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Nation in brief

Texas smugglers may be organized

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 18, 2003

HOUSTON - Investigators believe a smuggling operation in which 19 illegal immigrants died after being packed into a sweltering trailer with dozens of other people is part of a larger organization, a federal prosecutor said.

Only one person has been arrested, a truck driver from Schenectady, N.Y.

Authorities believe the "transportation cell" at the heart of the smuggling case is part of a conspiracy to bring illegal immigrants across the border with promises of jobs, said U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby of Houston.

"We are viewing this as an organized criminal act and we are going to prosecute the entire organization."

Thousands march for MLK recognition

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Thousands marched in Greenville on Saturday to protest the county's lack of a Martin Luther King holiday and re-energize the civil rights movement in the South, organizers said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume led the 2-mile, 1960s-style march to push the Greenville County Council to establish a paid day off for employees on King Day. It is one of only three South Carolina counties that does not close its offices on the holiday.

There were varying estimates of the number of people attending the march. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People estimated about 3,000, while some police officials said it may have been much more.

Jackson, a Greenville native, said Saturday's march was the beginning of a plan to reinvigorate the civil rights movement in the South. The rally fell on the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education decision that made segregation in public schools illegal.

"For so long, Greenville has been passive in the face of gross injustice and the Confederate ideology, but now people are coming alive," he said. "We're launching a national movement from Greenville today." He said that movement will include voter registration drives and pushes for reform in prisons and public education.

5 die at annual motorcycle rally

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Five motorcycle riders have been killed in traffic accidents during this year's Harley-Davidson rally, the most in seven years at the annual event.

The annual Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Myrtle Beach Rally wraps up today.

Law enforcement officials say there isn't a common thread among the wrecks this year.

"It's just the crowd," said Highway Patrol Trooper 1st Class Ashley Mew. "And most of the ones who have been fatally injured were not wearing helmets."

South Carolina does not require bikers 21 or older to wear helmets.

Minor earthquake rattles California

CALIPATRIA, Calif. - A small earthquake rocked southern California early Saturday. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The magnitude-3.0 temblor was centered about six miles northwest of Calipatria, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed minutes later by a 2.1 quake.

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