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Waitress wins dispute over keeping $12,000

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Moorhead, Minn., waitress has won her battle to keep $12,000 that a customer gave her but was confiscated as suspected drug money, her lawyer said Thursday.

The Clay County Attorney's Office decided to return to Stacy Knutson the three wads of cash that a customer left in a box on a table at the Fryn' Pan in Moorhead. "This is a woman with five kids who has been a waitress for 18 years," said her lawyer, Craig Richie. "She and her family were praying and asked God's intervention to touch these people's hearts, and that's what happened. It was about God providing for her."

Knutson filed a lawsuit saying that after a customer left a takeout box at her table, she followed the customer to her car, but the customer told her to keep the box. She said that later, after finding large rolls of cash, she notified police. Officers told her to wait 90 days in case someone claimed the money, but authorities later decided to hold the cash longer.

-- Minneapolis Star Tribune


Buyer of assault rifles admits to smuggling

PHOENIX (AP) -- A man who bought two assault rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a federal agent near the Arizona-Mexico border pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony charges in the federal government's botched gun-smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Authorities say Jaime Avila Jr. was a member of a 20-person ring accused of buying guns and smuggling them into Mexico for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel. Two AK-47 variants bought by Avila from a suburban Phoenix gun store were found after a December 2010 shootout that mortally wounded Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Ariz.

Avila, 25, faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to dealing guns without a federal license and conspiracy to deal guns without a license, making false statements in a gun purchase and smuggling goods out of the United States.

Authorities have faced criticism since Terry's death for allowing suspected "straw" gun buyers to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than arrest the suspects and seize the guns there.