N. Carolina man accused of illegally importing fish

ATLANTA - A federal grand jury in Atlanta accuses a Charlotte, N.C., man of illegally importing endangered fish and coral into the United States.

Federal prosecutors said 33-year-old Qi Gui Nie, owner of a business called Lucky Fin, was charged with illegally importing and attempting to import endangered and prohibited wildlife and violating the Lacey Act, a federal law meant to assist state prosecutions for violations of wildlife laws.

The indictment involves protected stony coral and 10 Asian bonytongue fish, or arowana, from Vietnam, valued at about $25,000. In Asia, the fish are considered good luck.

Prosecutors said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspector found the fish in hidden compartments of boxes containing legally imported fish and coral.

Georgia soldier pleads guilty to desertion

FORT STEWART - A Fort Stewart soldier charged with deserting the Army has pleaded guilty in a military courtroom.

Spc. Cliff Cornell, who fled to Canada in 2005 to avoid deploying to Iraq, entered the plea Tuesday. His sentencing hearing was continuing Tuesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old from Mountain Home, Ark., returned to Fort Stewart in February after the Canadian government denied him asylum as a war objector.

Desertion carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.