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Press release c/o Mercury News

Threat closes Ventura County port
NOTE IN CARGO HOLD PROMPTS EVACUATION

PORT HUENEME - Port Hueneme in Ventura County was closed off for several hours Monday afternoon while authorities investigated a possible terrorist threat on a cargo ship, authorities said.

The closing came just before noon after a dockworker discovered a possible threat written in the cargo hold of a ship carrying bananas from Guatemala, said Will Berg, the port's marketing director.

There was some discrepancy in reports of the exact phrasing of the message.

Berg said it read: ``This nitro is for you Mr. George W. Bush and your Jewish cronies.''

Federal authorities said it was written in English and read: ``Nitro + glycerin my gift for G. W. Bush and his Jewish gang.''

The message, scrawled in marker on a metal pillar within the ship, was being investigated by federal authorities, including the FBI and Secret Service, as well as local officials.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said agents were at the scene. No nitroglycerin or other explosives were found during a thorough search by bomb personnel, she said.

Divers were called in to inspect surrounding waters.

About 20 people were evacuated from the 30,000-ton refrigerated vessel, identified as the Wild Lotus, which arrived from the Port of Quetzal in Guatemala on Sunday evening, officials said. Workers already outside the port were kept out during the closing, though anyone inside was allowed to remain.

The port was reopened about 3:30 p.m., and workers resumed unloading two other ships while the investigation continued, police Cmdr. Jerry Beck said.

The 135-acre port, located northwest of Los Angeles, consists of two terminals. It is the only deep-ocean port between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though it handles far less cargo than the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex, the nation's largest harbor.

It is the top seaport in the United States for citrus exports and ranks in the Top 10 in the country for imports of automobiles and bananas, according to the port's Web site.

Mag Flores, business agent for the local chapter of the dockworkers' union, said the incident could slow trade.

``It upsets everybody,'' Flores said. ``What kind of person would do that?''


Rushie
 

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Quote "it upsets everybody,"Flores said. "What kind of person would do that."

Guess she's never heard of September 11th.

JC
 

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...just how paranoid do you have to be to act on something like this? Overkill as usual.
Regards, Kilroy
 
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