Drug Dealing Turns Virtual
With Online Sales Pitch
New Yorkers can find among the often curious ads on a popular online bulletin board a "trophy wife," a prospective spouse in need of a green card and a husband for hire.
Oh, and a guy in Manhattan has some crystal meth he's looking to unload.
Police scouring the Internet for illicit deals came across a cryptic posting with offers of "tina" and references to "ski" on Craigslist, the classified-ad Web site.
For those in the know, "tina" is code for methamphetamine and "ski" refers to snorting cocaine.
After a year-long investigation and sealing three online deals, police arrested the seller in a growing cyber-battle against drug dealers.
In a city where drug dealers keep office hours and even a Midtown office, online sales provoke less surprise to others.
"You plug in 'drugs' on the Internet and you get . . . Viagra, psychoactive drugs -- it's all out there," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who says the Internet has eliminated the black-market and organized-crime elements from most sales.
-- Michelle Garcia
Illegal Immigrants Nearly
Fill Pauper Cemetery
The Pima County, Ariz., pauper cemetery is on the verge of a grim milestone: It's almost full.
Like similar public graveyards across the country, it has always had a tragic population -- John or Jane Does whose bodies could never be identified, or those whose families could not be found to claim them. In recent years, many of its new arrivals have come with a particularly sad story -- a growing number of unknown men and women found in the desert, presumably immigrants who tried to slip across the Mexican border illegally and failed.
In 2004, 221 people died while crossing from Mexico into the state -- the deadliest year on record, according to the Arizona Daily Star -- and 41 ended up in the pauper cemetery. But an early heat wave threatens to raise the toll in 2005: By last weekend, 111 had been found dead.
Last week, county officials announced they will start cremating unclaimed bodies, as permitted by a new state law -- but only if an exhaustive months-long search finds no next of kin. A local Roman Catholic priest told the newspaper he does not expect the immigrant community will be offended by the practice.
"The idea of that many people dying is a sign of what a horrible situation you're dealing with," said the Rev. Ricardo Elford.
-- Amy Argetsinger
Chicago Museum Welcomes
Visitors Aboard German Sub
U-505 is back underground, if not quite underwater.
The only German submarine captured during World War II was long preserved in dry berth on the grounds of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Starting today, it will be open for visitors indoors after a $35 million project to refurbish the vessel and spice up an exhibit about its history.
An attack sub credited with sinking 47,000 tons of allied shipping, including three American ships, U-505 led its U.S. pursuers on a two-week chase in 1944. Depth charges brought the 252-foot sub to the surface near the Cape Verde Islands. The crew botched an attempt to scuttle the vessel before abandoning ship.
To exploit the intelligence bonanza of the secret capture, U.S. authorities kept the crew incommunicado in a Louisiana prison camp for the rest of the war. Among the benefits was the development of decoys that outfoxed German torpedoes.
The exhibit re-creates the crew quarters, provides views from two periscopes and gives museum-goers the chance to maneuver a model sub. If museum authorities had not rescued the sub from Chicago's piercing winters and punishing summers, U-505 probably would have been lost for good.
-- Peter Slevin
Hunter Bags Prize Buck
But Battles for the Antlers
Michael Crossland says he shot the huge whitetail deer fair and square. But for now, the 31-point antlers, worth as much as $30,000, belong to Oklahoma wildlife officials.
The Oklahoma farmer, 25, shot the buck in November on a friend's ranch in Grandfield, breaking the state record for the largest whitetail taken in Oklahoma. Then Crossland's friend who owns the ranch, Ryan Hunt, 26, demanded the antlers. Rebuffed, Hunt pressed charges of trespassing against Crossland in January. That's when the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation confiscated the trophy. The antlers will remain in state custody until the court case is resolved.
Crossland says he had permission to hunt on the ranch as long as he was with a relative or ranch hand Greg Platner. Platner was with him the day he shot the deer.
Crossland said that he will fight the charges and that if the antlers are returned to him, he will not sell them. He just wants them back. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime trophy," he said.
-- Caroline Keating