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Fugitive lawman arrested


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NASSAU, Bahamas – The deputy United States marshal who tracked a suspect in a Texas sexual assault case to the Bahamas said yesterday he was shocked to find the fugitive working as a police officer.The arrest last week of Nyahuma Anthony Bastian has embarrassed the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which hired him in 2003 even though he was wanted by the United States. Authorities in the island chain off the Florida coast say they will review security checks for recruits.The lead investigator in the case, Deputy United States Marshal Heath Hill, said the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force began hunting Bastian on the request of Denton County prosecutors last year. Hill said the case was particularly sensitive because of concerns about Bastian’s police training.“It was a shock because it’s so uncommon that someone would commit a crime of that magnitude and then flee the country and actually sign up to work for the police force,” Hill said in an interview from his office in Plano, Texas.Bastian was attending the University of North Texas when he allegedly ambushed, beat and raped a former girlfriend and fellow student. He was arrested in April 2001 but did not appear for his trial. His attorney said he pleaded not guilty, and left the United States because his visa expired.Bastian, a police corporal, was ordered jailed without bail on Friday pending a July 28 extradition hearing.Assistant Commissioner of Police Hulan Hanna said police background checks are extensive but the system is not foolproof.“Coming out of situations like this, we step back and review,” he said. “This is very serious, when the very custodians of the law become themselves suspects of breaking and infracting the rules.” (AP)

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