MARYLAND

12 Indicted in Drug Probe

Twelve people have been indicted on charges that they ran a cocaine distribution ring in Charles and Prince George's counties, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia said the nine-count indictment, unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, was a result of a year-long investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Charles County sheriff's office and the Prince George's County police.

Authorities said members of the ring, most of whom lived in Waldorf, were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other federal narcotics violations.

Eight of the 12 defendants named in the indictment were arrested Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Stalker Sent to Hospital

A 21-year-old Rockville woman was committed to a psychiatric hospital yesterday after she admitted stalking her former boss for three months and then attacking her with a wrench, Montgomery County prosecutors said.

Diana Abramovich pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible--the Maryland version of an insanity plea--to charges of stalking and first-degree assault, said Assistant State's Attorney Tom Eldridge. She was committed to the state psychiatric hospital in Jessup until a judge determines she no longer is a danger to herself or others, Eldridge said. A state psychiatrist determined that Abramovich suffered from bipolar disorder with psychotic features, Eldridge said. Prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge and several minor charges and agreed not to contest the psychiatrist's findings if Abramovich pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to the stalking and first-degree assault, Eldridge said.

Abramovich called her former boss at Zipani sandwich shop in the 11800 block of Rockville Pike repeatedly and threatened to kill her during three months last winter, Eldridge said. On April 13, Abramovich waited for her boss in the stairwell of her boss's apartment building and hit her over the head with a wrench, prosecutors said.

VIRGINIA

Man Robbed, Beaten

A Reston man reported that he was robbed, pistol-whipped and stripped of his clothes Tuesday night, but he was not seriously injured, Fairfax County police said yesterday. The incident began as the man, 22, sat on his porch in the 11800 block of Barrel Cooper Court shortly before 6 p.m. He reported that two men in ski masks and dark coats approached, one brandishing a gun, and demanded his wallet. After he handed over his wallet, the man told police, the two men forced him inside his home, where one man pistol-whipped him while the other searched for more cash.

The victim then was ordered out of the house to a nearby pathway, where the assailants removed his clothes, police reported. The suspects fled, and the man ran to call police. The man told authorities that he did not know the attackers or why they targeted him, Officer Tom Harrington said.

6-Month Term in Fatality

A 22-year-old Stafford County woman has been sentenced to six months in jail after causing a head-on car collision that killed a 70-year-old woman on Route 123 in Fairfax County in March.

Melody A. Pete was convicted of reckless driving in the March 27 crash near Wayfarer Drive in the Burke Lake area. Fairfax police said a Toyota Corolla sedan driven by Pete crossed the double yellow line and struck a northbound Mercury Sable sedan carrying four family members, killing Florence Effie Sessoms, of Smithfield, Va. Sessoms's daughter, Georgiana Havill, of Reston, was riding in a car behind her mother's and saw the crash. She said Pete later admitted that she had stayed awake for more than 24 hours. "This should serve as a lesson," Havill said, "to all those who might be tempted to drive while extraordinarily tired, and that applies to a lot of us in this area."

In September, Pete was given a 12-month sentence, with 10 months suspended, but she appealed. On Friday, Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush also imposed a 12-month sentence, and she suspended only six months of the term, court records show.

THE DISTRICT

Protesters Dump Manure

About 25 animal rights activists demonstrated outside the World Bank yesterday, protesting a proposed cattle-ranching program loan to China by dumping a ton of manure at the bank's entrance.

Two protesters with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested for illegal dumping after the cow manure--purchased at a local farm store--was dumped with a rented dump truck, PETA member Morgan Leyh said. Members of the group chanted and waved signs saying, "China Beef Project Stinks," at the bank at 1818 H Street NW, urging the bank to reject a $200 million project that would help farmers raise cattle and sell the meat, Leyh said.

"We believe that the people of China are suffering, but we don't believe that cattle ranching is the solution," Leyh said.