Undercurrents

Jean-Francois Buslik, the fugitive from European justice whose arrest in North Palm Beach two months ago was sparked by a New Times investigation, seems desperate to stall the extradition process.

In an odd twist Dave Bogenschutz, Buslik's high profile Fort Lauderdale lawyer, has put our story at the center of his defense strategy. The piece appears in the court file as defense exhibit II. The article, Bogenschutz argues in a motion for bond, shows how the Belgian judiciary had in an "egregious violation of human rights" tried and convicted Buslik in his absence and never before sought to snatch him from his South Florida refuge.

What Bogenschutz fails to mention are the myriad crimes detailed in the article or the convenient timing of Buslik's enlistment in the United States Army. Buslik, New Times recently learned, signed on for active duty at the American base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1982 shortly after he and at least three accomplices were suspected of killing an airport guard and making off with millions of dollars' worth of valuable cargo. He served a year in the Army (could there be a better place to hide?) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina before heading back to Belgium, where he is suspected of being involved in a number of other crimes that might have inspired his move, a decade ago, to South Florida. Assuming the Belgians don't botch the paperwork, his final extradition hearing is scheduled for early July.

Like a barbershop to the goodfellas of old, the Age of Aquarius salon is a headquarters for the crime-fighting goodfemmes of Turn Around Dania Beach.

Here Sophia Steele, owner of the Sheridan Street shop, drums up community support and coordinates monthly marches through the streets of Dania Beach using unconventional anticrime techniques developed by Herman Wrice, leader of more than 300 such neighborhood groups, including local affiliates in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Boynton Beach.

But wherever the marches are held, the women outnumber the men, says Wrice's local sponsor Ronda Peoples. Talking on her cell phone as she gets her highlights done at Age of Aquarius, Peoples professes her plan to write a book about "Wrice's Women Warriors." On a recent evening, three-quarters of the 33 marchers -- decked out in hardhats and yellow "Up with Hope, Down with Dope" T-shirts -- were female. While the estrogen-powered brigade rode "Lolly the Trolley" to three Dania Beach sites notorious for drug traffic, a few middle-aged vigilantes giggled about herbal antidotes for menopausal discomfort.

When they reached a row of single-story apartments on SW Fifth Street, they puffed up with maternal outrage as Wrice led them in such campfire-worthy chants as, "We're standing tall and looking good. We're taking back our neighborhood," and "Tweedledee and Tweedledum, selling drugs is mighty dumb." They shouted and shimmied and shook. It may sound silly, but their pomp and stomp has had some success in scaring away criminals.

"I'd rather have twenty women than a thousand men," Wrice wagers. "Twenty women will fight to the death. A thousand men will run." We don't know where the men have run to, but we wouldn't want to wrestle with these women.

-- as told to Tom Walsh

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbpb.com.

 
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