Raid on Plant Strands

Immigrants' Children

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. -- About 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left without their parents after immigration agents raided a poultry plant and took the parents away to face possible deportation.

While some of the arrested workers were able to call and arrange care for their children, others were not, and a local church helped make arrangements.

The mayor said what happened to the children was a shame.

"A lot of those families had kids in day care in different places, and they didn't know why Mommy and Daddy didn't come pick them up," Arkadelphia Mayor Charles Hollingshead said.

Federal agents arrested 119 people Tuesday in a raid that was triggered after a former worker at Petit Jean Poultry said she supplied others with fake identification cards. Authorities said 115 were from Mexico, two were from Honduras, and the others were from El Salvador and Guatemala.

Temple Black, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New Orleans, said Friday that the people arrested were asked whether they had children and they all said they did not.

"We interviewed every person and asked that specific question, and we were told that there were none," he said. Black later said that some of those arrested told agents that their children were with relatives.

Clark County Sheriff Troy Tucker said agents failed to tell his agency about the raid.

If they had, deputies would have made sure the immigration officials knew about the children, some of whom had been in the local schools for years, he said.

* ELKO, Nev. -- More than 20 vehicles collided Friday on Interstate 80 in northeastern Nevada after drivers were blinded by swirling dust and ash, killing at least four people and injuring a dozen others.

* FRESNO, Calif. -- Lightning struck a group of Boy Scouts taking shelter from a storm, killing the troop leader Steve McCullagh, 29, and leaving Ryan Collins, 13, brain-dead in the latest tragedy to befall the organization this week, authorities and the teenager's grandfather said. Six others were injured when the lightning bolt made a direct strike on a tarp the Scouts had set up in a meadow in Sequoia National Park on Thursday.

* AVON, Conn. -- A chain-reaction crash that started when a dump truck slammed into a commuter bus killed four people and critically injured four others, police said.

* LAKELAND, Fla. -- A mobile home belonging to a gay couple was torched, and an epithet was spray-painted on the front steps, authorities said. Paul Day, 25, and Christopher Robertson, 23, returned home from errands Monday to find their house in Lakeland burned.

* COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A former top aide to Gov. Bob Taft (R) pleaded no contest to failing to report stays at a coin dealer's Florida home, making him the first person convicted in Ohio's investment scandal. Brian Hicks, who was Taft's chief of staff before becoming a lobbyist, was found guilty and fined $1,000 after entering the plea on a misdemeanor ethics charge. According to the complaint, filed Thursday, Hicks used the $1.3 million home of coin dealer and prominent GOP donor Tom Noe in Islamorada, Fla., at "less than fair market value" in March 2002 and March 2003.

-- From News Services