

Car trouble leads family to find drugs stowed in tank

SLIDELL, La. -- A reliable family car suddenly developed a tendency to decelerate, leading to the discovery that it had been driven for years with $40,000 worth of cocaine stashed in the gas tank.

The family had bought the 1996 Toyota Camry from a used car lot in 1997.

When the car started losing speed, it was taken to a mechanic, who discovered two bricks of cocaine. The wrapping had apparently come loose recently, causing the malfunction.

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