Anti-Drug Officer's Wife

Guilty in Heroin Case

NEW YORK--The wife of the former commander of the Army's anti-drug operation in Colombia pleaded guilty yesterday to drug charges and said her husband knew nothing of a plan to smuggle $700,000 worth of heroin.

"I never told him what I was doing," Laurie Hiett, 36, told reporters after pleading guilty in federal court. Still free on bond, she faces up to nine years in prison at sentencing on April 28. Hiett, whose husband, Col. James Hiett, was head of U.S. anti-drug operations in Bogota, said she had been addicted to drugs and was sorry her case made headlines while the United States is waging a costly war on drugs.

"There are people dying every day to fight this, and then I did what I did," she said. "I'm not proud of it. . . . I just truly apologize."

* BOSTON--The former head of the Laborers' International Union of North America has agreed to plead guilty to evading $100,000 in taxes on expensive sports cars, federal prosecutors said. Arthur A. Coia, 56, of Barrington, R.I., was charged in federal court with mail fraud in a scheme to evade state and local taxes in Rhode Island on a succession of Ferraris. Coia retired as general president of the union Jan. 1.

* MANCHESTER, N.H.--Immigration officials planned to remove more than 200 criminal aliens from the Hillsborough County Jail while state and federal authorities investigate allegations that some guards sexually abused female inmates. Treatment of inmates at the facility has been an issue before. Some detainees staged a hunger strike in August, saying they were denied medical treatment, were locked in their cells 20 hours a day and were allowed only half-hour visits.

* DETROIT--After losing $15,000 to $20,000 in a day of gambling at Detroit's brand-new casinos, off-duty police Sgt. Solomon Bell, 36, tried one last high-stakes hand of blackjack. He lost another $4,000, stood up from the table and fatally shot himself in the head.

* Sixty-one law enforcement officers were slain on duty in the nation in 1998, a decline of nine officers, or almost 13 percent, from the previous year, the FBI reported.

* HAWTHORNE, N.Y.--Male correction officers have been banned from female inmates' living quarters at the Westchester County Jail after four veteran guards were charged with rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and official misconduct. "This is an abuse of power," County Executive Andrew Spano said.

* VALLEY FORGE, Pa.--The absence of 15 of the 17 toll collectors scheduled to work Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Valley Forge interchange led to a seven-mile traffic backup and waits as long as 90 minutes to get through the toll booths. Turnpike officials said they think the absences were weather-related but are investigating.