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D.C. police identify students involved with drug lab

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Sunday, October 24, 2010; 11:20 PM

District police have identified two students and a campus visitor who were arrested Saturday on charges that they maintained a drug lab in a Georgetown University freshman dorm. Georgetown students Charles Smith and John Romano, who live on the ninth floor of Harbin Hall, and John Perrone, a visitor and friend of one of the students, were arrested and charged with manufacturing a controlled substance. Police said the three had a lab set up to produce the hallucinogenic drug DMT in the campus dorm room. District police did not release the ages or the home towns of the three. Police also did not say how much, if any, of the drug was found, although officials said chemicals used in the production of the drug were discovered in the room. Police were alerted to the room early Saturday when people reported a chemical odor in the building, later prompting a series of evacuations. District officials said that a few people were treated for exposure to the chemicals but that they posed no further threat to other dorm residents.

- Josh WhiteD.C. Water sued by Cafritz on fire losses

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, whose Northwest mansion and collection of African and African American art were lost in a fire last year, is suing D.C. Water for failing to maintain proper water pressure in her neighborhood along Chain Bridge Road. The lawsuit alleges that a lack of water pressure to area hydrants led firefighters to lose control of the July 29, 2009, blaze, and that testing showed that the water pressure was about one-third of the acceptable minimum for firefighting. A District report in August 2009 said that the water flow was low but that whether the extensive damage to the home and its artifacts could have been prevented is "debatable" because the blaze was so intense and fast. The fire started on a porch and consumed the civic leader's home and its irreplacable contents. The damage to the home, artwork and a rare book collection was officially estimated at $15 million, although the lawsuit says Cafritz's losses were $30 million. Cafritz's lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, seeks $30 million in punitive damages against D.C. Water, formerly known as WASA, to "ensure that the dangerous conditions caused by WASA's misconduct do not result in similar harm to other D.C. residents."D.C. Water officials have not commented specifically on the lawsuit, which was filed last week. "We recognize the very real tragedy in this situation and empathize with the loss Ms. Cafritz and her family experienced in the summer of 2009," George Hawkins, D.C. Water's general manager, said in a written statement. "While we have not yet reviewed her complaint, we look forward to reading it and taking whatever action is necessary at that time."

- Josh WhiteMARYLANDMan is arrested inburning of woman

A man accused of setting a woman on fire was arrested Saturday night by Howard County police.Police have not confirmed the identity of the man, who is believed to be homeless. The woman, who also might be homeless, was taken to Johns Hopkins Burn Center with severe burns.Howard police said the incident occurred in a wooded area near Gorman Road about 2:45 p.m. Saturday. A woman who is also thought to be homeless called the police from a nearby store.After a search, police found a man on Greenwood Place about 5 p.m. and took him into custody.

- Ovetta Wiggins


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