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Without further ado, please enjoy the news: RTw 05/10/94 SINGER WILLIE NELSON ARRESTED ON MARIJUANA CHARGE WACO, Texas, May 10 (Reuter) - Country singer Willie Nelson was arrested in central Texas on a marijuana possession charge Tuesday after he was found napping in a car, police said. Nelson was found asleep in the back seat of a car parked along a service road off Interstate 35 in Hewitt, a suburb of Waco, police said. When police tapped on the window and asked for identification, he produced a driver's license, said Sergeant Mike Cooper of the Hewitt police department. What appeared to be a hand-rolled marijuana cigarette was in the car's ashtray and Nelson was put under arrest for possession of the drug, police said. At that time, Nelson told police there was more marijuana in the front of the car, said Lieutenant Wilbert Wachtendorf, Hewitt police spokesman. Police found a clear plastic bag containing what is beleived to be marijuana, police said. Nelson was taken to the McLennan County jail in Waco and charged with possession of under two ounces of marijuana. Police said Nelson told arresting officers he was on his way to his home near Austin, Texas, when he stopped for a nap. Nelson posted bond and left within hours of his arrest. The singer is known for such hits as "You Were Always On My Mind," and "On The Road Again." REUTER RTw 05/11/94 DRUG USE IN U.S. ON RISE, GOVERNMENT SAYS (Eds: Recasts, adds details) By Jim Wolf WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuter) - Drug abuse in the United States is on the rise despite more than $52 billion in drug-related federal spending over the past five years, the top U.S. anti-narcotics official said Wednesday. Lee Brown, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said he was very disturbed by the latest survey of national trends, which showed steady or increased use of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. "We have a very, very serious drug problem in this country and it's not getting any better," he told a news conference. "That's the bottom line." Brown released a survey of street-level drug trends called "Pulse Check," completed in March. Based on interviews with police, care providers and others in touch with the problem, it reported growing use of increasingly pure heroin in the Southwest, West and parts of the South. The survey also found a nationwide rise in marijuana consumption and a trend toward simultaneous use of two or more drugs to heighten their effect. Brown said a decade-long decline in drug use among young people had ended and was on its way back up. "We can't continue to glamorize drugs and violence and think that that will not have an effect on the children," Brown said. He estimated that 11.4 million Americans, about four percent of the population, use drugs on a regular basis, defined as once a month. About 2.7 million of these are chronic abusers indulging at least once a week, including about 2.1 million cocaine abusers and 600,000 heroin addicts. The survey supported other recent findings that the stigma of heroin use was fading as it becomes increasingly trendy among certain artists and performers. One reason for this may be that the elevated potency of heroin now available on the streets. This makes it possible to get high by snorting or smoking the drug rather than injecting it, Brown said. In the past, the needle scared off many would-be users, a fear reinforced by the AIDS epidemic. Reports from New York show that heroin inhalation has become the "in thing" in the nightclub drug scene "and dealers are specifically targeting that market," the survey said. It quoted New York and New Jersey sources as reporting that the current strength of heroin is as high as 40 percent pure, or 10 times as potent as a decade ago. At the same time, prices remain constant at street level, the survey said. Brown touted the Clinton administration drug-control strategy, which shifts more resources toward rehabilitating hardcore drug users while mounting more selective and flexible drug interdiction efforts. Clinton has requested a record $13.2 billion to implement his blueprint in the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1. That is $1 billion more than last year. The federal government has spent more than $52 billion on drug-related efforts since the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 mandated measurable goals be spelled out in each annual anti-narcotics blueprint. The U.S. effort, which used to be known as the national war on drugs, has brought down the number of casual drug users sharply. But "hard-core abuse continues unabated, drug-related crime and violence have not dropped significantly, and recent studies indicate that our young are returning to drug use," the executive summary of the 1994 national drug strategy said. REUTER APn 05/11/94 Helpful Jurors BILOXI, Miss. (AP) -- First, jurors acquitted a woman of drug charges. Then, they passed the hat to collect $55 to pay her bus fare home to Texas. Elizabeth Ann Recio, 38, was acquitted last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. In addition to the bus fare collection, one juror offered to take her home for the night before she started back to Falfurrias, in southern Texas. "It's the most remarkable experience of my life, as far as courtroom proceedings," her attorney, Michael Crosby, said Tuesday. Recio was arrested Oct. 29 after police searched the van she was driving to Florida and found about 150 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment. Recio said she was driving the van as a favor for a friend and did not know it contained marijuana. She also said she had been in jail since her arrest and that she was humiliated by having to show up in court in an ill-fitting dress that another inmate had left behind. RTw 05/11/94 THAI POLITICIAN IN DRUG SCANDAL FACES EXPULSION BANGKOK, May 11 (Reuter) - A Thai politician indicted by the United States for alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar marijuana smuggling operation is facing expulsion from his party, a party official said on Wednesday. Thanong Siripreechapong, a member of parliament from the opposition Chart Thai (Thai Nation) party, is likely to be expelled on the grounds he damaged the reputation of the party and the country, senior party official Burin Hiranburana said. U.S. authorities on Tuesday revealed the contents of a previously secret indictment against Thanong, accusing him of smuggling tonnes of marijuana to the United States. "Things have become clearer since the U.S. court revealed the indictment," Burin said. "Party regulations are to oust him if he is judged to be guilty of wrong-doing." Burin is leading a five-person committee appointed by the Chart Thai party to investigate the drug-smuggling allegations against Thanong. Thanong, who last week denied the accusations, was not available for comment on Wednesday. "According to our party regulations one who causes damage to the reputation of the party will be expelled. In Thanong's case it is more serious because he has damaged the reputation of the country as well," Burin said. Party members found guilty of criminal offences also face expulsion, he said. "I think the party will take action as soon as possible," he said. Under the Thai constitution any member of parliament who loses his party membership automatically loses his parliamentary seat. In San Francisco, U.S. attorney Andrew Scoble told reporters on Tuesday he expected the United States to seek Thanong's extradition. An affidavit in support of a prosecutor's request to seize property belonging to Thanong in California, made public last week, gave details of his alleged drug-trafficking activities. U.S. authorities alleged Thanong was involved in the smuggling of more than 45 tonnes of marijuana into the United States between 1977 and 1987, earning him more than $10 million. Last week the U.S. embassy here revealed that U.S. authorities had in January last year seized a Los Angeles home and a Mercedes-Benz car belonging to Thanong. REUTER RTw 05/12/94 U.S. OFFERS TO ASSIST THAI POLITICIAN'S TRAVEL BANGKOK, May 12 (Reuter) - The U.S. embassy on Thursday offered to help a Thai politician, indicted by the United States for alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar marijuana smuggling operation, travel to the United States. U.S. authorities on Tuesday revealed the contents of a previously secret indictment against Thanong Siripreechapong, a member of parliament from the opposition Chart Thai (Thai Nation) party, accusing him of smuggling tons of marijuana into the United States. Thanong had earlier told reporters he was innocent of all charges and wanted to travel to the United States to clear his name. "The United States notes Mr Thanong's recent statement that he is willing to travel to the United States," the embassy said in a statement. "The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is prepared to facilitate Mr Thanong's travel to the United States at the earliest possible date," it said. Thanong was not avaiable for comment on the offer. U.S. federal prosecutor Andrew Scoble told reporters in San Francisco on Tuesday that he expected the United States will seek Thanong's extradition. An affidavit in support of a prosecutor's request to seize property belonging to Thanong in California, made public last week, gave details of his alleged drug-trafficking activities. U.S. authorities alleged Thanong was involved in the smuggling of more than 45 tonnes of marijuana into the United States between 1977 and 1987, earning him more than $10 million. Last week the U.S. embassy revealed that U.S. authorities had in January last year seized a Los Angeles home and a Mercedes Benz car belonging to Thanong. REUTER RTw 05/12/94 MOROCCO SEIZES MORE THAN A TONNE OF HASHISH RABAT, May 12 (Reuter) - Moroccan police seized more than a tonne of hashish hidden under a consignment of potatoes in a Spanish truck in Tangier, lawyers said on Thursday. Truck owner Vincent Vidal Francisco, a Spaniard, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after the 1,200 kgs (2,640 pounds) of cannabis resin was found in the truck loaded with potatoes, the sources added. In 1993, an estimated 130 tonnes of hashish and cannabis resin were seized and about 300 foreigners implicated in drug smuggling were arrested in Morocco, officials said. The ports of Tangier and Casablanca have been the main exits for hashish products produced in the Rif mountain area of northern Morocco. REUTER RTw 05/12/94 THAI POT SMUGGLED TO POLAND ENDS UP BACK IN BANGKOK BANGKOK, May 12 (Reuter) - More than five tonnes of marijuana smuggled from Thailand to Poland last year was found in a Bangkok warehouse after it was shipped back from Poland when it was not claimed, customs officials said on Thursday. The drugs, hidden in a consignment of dog food, was left in storage at a Polish port for seven months before authorities there, unaware of the real contents, decided it would never be claimed and shipped it back to Thailand. Thai authorities are looking for the owner of the abandoned shipment. REUTER APn 05/12/94 Rodham Qualifies TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Hugh Rodham qualified as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate on Thursday and declined a challenge to say whether he has used illegal drugs. Rodham, a former Dade County assistant public defender and younger brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton, hopes to win the nomination in the Sept. 6 primary to challenge first-term Republican Sen. Connie Mack III. Ellis Rubin, another Democratic hopeful, filed qualifying papers Tuesday and handed out copies of a sworn statement saying he has never knowingly used controlled substances. Rubin, a Miami lawyer, challenged other candidates to sign similar statements. Mack, who qualified by mail Monday, admitted during his 1988 campaign that he had experimented with marijuana in the past. "When he asks me, we'll take that question up at the time," Rodham said at a news conference when asked about Rubin's challenge. He also declined to criticize the drug statement tactic. Other Senate candidates who have qualified are Democrat Arturo Perez, a Winter Haven physician, and Green Party member Johnny Ardis of Pensacola. UPce 05/13/94 Senior citizen jailed for pot growing MUNISING, Mich., May 13 (UPI) -- A 65-year-old Grand Marais man was being held in the Alger County jail Friday for operating what one state trooper called "the most sophisticated marijuana growing operation I've ever seen." The man was discovered preparing to plant pot in more than 100 spots near the Fox River in the Grand Sable State Forest, police said. The man's name was being withheld pending arraignment next week. He does not have a criminal record, police said, but faces up to four years in jail if convicted on the felony charge of manufacturing marijuana. State conservation officer Jim Rubin stumbled on the operation Thursday while checking a trout stream. The suspect was using a gasoline pump to divert river water into a 2,600-gallon plywood reservoir camouflaged with a tarp, police said. State Police Sgt. Michael Loyd said the reservoir, nestled among pine trees, would have been impossible to see from the air. Near the reservoir was material for building electric fences and more than 100 isolated spots where soil had been turned. Rubin and State Police Trooper Donald Tillery questioned the man. "He told me he was about to plant marijuana and some squash," Tillery said. "This was the most sophisticated marijuana-growing operation I've ever seen." The man admitted to Rubin and Tillery he planned to grow pot. But because there was no marijuana on site they could not arrest him on drug charges, and he was released. Police then got a warrant to search the man's Grand Marais home. Loyd said they found 43 young marijuana plants and evidence that others had been burned in the suspect's back yard. He was then arrested. The man's land, home, two vehicles and cash could be confiscated if he is found guilty of using those items to manufacture drugs. circa 05/13/94 [untitled - Singapore Hangs 6 for Drugs] SINGAPORE - Six Malaysian men convicted for drug trafficking were hanged at Singapore's high security Changi prison, the Central Narcotics Bureau said. In Singapore, the death sentence is mandatory for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than 15 grams (half an ounce) of heroin, 30 grams (1 oz) of morphine or 500 grams (18 oz) of cannabis. - - - - RTna 05/13/94 SINGAPORE HANGS SIX MALAYSIAN DRUG TRAFFICKERS SINGAPORE (Reuter) - Six Malaysian men convicted for drug trafficking were hanged at Singapore's high security Changi prison Friday, Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said. Hanafiah Bin Bedullah, 26, was arrested in December 1990 aboard a railbus at a train station here after he was caught carrying 5.51 pounds of cannabis. Customs officials arrested Mat Repin Bin Mamat, 40, in October 1991 at a border checkpost as he was driving by scooter from Malaysia. They found 2.20 pounds of cannabis concealed beneath the scooter's gasoline tank. Lai Kam Loy, 27, was arrested while attempting to deliver 6.95 ounces of heroin to an undercover narcotics officer in May 1991. Three other Malaysians, Tee Seh Ping, 26, Yeo Choon Chau, 23, and Yeo Choon Poh, 26, were charged for abetting Lai in trafficking the heroin. The court of criminal appeal, the highest court in Singapore, rejected appeals by all six men. Under Singapore's strict anti-drugs laws, the death sentence is mandatory for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than half an ounce of heroin, one ounce of morphine or 18 ounces of cannabis. Including the latest executions on Friday, Singapore has hanged 59 people for drug trafficking since 1975 when its tough anti-drug laws were introduced. REUTER RTw 05/14/94 STRONGER BRITISH DRUG LAW FACES MANY CRITICS By Paul Harris LONDON, May 15 (Reuter) - Sixties rock stars were renowned for smoking it. American President Bill Clinton tried it and famously didn't inhale. But a new British drug law aims to crack down on the icon of hippy culture -- cannabis. An amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, currently before parliament and expected to become law in July, will increase the maximum fine for possessing the drug to 2,500 pounds ($3,700). The fivefold rise is the first for 17 years. But the move against cannabis use has met unexpected opposition from police and magistrates, who will implement it. "We don't think it will be particularly effective. There is a danger it could lead to more crime as users may commit crimes to pay for their fines," said Fran Edwards, spokeswoman for the Police Federation, which represents police in England and Wales. Increasingly British police have simply cautioned people possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use. In 1992, 51 percent of drugs offences were dealt with in this way, compared with two percent in 1982 and the trend has been towards lenience. Guidelines to magistrates suggest a fine of 180 pounds ($270) for possession against a present maximum of 500 pounds ($750). Rosemary Thomson, chairwoman of the Magistrates' Association, is dismissive of higher fines. "It's utter rubbish, so far out of synch with the seriousness of the offence," she said. "It is not on our agenda," said Thomson when asked if the new law would cause Magistrates' Association guidelines on fines to go up. The attitude of the magistrates and police may make the increased fines pointless. Police will still caution most cases and magistrates will keep their old guidelines. Ironically the drive to discourage the use of cannabis has instead opened a debate about its legalisation. Mike Goodman, director of the drugs welfare charity Release, said it had done people who want to legalise cannabis "a real favour." "Most people involved in the field find cannabis non-problematic. It gets a clean bill of health compared to heavier drugs," he added. Not everyone agrees. Conservative member of parliament Tim Rathbone, chairman of a parliamentary committee on drug abuse, told Reuters: "It is very dangerous for the people who use it. It can damage their brains and their bodies." Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Britain. A recent survey said that nearly a third of 14 and 15 year-olds had used it. Some experts call for the complete legalisation of all illicit substances. Richard Stevenson, an economist at Liverpool University, wrote a paper called "Winning the War on Drugs -- To Legalise Or Not?" for the Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-wing think tank. Stevenson believes that all drugs should be legalised, marketed and regulated so that they can be controlled. "I am prepared to argue that drugs should be as legal as beer. They could be available from chemists clearly labelled and unquestionably with a government health warning," he said. But easy availability could increase the number of users. The idea of buying heroin as easily as a bottle of wine angers Rathbone. He said that society's experience of alcohol abuse did not recommend making heroin equally obtainable. "Ready availability has already made alcohol by far the greatest drug threat. More crimes are committed, more families are split and more work days lost through alcohol," he said. Rathbone's views are shared by Steven Green, chairman of the Conservative Family Campaign, a Christian lobbying group. Green does not see cannabis as harmless and believes users will move on to "harder' drugs like heroin and crack-cocaine. "The link between hard and soft drugs is pretty much established," he said. He welcomed the higher cannabis fines as a "signal that the government is not going soft on drugs." The ruling Conservative Party has little intention of reversing its tougher policy. But opposition Labour politician Tony Banks has called for the setting up of a Royal Commission to debate Britain's drug laws. "A Royal Commission should look at the whole issue of legalising or decriminalising soft drugs and hard drugs," he said. But others oppose the idea. "It would serve no purpose. All the facts are already public that prove drugs are harmful and shouldn't be legalised," said Rathbone. Banks admits a Royal Commission could be a long way off. But he believes British drug laws will change within the next 10 years. "It may be the triumph of hope over experience but at least I'm trying," he said. REUTER dpa 05/15/94 Festnahmen bei verbotenem Haschisch-Happening - Einer hatte 436 Gramm dabei: "Das geht ja wohl ueber den Eigengebrauch deutlich hinaus" Darmstadt/Bonn (dpa) - Rund zwei Wochen nach dem spektakulaeren Haschisch-Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts sind 51 "Kiffer" auf dem Weg zu einem verbotenen "Haschisch-Wochenende" in Darmstadt festgenommen worden. Bei ihnen wurden am Samstag insgesamt rund 650 Gramm Hasch und Marihuana gefunden, so das Polizeipraesidium. Bis zu 1 000 Cannabis-Anhaenger hatten die suedhessische Stadt bevoelkert und dort nach einem Veranstaltungsort gesucht. Viele reisten aus anderen Teilen des Bundesgebietes an, verliessen Darmstadt aber im Laufe der Nacht. "Am Sonntag sind nur noch etwa 150 Leute uebriggeblieben", so ein Polizeisprecher. Urspruenglich hatten zwei Initiativen rund 10 000 Teilnehmer erwartet. Geplant waren Ausstellungen, Diskussionen und Vortraege und rund um die Hanf-Pflanze. Die Stadt hatte das Treffen untersagt. Vier der Festgenommenen wurden bis zum Sonntag nicht wieder auf freien Fuss gesetzt. In drei Faellen habe ein Haftbefehl wegen Koerperverletzung oder Drogendelikten vorgelegen. Ein 38jaehriger Darmstaedter sollte dem Haftrichter vorgefuehrt werden, nachdem bei ihm 436 Gramm Haschisch sichergestellt wurden. "Das geht ja wohl ueber den Eigengebrauch deutlich hinaus", sagte der Polizeisprecher. Trotz des Verbots hatte die Polizei mit zahlreichen Haschisch-Fans gerechnet und an Einfallstrassen fuenf Kontrollpunkte errichtet. Dort kam es zu langen Staus. Beschlagnahmt wurden ausser den Drogen auch drei Cannabis-Pflanzen, etwa 30 Pfeifen, sechs Schreckschusswaffen, mehr als zehn Messer, Schlagstoecke und Traenengas. Das Verfassungsgericht hatte Haschischbesitz zwar nicht erlaubt. Kuenftig bleibt es aber der Staatsanwaltschaft bei kleinen Mengen ueberlassen, ob sie einen "Kiffer" verfolgen will. Allerdings haben sich die Laender noch nicht darauf geeinigt, was als kleine Menge zu gelten hat, wie Justizministerin Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) in einem Interview der "Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung" erneut klarstellte. Auf "harte" Drogen beziehe sich das Urteil auf keinen Fall. Das sieht das Land Nordrhein-Westfalen anders. In eigenen Richtlinien hatte Justizminister Rolf Krumsiek (SPD) am Freitag "geringe Mengen zum Eigenverbrauch" mit zehn Gramm Haschisch oder Marihuana sowie jeweils einem halben Gramm Heroin, Kokain oder Amphetamine definiert. Bei Funden, die unter diesen Mengen liegen, koennen die Staatsanwaltschaften Strafverfahren einstellen. In Schleswig-Holstein gelten 30 Gramm Haschisch als kleine Menge, waehrend in Brandenburg die Grenze auf 0,5 Gramm festgesetzt ist. dpa kf/doe re dpa 05/16/94 Koalition beschaeftigt sich mit Karlsruher "Haschisch-Urteil" - Lintner: NRW-Beschluss unverantwortlich Bonn (dpa) - Die Koalitionsrunde wird sich an diesem Dienstag mit dem Beschluss des Bundesverfassungsgerichts befassen, den Besitz geringer Mengen von Haschisch zwar nicht zu erlauben, den Staatsanwaltschaften aber die Strafverfolgung freizustellen. Das wurde am Montag in Bonn zuverlaessig bekannt. Bei dem Gespraech zwischen CDU/CSU und FDP soll versucht werden, eine gemeinsame Sprachregelung der Koalition zu finden. Waehrenddessen kritisierte der Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Innenstaatssekretaer Eduard Lintner (CSU) die Entscheidung des nordrhein-westfaelischen Justizministers Rolf Krumsieck (SPD) scharf, auch den Besitz kleinerer Mengen harter Drogen zu tolerieren. Lintner sagte in einem dpa-Gespraech, er halte die von Krumsieck vorgeschlagene Praxis, den Besitz von 0,5 Gramm Heroin, Kokain oder Amphetaminen nicht mehr unter Strafe zu stellen, "fuer einen schlimmen und unverantwortlichen Missbrauch des Beschlusses des Bundesverfassungsgerichts". "Das Verfassungsgericht beschraenkt seinen Beschluss ausdruecklich und wirklich ausdruecklich nur auf Cannabis" und koenne deshalb fuer harte Drogen nicht in Anspruch genommen werden, sagte Lintner. "Von einem Justizminister erwartet man eigentlich, dass er das respektiert und zur Kenntnis nimmt, wenn er es nicht tut, so muss er an Recht und Gesetz gemahnt werden" - so der Drogenbeauftragte. Die Krumsieck-Entscheidung war zuvor von mehreren Politikern aller grossen Parteien scharf verurteilt worden. Nach Auffassung des Parlamentarischen Geschaeftsfuehrers der Unionsfraktion, Juergen Ruettgers, macht sich der Staat damit "mittelbar zum Dealer". Der Hartmann-Bund, die Vereinigung der niedergelassenen Aerzte, nannte den NRW-Beschluss einen "verhaengnisvollen Schritt in Richtung auf eine totale Freigabe". dpa rt uh kb APn 05/17/94 Capriati Arrested By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- As a precocious 14-year-old, Jennifer Capriati gave the veterans of tennis all kinds of trouble. Now, at 18, Capriati is the one finding trouble. The tennis star was arrested Monday on marijuana possession charges after police looking for a runaway searched her $50-a-night motel room. Capriati was released and an arraignment date will be set within five days, said Mort Lucoff, a spokesman for Dade County courts. If convicted of the misdemeanor, she will probably have only to submit to counseling, he said. Her arrest came five months after she was cited by Tampa police for allegedly shoplifting a $15 ring from a mall. Capriati could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer, John Ross, did not immediately return a call to his office. His home number is unlisted. Barbara Perry, Capriati's agent, had no immediate comment. Her younger brother, Steven, who said he spoke to Capriati by telephone, told The New York Times she "was crying a little bit, but was OK." Police went to the Gables Inn after receiving an anonymous tip that a 17-year-old runaway girl was in Capriati's room, police said. Capriati let detectives search the room, and marijuana was found in her knapsack, police said. While police were conducting the search, the runaway and 19-year-old Tom Wineland of Key Biscayne drove up in Capriati's sports car, and they, too, were charged with drug offenses, Sgt. Mitch Fry said. The runaway was charged with possession of heroin and released to her parents. Wineland was charged with possession of suspected crack and drug paraphernalia and was jailed on $6,000 bail. Fry said he didn't know how the three knew one another. Capriati had recently been living in Boca Raton with friends after moving out of her parents' home near Tampa. She told Sports Illustrated she was "chillin', just having fun," and taking SAT preparation classes at Florida Atlantic University. Capriati turned pro at 13 and won her first pro tournament a year later. In 1990, at 15, she became the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon. She reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1991 and has a career record of 149-45. She has won more than $1.5 million as a professional. Capriati has not played tennis since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open last August. She left the tour because of an injured elbow. In January, she said she wouldn't return to playing until after her high school graduation in June. She later began talking about the importance of having a life outside tennis. In December, Capriati was acccused of shoplifting in Tampa. Her agent said she had absent-mindedly wandering off with a silver ring. The matter was settled without penalty; she was a juvenile at the time. UPse 05/17/94 Germany rejects drug decriminalization BONN, May 17 (UPI) -- The German government said Tuesday it is preparing to tighten federal drug laws to prevent North Rhine-Westphalia state from decriminalizing cocaine and heroin. The Bonn government says North Rhine-Westphalia's justice minister, Rolf Krumsiek, has wrongly extended a recent court ruling decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of some drugs to also include heroin and cocaine. Krumsiek has chosen "the wrong way," said Eduard Lintner, a federal government narcotics specialist. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court -- the country's highest court -- ruled on April 28 that the purchase and possession of small quantities of some drugs for personal use should be exempt from prosecution. The court's judges emphasized the ruling applied only to cannabis- based products, such as hashish, and did not amount to full legalization. The court called on Germany's 16 federal states to carry out a uniform implementation of the ruling. But Social Democratic-run North Rhine-Westphalia subsequently announced it would decriminalize possession of up to one-half of a gram of cocaine and heroin. Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic-led coalition government strongly condemned the move and vowed to get it reversed. However, Germany's decentralized federal system allows individual states a certain amount of autonomy in implementing and policing drug laws. In addition, legal experts say the decision to decriminalize "soft drugs" is highly confusing because Germany's present narcotics laws do not presently distinguish between "hard" and "soft" drugs. The Kohl government Tuesday established a working group, including federal interior, justice and health ministers, which is charged with drafting an ammendment to tighten the present vaguely-worded federal drug laws. RTw 05/18/94 ROMANIA POLICE CLAIM INROADS INTO DRUG SMUGGLING BUCHAREST, May 18 (Reuter) - Romanian police said on Wednesday they had listed record successes against drugs smuggling, which had become a crime battlefield since the 1989 collapse of Communist rule. Interior ministry official Major Cristian Timofte said that in the past few years Romania has become a major staging point for drugs -- mainly cannabis -- on the Balkan route towards rich markets in north and west Europe. "There are no laboratories to process drugs and there is no market for drugs in Romania, where drug addicts are virtually non-existent," he told Reuters. But police had seized 11.4 tonnes of cannabis in 1993, compared to 30 kg (65 lb) the previous year and 35 kg (75 lb) in 1991. This week police also announced their biggest hard-drugs haul -- 112 kg (245 lb) of pure heroin. They captured it in what police chief General Ion Pitulescu described as a "blow to the Balkan connection." Police said they dismantled a bus carrying tourists from Turkey to Germany through Romania and found the heroin packed in small bags hidden in the body of the vehicle. They said they were still trying to trace the mastermind of the drugs operation, who was believed to be hiding in Spain. REUTER RTw 05/18/94 MORE THAI POLITICIANS FACE U.S. DRUG SUSPICION (Eds: adds opposition parties walk out of parliament) BANGKOK, May 18 (Reuter) - The United States suspects 17 Thai politicians, including several members of parliament, are involved in the narcotics business, Thai government officials said on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Prasong Soonsiri informed government colleagues of the U.S. suspicions during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, an official said. Opposition members of parliament, alleging the government had political motives for revealing the suspicions, walked out of the House in protest on Wednesday after demanding Prasong identify those under suspicion. The only politician identified by name so far was Mongkol Chongsuthamanee, a member of the opposition Chart Pattana (National Development) party from the northern province of Chiang Rai. Prasong said on Wednesday Mongkol had been denied an entry visa by the United States. Prasong said he did not know the reason for the visa refusal last March and refused to elaborate on the U.S. suspicions. The U.S. embassy declined comment on the matter and Mongkol was not available for comment. U.S. authorities last week revealed the contents of an indictment against another member of parliament, Thanong Siripreechapong of the opposition Chart Thai (Thai Nation) party, accusing him of smuggling more than 45 tonnes of marijuana to the United States between 1977 and 1987. One government official said some of the 17 suspects were provincial and district-level politicians. Three of the 17, including Mongkol, have been denied permission to travel to the United States by authorities, according to newspaper reports. Mongkol is known to be an associate and former aide of veteran politician Narong Wongwan, who withdrew as a prime ministerial nominee in 1992 when U.S. authorities revealed he had been denied a U.S. entry visa on suspicion of involvement in narcotics trafficking. Earlier this month the U.S. embassy said authorities seized a Los Angeles home and Mercedes Benz car last year belonging to Thanong. An affidavit in support of a prosecutor's request to seize property belonging to Thanong in California, made public last week, alleged Thanong earned more than $10 million by smuggling marijuana into the United States. Thanong told reporters he was innocent of all charges and wanted to travel to the United States to clear his name. REUTER APn 05/18/94 Germany-Drugs By LARRY THORSON Associated Press Writer BERLIN (AP) -- The government spoke out sharply for keeping hard drugs illegal after Germany's most populous state said people should not be prosecuted for possessing small amounts of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine. Germany's drug policy has been in question since April 28, when its highest court ruled that people should not be prosecuted for possessing small amounts of marijuana and hashish for personal use. The Constitutional Court did not define "small amount," saying that was up to the 16 states. The debate moved from "soft drugs" to a new level over the weekend when the justice minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state said he would extend the ruling to harder drugs such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamine. The minister, Rolf Krumsiek, said the state would no longer arrest people found in possession of up to 10 grams of hashish or marijuana, or about a third of an ounce, half a gram of heroin, cocaine or morphine, or three doses of other drugs. North Rhine-Westphalia has a population of over 17 million, including Bonn, the seat of government, and the major cities of Cologne and Duesseldorf. The state government is run by the liberal Social Democrats. In Bonn, government spokesman Dieter Vogel said Tuesday that Chancellor Helmut Kohl's conservative coalition rejects the decontrol of hard drugs, even in small amounts. The national drugs commissioner, Eduard Lintner, said there was no precedent for the new state policy and predicted it would pose "most severe dangers for social and health policy." Germany registered 1,738 deaths from drugs overdoses last year. In Bonn, legislators were considering amending the drugs law to distinguish between soft and hard drugs, the only way the government could force North Rhine-Westphalia to change its policy.
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