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In honor of Independence Day, St. Louis Post-Dispatch is providing unlimited access to all of our content from June 28th-July 4th! Presented by Mercy


A U.S. official says migrants were inside a tractor-trailer when it cleared an inland Border Patrol checkpoint, later ending up in San Antonio where where dozens of bodies were found in the deadliest known smuggling attempt in the United States. The truck went through the checkpoint on Interstate 35 northeast of the border city of Laredo, Texas. There were 73 people in the truck when it reached San Antonio, where it was found Monday. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Federal prosecutors say a man who sold a pistol to a man who used it to hold four hostages inside a Texas synagogue before being fatally shot by the FBI in January pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal gun crime. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors said he sold Malik Faisal Akram the weapon Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in the Dallas-area suburb of Colleyville on Jan. 15 and held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage. Williams faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

A crewless robotic boat retracing the 1620 sea voyage of the Mayflower has landed near Plymouth Rock. The sleek Mayflower Autonomous Ship met with an escort boat as it approached the Massachusetts shoreline Thursday, more than 400 years after its namesake’s historic journey from England. It was towed into Plymouth Harbor — per U.S. Coast Guard rules for crewless vessels — and docked near a replica of the original Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to America. Piloted by artificial intelligence technology, the 50-foot (15-meter) trimaran didn’t have a captain, navigator or any humans on board.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched a probe of the New York Police Department unit that investigates sex crimes following years of complaints about the way it treats crime victims. The civil rights investigation announced Thursday will review the department’s Special Victims Division to examine whether it engages in a pattern of gender-biased policing. Justice Department officials say they will be reaching out to community groups and the public to learn about their interactions with the division. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace says the NYPD has already taken steps to address concerns, but authorities want to ensure sex assault victims are treated fair in the future.

A white rainbow, also known as a fog bow, was seen over the city of Heihe in Heilongjiang Province, China, on June 29. White rainbows occur in fogs rather than rain, giving them weaker colors than a normal rainbow.

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