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Massey official charged with lying to FBI in mine investigation

west virginia

official at mining company indicted

A top official at a Massey Energy subsidiary has been charged with lying to the FBI and obstructing justice in the investigation of the West Virginia coal mine explosion that killed 29 miners, the first criminal charges in connection with the worst U.S. mining accident in 40 years.

Hughie Elbert Stover, 60, chief of security at the Upper Big Branch mine, was indicted on charges of making false statements to federal agents and obstructing a federal investigation by trying to dispose of key documents. The indictment, returned last week by a federal grand jury in Charleston, W.Va., was unsealed Monday after Stover was arrested at his home.

The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of the April 5 blast. The mine in Montcoal, W.Va., is owned by Massey Energy Co., which had been cited for numerous safety violations. Stover works for Performance Coal Co. Inc., a Massey subsidiary that operates the mine.

HOUSTON

Kids left alone before deadly day care fire

A Houston home day care operator left the kids she was caring for without adult supervision, while a stovetop burner was on, and a blaze killed four children and injured three others, according to an arrest affidavit made public Monday.

Investigators believe the burner was the source of last week's fire. Hours after the new details about the blaze were released, officials announced that day care operator Jessica Tata had fled the Unites States and they had asked the U.S. Marshals Service in Houston to help track her down. Officials believe Tata has fled to Nigeria, where she is originally from.

DALLAS

Gun in U.S. agent's death traced to Texas

Three people suspected of smuggling guns to Mexico were arrested in a Dallas suburb on Monday after federal investigators traced the gun used in the killing of a U.S. agent in Mexico to one of them, officials said.

Agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested the suspected gun smugglers in morning raids in Lancaster, ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said. He did not name the three.

The ATF said the gun was used in a Feb. 15 shooting of two federal agents who were driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and agent Victor Avila was wounded.

PLACERVILLE, Calif.

Couple confessed in Jaycee Dugard kidnap

A Northern California couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years have given full confessions to authorities, a defense lawyer Stephen Tapson said Monday.

The revelation came as prosecutors and defense lawyers opened negotiations on possible plea bargains for the couple, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, that could avert a trial and testimony by the victim who has sought privacy since being freed 18 months ago.

IRAn

Status unclear for two opposition leaders

The mystery over the whereabouts of the two main Iranian opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, deepened Monday with contradictory reports over whether they had been jailed on the eve of a nationwide protest Feb. 14 or remained under house arrest.

The website Kaleme, published by Moussavi supporters, said both men and their wives were now incarcerated at Heshmatieh prison in Tehran. The semiofficial Fars news agency denied that the two couples were imprisoned.

Elsewhere

Iraq: An Iraqi court on Monday convicted a British man, Danny Fitzsimons, 30, and sentenced him to 20 years in prison over the shooting deaths of two contractors, making him the first Westerner convicted in an Iraqi court since the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Times wires

Massey official charged with lying to FBI in mine investigation 02/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 11:25pm]

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