Originally created 08/22/06

Across the region



Officials announce record meth seizure

ATLANTA - Federal officials on Monday announced a "record-breaking seizure" of crystal methamphetamine buried in the backyard of a suburban home that they say was operated by a Mexican-based drug ring.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents found 187 pounds of suspected meth and 41 1-kilo bricks - just over 90 pounds - of suspected cocaine during a search last week, said Sherri Strange, the special agent in charge of the DEA's Atlanta office.

She called it the third-largest meth seizure in the United States this year, with an estimated total street value of between $25 million and $50 million.

Four men have been charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine: Eduardo Castro Torres, 43, of Michoacan, Mexico, also a resident of California; Julio Ruesga Barajas, 28, of Santa Ana, Calif.; Ignacio Castro Torres, 39, of Buford, Ga.; and Enrique Medina, 25, of Madalena, Mexico.

Police guard school after sexual assault

ATLANTA - Gilmer County students return to school Monday with extra police protection after a sexual assault at an elementary school early Thursday morning.

Uniformed officers from the Gilmer County Sheriff's Department and the Ellijay Police Department will be at each of the county's six schools to monitor the first day of classes.

The deployment comes after a member of the Ellijay Elementary School's janitorial staff was attacked early Thursday morning. Schools did not meet in the county Friday.

An unidentified man forced the female worker into the building at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her at about 6 a.m. that morning, according to Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan. She was stabbed several times.

Police have made no arrests.

Interstate collision leaves 2 dead, 2 hurt

SUMTER, S.C. - A brother and sister from North Carolina have been killed in a wreck in Clarendon County that also injured a Virginia couple.

The wreck occurred on Interstate 95 near Manning at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Bryan McDougald said.

Jason Evans, 19, and Jessica Evans, 14, both of Efland, died at the scene, said Coroner Hayes F. Samuels Jr.

Richard Rhodes and Mary Rhodes, of Norfolk, were flown to Palmetto Health Richland hospital in Columbia for treatment. Mr. Rhodes was in good condition and Mrs. Rhodes was in critical condition, Amy Hill, a hospital spokeswoman, said Monday.

Unit deploys to Iraq for first since 1941

SUMTER, S.C. - Families of the South Carolina National Guard's Headquarters Battery of the 151st Field Artillery Brigade are sending their loved ones off to war.

The 40 soldiers were sent off in a ceremony Sunday at the brigade's Sumter headquarters. They will first go to Fort Sill, Okla., for two months of training before being deployed to Iraq as a fire control cell with the 1st Cavalry Division.

"We have no illusions about the challenges we face," said Col. James C. Griese, the 151st's commander. "But we're ready to take them on. Duty above all."

The group's last deployment was in 1941, when it spent a year fighting in Europe during World War II. The 1941 soldiers included Maj. Frank Holloway, whose grandson, Sgt. Frank Holloway, deployed with the brigade Sunday.

Kingston challenger loses campaign chief

SAVANNAH, GA. - The Democrat opposing U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston denied Monday he's running out of money, even though his campaign manager quit and said he wasn't sure the candidate could afford his $2,000-a-month fee.

The Rev. Jim Nelson, a Savannah minister and former Army officer, has sought to convince voters and donors that he's not just a long-shot against Mr. Kingston, who has become a powerful Republican leader in Congress after 12 years of representing southeast Georgia.

Now the Rev. Nelson's ability to raise money has been called into question by Jason Harvey, the minister's campaign manager since he entered the race last November. Mr. Harvey sent reporters an e-mail saying he had quit because of "insufficient funding."

Police investigate fatal shooting of man

FLORENCE, S.C. - Police are looking for a suspect in the shooting death of a Florence man.

Terry Scott, 31, was shot Saturday night while visiting with friends at an apartment complex, Florence County Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said.

Mr. Scott "was in the apartment when a man came in with a T-shirt covering his face to conceal his identity," said Maj. Carlos Raines, of the Florence Police Department.

- Edited from wire reports