Border Patrol releases use-of-force guidelines
PHOENIX (AP) - The federal government on Friday released the U.S. Border Patrol's use-of-force policies while the agency's chief issued a directive that reiterates how personnel should respond to threats amid mounting criticism.
Immigrant rights groups have complained that Border Patrol agents are too trigger-happy in responding to people who throw rocks at them along the border with Mexico, often to distract agents from smugglers sneaking drugs into the U.S.
Fisher said that since 2010, agents have been assaulted with rocks 1,713 times, with deadly forced being used in 43 instances resulting in 10 deaths.
While Border Patrol policy has always held that agents may use deadly force if there is a reasonable threat of imminent death or serious injury, Fisher's directive Friday reiterates that they shouldn't fire their weapons unless absolutely necessary.
SEXUAL ASSAULT-ARMY-FORT HOOD
Fort Hood soldier accused in prostitute case
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - A Central Texas sergeant who was a coordinator of the post's sexual assault and harassment prevention program faces multiple charges after he was accused of setting up a prostitution ring involving cash-strapped female soldiers.
A statement issued by Fort Hood says Sergeant 1st Class Gregory McQueen was charged Friday with 21 specifications. Those charges relate to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, adultery and conduct of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces.
An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury proceeding, is scheduled for March 20th through 21st at Fort Hood.
Another Fort Hood soldier was court-martialed in the case. Master Sergeant Brad Grimes was convicted in December of conspiring to patronize a prostitute and solicitation to commit adultery, reprimanded and demoted.
TEXAS ARYAN BROTHERHOOD-PLEA
Head of white supremacist gang admits guilt
HOUSTON (AP) - The head of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy that included murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking.
Larry Max Bryan pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston.
Under federal law, Bryan could be sentenced to up to life in prison. The plea agreement calls for prosecutors to recommend the 52-year-old be sentenced to no more than 25. Sentencing is set for October 7th.
Bryan was among nearly three dozen people allegedly affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood who were charged in a sweeping indictment unsealed in 2012.
Dozens of defendants have been convicted in an ongoing federal investigation of the military-style gang founded in Texas prisons in the 1980s to offer protection to white inmates.
3 dead in Houston house fire; police investigating
HOUSTON (AP) - Three bodies have been recovered from the charred ruins of a house after flames swept through the structure in northeast Houston.
The Houston Fire Department on Friday said Houston Police Department homicide detectives and arson investigators are trying to determine what sparked the Thursday afternoon blaze. However, a fire department statement says no foul play is suspected.
Fire department officials say a body was recovered shortly before midnight Thursday. Two other bodies were found Friday.
Parts of stolen statue found at Texas recycler
PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) - Cut-up pieces of a $120,000 bronze statue stolen from outside a Southeast Texas library have been recovered at a metal recycling center.
Port Arthur police said Friday no arrests had been made in the theft of the 300-pound sculpture "The Family." The work portrays intertwined figures of adults and children.
The statue by artist David Cargill had been outside the Port Arthur Public Library since 1981 until going missing February 27th. Sergeant Scott Gaspard says scrap metal thieves could be to blame.
Police found much of the statue Tuesday at a recycling facility in neighboring Liberty County. Gaspard says police questioned several suspects, then found smaller pieces at some Port Arthur homes.
Police have documented the recovered pieces and returned them to the library for possible reconstruction.
Former probation officer accused of corruption
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) - A former South Texas probation officer faces a 56-count indictment that accuses him of such misdeeds as forging a judge's signature and asking one of his probationers to have sex with him for money.
The indictment by a grand jury in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands also accuses 31-year-old Joseph Romeo Ozuna of stealing from probationers and falsifying documents. The Monitor of McAllen reports the document covers a period from 2010 to 2012.
Ozuna is free on $290,000 bond. Telephone calls to his home Friday night would not connect.
Texas boosts rig count by 20
HOUSTON (AP) - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Incorporated says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 23 this week to 1,792.
The Houston, Texas-based firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,443 rigs were exploring for oil and 345 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous.
Among the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 20 rigs, California was up by five, and North Dakota added two.
West Texas intermediate crude closed the trading week at $102.58 a barrel.
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