Nation roundup for January 7
Pilot fails alcohol test, suspended
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An American Eagle pilot was suspended after failing a blood-alcohol test as he prepared to fly on Friday from Minneapolis to New York City, authorities said.
Police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said officers and a Transportation Security Administration agent smelled alcohol as they passed the pilot waiting to get on an elevator.
The pilot was conducting preflight checks at about 6 a.m. when police boarded the aircraft, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.
Officers made him take a breath test and arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, Hogan said. Passengers had not yet boarded the flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, he said.
Hogan said airport police will wait until blood tests are processed before deciding whether to file charges against the pilot. Police identified the pilot as 48-year-old Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen. He was released to airline employees several hours after his arrest.
Federal rules prohibit pilots from flying within eight hours of drinking alcohol or if they have a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 or higher, half the level allowed for motorists.
Hogan said preliminary results from the breath test were well over the legal limit, but he declined to release the results. He said the “more precise” results from the blood test would be released when they’re available.
Sen. Crapo pleads guilty in DWI case
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.
The Idaho Republican said nothing during a brief appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol safety program. He also agreed to a 12-month suspension of his driver’s license. The sentence is typical for first-time drunken-driving offenders in Virginia.
Outside of court and in a subsequent conference call with reporters in his home state, Crapo apologized and said he’d been drinking alcohol a few nights a week, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.
Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago, though he couldn’t remember the details. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, he said, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden, drinking alone in his Washington, D.C., apartment. The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk, Crapo said.
“I was already thinking in my own mind that this had to end,” Crapo said. “I believe in my heart that I had already recognized that I was on a bad path and I needed to find a different path to follow.”
‘Chainsaw 3-D’ has No. 1 debut
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It took Leatherface and his chainsaw to chase tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins out of the top spot at the box office.
Lionsgate’s horror sequel “Texas Chainsaw 3-D” debuted at No. 1 with $23 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie picks up where 1974’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” left off, with masked killer Leatherface on the loose again.
Quentin Tarantino’s revenge saga “Django Unchained” held on at No. 2 for a second-straight weekend with $20.1 million. The Weinstein Co. release raised its domestic total to $106.4 million.
After three weekends at No. 1, part one of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy slipped to third with $17.5 million. That lifts the domestic haul to $263.8 million for “The Hobbit.” The Warner Bros. blockbuster added $57.1 million overseas to bring its international earnings to $561 million and its worldwide total to about $825 million.
Woman arrested in child porn case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman suspected of making and appearing in child porn photos a decade ago that have circulated widely in the years since was arrested hours after authorities released images of her taken from those shots, federal officials announced Friday.
Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was taken into custody outside a San Fernando Valley apartment complex after authorities received several tips.
She is expected to make a federal court appearance today on charges of producing child pornography and conspiracy, officials said. Each charge carries a minimum 15-year prison sentence. An unidentified man also seen in the photos was still being sought.
Montemayor was arrested fewer than 10 hours after federal authorities announced that they were looking for a man and woman who appeared to be molesting a girl who looked to be about 13 in photos that were widely circulated online.
Forensic experts believe the shots were taken about 11 years ago in the San Fernando Valley.
A phone book and calendar were seen in the shots, officials said.
The images were first discovered by ICE agents in Chicago in 2007.
The woman in the photos had several distinctive tattoos, including a butterfly on her hip and a curled-up cat on her right shoulder.
“This arrest would not have happened without the public’s help, and it demonstrates how much individual citizens can do to help law enforcement attack crime,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.
The then-unknown adults in the photos were charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography and production of child pornography. The criminal complaint listed them as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe.”
The arrest “brings us one step closer to vindicating the victim and helping to regain some dignity for all victims of child exploitation crimes,” U.S. Attorney André Birotte said in the statement. “We still want the public’s help in identifying John Doe and the victim in the disturbing series of images that continue to be circulated on the Internet.”
Montemayor’s son Paul Tucker said his mother was looking for an attorney when she was arrested, and called the allegations against her “ridiculous.”
“My mom does not do anything of the sort like that,” Tucker told KABC-TV.
Tucker told the TV station he remembered the girl from when he and his mother were living in a hotel, and the girl said she was 18 at the time.
“That’s what she had said to us, that she was 18 but she just looked younger,” he said.
The images released by authorities did not show the girl.
The search was announced Thursday in connection with an international investigation of child pornography dubbed “Operation Sunflower” that resulted in more than 200 arrests.
Morton said 123 child victims were identified during the five-week investigation, which ended in early December. ICE and other authorities found 110 victims in 19 states. Others were living in six countries.
The victims ranged from less than 1 year to 17 years old. Morton said 44 of the victims were living with the people suspected of abusing them.
NYC iPhone owner tricks thief using dating app
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City musician used a combination of technology, seduction, a hammer and a bribe to reclaim his missing iPhone from a confused crook.
Jazz trombonist Nadav Nirenberg (nah-DAHV’ NEE’-run-berg) says he left the phone in a livery cab on New Year’s Eve. The next morning, the 27-year-old learned via email that someone was sending messages to women using a dating app on the phone.
Nirenberg logged on to the service and offered the man a date — posing as a woman. He even posted a picture of a pretty girl.
When the culprit arrived at Nirenberg’s Brooklyn apartment building with wine, the musician greeted him with a $20 bill while holding a hammer — just in case.
The thief handed him the iPhone and left without a word.
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