Farmer indicted: A federal grand jury yesterday indicted Dwight W. Watson, a North Carolina tobacco farmer who held authorities at bay for two days in a tractor on the Mall, on counts of making threats about explosives and destroying government property.
The U.S. attorney's office, which announced the indictments, said that Watson claimed to have explosives during the standoff last month and that he said he would bring Washington "to its knees." After he surrendered, no explosives were found.
Watson is charged with destruction of property because he allegedly used his tractor to dig up a portion of Signer's Island in the middle of the pond in Constitution Gardens. The tractor did $27,000 worth of damage, authorities said.
Dog trainer charged: A Virginia-based dog trainer who allegedly supplied poorly trained bomb-sniffing dogs to federal agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks is facing additional federal charges.
A federal grand jury in Charlottesville indicted Russell L. Ebersole, 43, of Hagerstown, Md., on Thursday on charges of shipping explosives through air freight, witness tampering, wire fraud and making false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The six-count indictment carries maximum penalties of 40 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Ebersole is president of Detector Dogs Against Drugs and Explosives and is the owner of Aberdeen Acres Canine Training Academy, both in Stephenson, Va., near Winchester. After the Sept. 11 attacks, several federal agencies paid him $700,000 to provide bomb-sniffing dogs and related services. But federal prosecutors in Alexandria allege that Ebersole lied about the qualifications of his dogs and their handlers, then faked the dogs' certifications. A grand jury in Alexandria indicted Ebersole last month on 26 counts of fraud.
Compiled from reports by staff writers.