The Space Needle is My Neighbor

"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting A Leg Up vs "Losing My Religion"

Here are two unsettling and rather gruesome news stories that I found hovering just below the radar this morning. Is there a punchline lurking somewhere? I leave it to you.

Man Charged With Smuggling Iguanas In His Leg

LOS ANGELES - A man has been charged with stealing three endangered iguanas from a nature preserve in Fiji and smuggling them into the United States in his prosthetic leg.
Jereme James, 33, faces a single count of smuggling, according to a federal indictment returned in Los Angeles. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Prosecutors say he stole the Fiji Island banded iguanas while visiting the South Pacific island in September 2002. He then brought the reptiles to the U.S. by hiding them in a special compartment he had constructed in his prosthetic leg, prosecutors said.

James came under scrutiny several years ago when someone informed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials that he had several of the neon green iguanas, which are protected under an international treaty regulating trade in endangered species.

During an undercover probe, James told investigators he sold three of the iguanas for $32,000, prosecutors said. When a search warrant was served at his house on April 26, Fish and Wildlife agents seized four iguanas. Authorities suspect James may have bred the creatures to sell them.

James, who was not taken into custody, could not be located for comment. Authorities believe he had not yet retained a lawyer, and a call to a J. James in Long Beach was not immediately returned.

Man Finds Human Leg In Smoker

MAIDEN, N.C. - A man who bought a smoker Tuesday at an auction of abandoned items might have thought twice had he looked inside first.

Maiden police said the man opened up the smoker and saw what he thought was a piece of driftwood wrapped in paper. When he unwrapped it, he found a human leg, cut off 2 to 3 inches above the knee.

The smoker had been sold at an auction of items left behind at a storage facility, so investigators contacted the mother and son who had rented the space where the smoker was found.

The mother, Peg Steele, explained her son had his leg amputated after a plane crash and kept the leg following the surgery “for religious reasons” she doesn’t know much about. “The rest of the family was very much against it,” Steele said.

Steele said her son, John Wood, plans to drive to Maiden, about 35 miles northwest of Charlotte, to reclaim his amputated leg, police said.


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