Band leader arrested in child porn case

SAN JUAN — U.S. federal officials said a former director of a Puerto Rican municipal marching band was arrested as part of a child pornography investigation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said they searched Nelson Velez Luciano’s home in the southern city of Ponce and found pornographic images of a minor on his computer.

The former leader of the Dorado municipal band is accused of committing lascivious acts against a local girl since she was 13 years old. The alleged victim is now 17. The 45-year-old suspect faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted.


Extended detention worries dissidents

HAVANA — Dissidents expressed increasing concern about the detention of a man who is among an earlier release of prisoners negotiated by the Roman Catholic Church.

De facto dissident spokesman Elizardo Sanchez said Jose Daniel Ferrer was jailed in April 2 in the eastern city of Santiago for unexplained reasons. Ferrer was among dozens of political prisoners freed last year under a deal with the church. Most went abroad but Ferrer and some others stayed.

Several have been detained briefly since their release but none for as long as Ferrer. Sanchez says he was “very concerned” about his continued detention.

Now 41, Ferrer was among 75 prominent intellectuals, opposition leaders and activists arrested in 2003 on charges including treason. They reject the charges.


New environment rules urged

KINGSTON — The political opposition says the government urgently needs a new comprehensive policy to protect the environment.

Opposition environment spokesman Horace Chang cited numerous reports of rat infestations in Kingston communities and a recent fire at an open-air landfill that spread noxious smoke across the capital for more than a week. He said revamped policies are needed to coordinate the efforts of government agencies.

Chang said there was a lack of direction by the government during environmental emergencies which was “very troubling.”

Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill recently said that cash-strapped Jamaica needs at least $20 million to build appropriate landfills. He did not immediately respond to Chang’s comments.

The following news briefs were compiled from reports by The Associated Press