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Former Houston police officer charged in drug case

HOUSTON (AP) - A former Houston police officer has been charged with helping distribute cocaine when he was on the force.

Federal prosecutors in Houston on Wednesday announced the arrest of 36-year-old Marcos E. Carrion, who recently resigned from the Houston Police Department.

An indictment returned April 16 and unsealed as Carrion surrendered charges him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. No attorney information was immediately available for Carrion, who faces an initial court appearance.

Investigators say the case involves cocaine being moved from mid-2013 through this month. Further details weren't immediately released.

Carrion had been a Houston police officer for five years. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison and a fine of as much as $10 million.

Houston police had no immediate comment.


Dallas police seek suspect after man fatally shot

DALLAS (AP) - Police say a 37-year-old man who was found shot on a North Dallas street has died.

Dallas police had no immediate witness or suspect information in Wednesday morning's death of Matthew De La Garza.

Officials say De La Garza had been shot several times and was discovered unconscious in the street. He was transported to a hospital, where he died.

Police are seeking a motive for the gunfire in a neighborhood.


Contract worker dies in Texas Formosa plant fall

POINT COMFORT, Texas (AP) - A contract worker has died after falling about 25 feet while doing routine cleaning at a Formosa Plastics Corp. Texas plant.

The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday identified the victim as 26-year-old Christopher Adames of Port Lavaca (luh-VAH'-kuh).

The accident happened around midday Tuesday at the Formosa specialty PVC unit in Point Comfort, about 110 miles southwest of Houston.

A Formosa statement did not include the name of the company that employed the victim. Adames was dead at the scene.

Federal safety officials are helping investigate the accident.


Bryan woman gets 11 years for health care fraud

HOUSTON (AP) - A Central Texas medical supply operator has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison in a nearly $3.4 million health care fraud scheme.

Prosecutors in Houston on Wednesday announced the penalty for 42-year-old Yolanda Nowlin of Bryan. Nowlin must also repay more than $850,000 to government programs.

A federal jury last September convicted Nowlin of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit kickback fraud and aiding and abetting Social Security fraud.

Investigators say Nowlin, who was sentenced Tuesday, ran two durable medical equipment companies and Carla Parnell of Bryan was an office manager. The fraudulent claims involved operations from 2003 through 2009.

Parnell awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Social Security fraud and testifying against Nowlin.


Fired Wayland Baptist CFO pleads guilty to theft

PLAINVIEW, Texas (AP) - A fired chief financial officer at a West Texas university must serve five years in prison for stealing more than $1.3 million in school money.

Hale County District Attorney Wally Hatch on Wednesday said 68-year-old James E. Smith was taken into custody after pleading guilty to felony theft.

The Amarillo Globe-News reports the ex-Wayland Baptist University CFO was sentenced last Thursday in a plea deal. Hatch says Smith was also ordered to repay the stolen money - initially estimated at about $40,000.

Smith was suspended in March 2013 amid allegations he falsified financial documents and embezzled university money over a four-year period. The wrongdoing was uncovered during a financial review of campus construction.

Smith, who was fired last April, had been CFO of the school in Plainview since 2001.


Some Harris County feral hogs head to food banks

HOUSTON (AP) - Some property-destroying feral hogs being trapped in the Houston area will be butchered and the meat donated to food banks.

Harris County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a one-year, $217,600 contract with J&J Packing Co.

The Houston Chronicle reports metal traps will be set up near two reservoirs. The destructive pigs will be taken to a processing facility in Brookshire.

Brian Mesenbrink is a wildlife disease biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mesenbrink says trapping and processing can be costly, plus wild pigs can carry diseases.

Commissioner Steve Radack says it's common for people to hunt and eat feral hogs. His district last year secured a $630,000 federal grant to study hog removal, pay for traps and process 2,500 pigs.

The processing contract takes effect in May.


Texas quarantine expanded for citrus disease

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - The state Department of Agriculture has expanded a quarantine area to slow the spread of the citrus greening disease for two South Texas counties.

The agency this week advised Cameron and Hidalgo counties that the movement of citrus plants and plant materials will be restricted.

The agency's first citrus greening quarantine came in January 2012 and included a 5-mile radius around infected trees in San Juan. Monday's announcement represents the fifth expansion.

The bacterium is carried from an infected tree to healthy ones by the Asian citrus psyllid (SIL'-ed), a tiny brown insect that showed up in Florida in 1998. The bacterium spreads through an infected tree's vascular system. Trees produce smaller fruit that drops to the ground prematurely, and eventually the trees die.

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