Two former police officers and a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty Monday to charges linking them to a home invasion robbery ring led by an ex-LAPD Rampart Division officer. Former Long Beach police Officer Joseph Ferguson, 31, former Los Angeles Police Department Officer William Ferguson, 33, and former Deputy Rodrigo Duran, 35, entered their pleas before U.S. District Judge Gary Feess. The three men are charged in a federal indictment with taking part in ex-Officer Ruben Palomares’ ring. Feess set a tentative trial date of May 2, although the case likely won’t go to trial until later this year. Duran and the Fergusons, who are brothers, remain in custody, although Feess scheduled a Wednesday morning hearing to decide whether Joseph Ferguson – the younger brother – should be released on bond. Outside court, Joseph Ferguson’s defense attorney, Vicki Podberesky, said she and her client had been in discussions with prosecutors for six months before the indictment was returned last week. “We feel that once we’ve had a chance to review the case … that we will be able to demonstrate in court that Joseph Ferguson is innocent of the charges,” Podberesky said. Duran, a Tehachapi resident, left the Sheriff’s Department in 1999 and has worked for the California Department of Corrections since 1996. Federal prosecutors said he has been placed on leave from his prison job in light of the robbery investigation. LAPD Chief William Bratton told reporters when the indictment was made public Thursday that the law enforcement officers charged with participating in the ring, which targeted drug houses, are “traitors to the badge … traitors to their fellow officers, and most importantly, traitors to the public trust.” Members of the ring committed the robberies between 1999 and 2001 using uniforms and badges provided by Palomares, prosecutors allege. At the time, the officers were on active duty with their respective departments, according to court papers. The indictment alleges that the defendants “entered into a scheme to burglarize and steal property from residences and commercial buildings and to rob various individuals. “Various co-conspirators would approach the target locations and identify and represent themselves as law enforcement officers performing official duties in order to gain entry to the target locations and to persuade their victims to comply with their demands,” the indictment states. In one robbery in East Los Angeles, the ring allegedly took about 110 pounds of cocaine; in another in East Rancho Dominguez, about 600 pounds of marijuana was the prize. On yet another occasion, the ring allegedly stole televisions from a truck in Montebello. Often, prosecutors allege, the ring members would not find the drugs their surveillance had led them to believe were in the homes – in which case they would take whatever was of value. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
It seems straightforward: Iron-rich dust floating on the wind falls into the sea, where it nourishes organisms that suck carbon dioxide from the air. Over time, so much of this greenhouse gas disappears from the atmosphere that the planet begins to cool. Scientists have proposed that such a process contributed to past ice ages, but they haven’t had strong evidence—until now.“This is a really good paper, a big step forward in the field,” says Edward Boyle, a marine geochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The research doesn’t directly measure the amount of dissolved iron in the waters due to dust in previous eras, Boyle says, but “they provide a much better case for what [nitrogen levels] have done in the past”—information that can reveal the ebb and flow of ancient life.The notion that iron-rich dust could boost the growth of microorganisms that pull carbon dioxide from the air took hold in the late 1980s. During ice ages, when sea levels are low and broad areas of now-submerged coastal shallows are exposed, sediments rich in iron and other nutrients would dry out, the thinking went. Then, strong winds would loft that fine-grained, dehydrated dust and carry it far offshore, where it would nourish carbon dioxide–sucking phytoplankton at the base of the ocean’s food chain. Previous analyses of sediments that accumulated on sea floors during past millennia suggest that increases in iron-rich dust falling into surface waters boost biological productivity there, but those studies provide only a correlation in timing, says Alfredo Martínez-García, a paleoclimatologist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Now, Martínez-García and his colleagues have developed a new way to probe past seafloor sediments. In core samples of bottom mud, they looked at the organic material bound to the carbonate skeletons of one particular species of the free-floating microorganisms called foraminifera. (That particular species is relatively large and easy to identify, so its remains are simple to separate from those of other “forams.”) The researchers were particularly interested in nitrogen, which the microorganisms would have consumed as nitrate dissolved in seawater. The heavier the overall ratio of nitrogen isotopes in a sample, the more the surface waters above that site would have been thriving with life, the new technique suggests. Carbon dating provided an age for each sediment sample.Applying the new method, the researchers looked at a more-than-5-meter-long sediment core, representing about 160,000 years of accumulation, drilled from the deep sea floor off the southwestern coast of South Africa. Prevailing winds would have carried dust there from the eastern coast of South America when sea levels were low during ice ages, and from Patagonian deserts during interglacial periods, Martínez-García says. So, he notes, sediment accumulation at this site should provide a good test of the iron fertilization hypothesis.Results show strong links among the amount of dust deposited in the region, biological productivity at the sea surface, and the amount of dissolved nitrate consumed by the forams, the researchers report online today in Science. Those relationships were true during the peaks of the last two ice ages, as well as during centuries-long spates of colder-than-normal climate at other times in the past 160,000 years, Martínez-García says.The biochemical fingerprint that the team has identified explains only about half of the carbon dioxide variation that occurred between past glacial and interglacial periods, says Andrew Watson, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. So, although iron fertilization may be a major factor influencing Earth’s climate, it doesn’t fully explain the coming and going of ice ages. Nevertheless, he notes, “this is the nicest data that I’ve seen yet.”And although past field studies have shown that artificially seeding the seas with iron has boosted biological productivity in the ocean, debate still rages about whether the carbon pulled from the atmosphere ends up locked away in seafloor sediments for the long term—a goal for efforts intended to geoengineer the climate by removing atmospheric CO2. Indeed, some research suggests that creatures higher in the ocean’s food web, taking advantage of the increased food supply, respond with a population boom of their own and quickly return the carbon dioxide to the ecosystem in the normal course of breathing.
Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, comments on a state operating budget amendment in the House Finance Committee in the Alaska State Capitol on March 6. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)Fairbanks Rep. David Guttenberg was taken to the hospital from the state Capitol building at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.Listen nowMichael Mason, a spokesman for Guttenberg’s caucus, said the lawmaker had an “unknown medical emergency.” Mason said Guttenberg was conscious, talking and in “good spirits” before he was taken away.The emergency interrupted hearings on the state’s operating budget in the House Finance Committee, on which Guttenberg sits.The committee plans to resume work on the budget later next week.