California wildfire blamed on drug operation


David Beckham (left) is shown a straight red card for his tackle on Seattle Sounders star Peter Vagenas.
A weeklong blaze that has charred more than 84,000 acres in southern California was started by a cooking fire in a drug trafficking operation, investigators said.

The former England captain was given a straight red card for a tackle on Sounders midfielder Peter Vagenas in the 17th minute. Beckham was booed off the field but he insists there was no maliciousness involved. “Pete is one of my best friends,” Beckham told Galaxy’s official Web site. “I think it’s a hard tackle but by no means a red card. I’ve never gone into a tackle wanting to hurt someone. The referee saw it differently.” Beckham has had a hard time back in America since returning from a successful loan spell with Italian giants AC Milan. On his arrival in LA he was embroiled in a row with team-mate Landon Donovan over comments the American striker made in a book — which questioned the Englishman’s commitment to the Galaxy.

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And he was twice involved in confrontations with fans during his first three games back in a Galaxy shirt. The 34-year-old is likely to seek a repeat of his loan spell with Milan from January to May this year when his stint with the Galaxy comes to an end as he bids to figure in Fabio Capello’s England squad for next summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

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