Homicide reported at Pomona motel

POMONA — A person was shot to death in a motel early Saturday in what police believe may have been a narcotics- and gang-related killing.
The incident was reported about 1:30 a.m. at Motel 6, 2470 S. Garvey Ave., Pomona police said in a written statement.
The victim’s name was not released pending notification of her family members, coroner’s officials said.
Citizens reported hearing gunshots, and arriving officers found a victim, described only as a Latina female, suffering from several gunshot wounds, police said.
She died from her injuries at the scene.
Witnesses reported seeing three Latino men estimated to be in their 20s running from the scene, officials said.
Anyone with information is asked to call detectives Mark McCann or Andy Bebon at the Pomona police tip line at (909) 620-2085.

Man shot in unincorporated Covina

COVINA — A man was shot and wounded Saturday afternoon on a residential street in an unincorporated county area near Covina, authorities said.
The incident was reported about 1:40 p.m. in the 4000 block of Yaleton Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Bolanos said.
The victim, a 39-year-old local man, suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his leg, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Craig Boyett said.
A neighbor reported hearing a gunshot and finding a wounded man in a nearby garage, Bolanos said.
The victim was taken to an area hospital by a private vehicle, the sergeant said.
Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the attacker’s description, Boyett said.
Officials searched the area with the help of a helicopter and canvassed the area for witnesses, Bolanos said, but the shooter was not found.
A motive in the shooting was not immediately clear, Boyett said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s San Dimas station.

Feds to stop medical marijuana raids

 

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As can be seen in this YouTube video of a Wednesday press conference, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced an end to federal raids of medical marijuana clinics in the 11 states where they are legal, such as California, where pot has been legal for medical use since Proposition 215 passed in 1996.

What are your thoughts on medical marijuana?

Hearing scheduled in murder trial

ALHAMBRA – A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for an Alhambra man accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a trash can in Arcadia, officials said Friday.

Isaac Campbell is charged with murder for the 2007 slaying of Liya “Jessie” Lu.

He is due at Alhambra Superior Court March 18 for a preliminary hearing, in which a judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to order Campbell to stand trial, court officials said.

The preliminary hearing has already been postponed twice.

Campbell disappeared after detectives called him in for questioning in the case, officials said. He who was extradited last year from Minnesota.

Lu’s body was found inside a trash can he’d allegedly left at a friends house, sealed in a plastic garbage bag and covered with kitty litter, according to authorities.

Mongols (possibly Reuben Cavazos?) seek plea deal

Looks like at least one defendant inthe federal case against the Mongols motorcycle gang want to enter a plea in the case. In turn the government is offering to seal any agreements that have been made.

“The defendants who wish to plead guilty to the charges against them and/or enter their pleas as part of a cooperation plea agreement may be subject to violent retaliation,” federal court documents indicate. “the retaliation would be directed at the defendant and/or the defendant’s family and would be executed either within the detention facilities or by members of the Mongols Gans or gang members or associates that remain on the streets.”

Here’s a link to our news story.

 

Pasadena cops order Coroner’s report sealed

The Pasadena Police Department has told the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner to withhold investigative and autopsy information in the Leroy Barnes shooting for “security reasons.” Apparently there’s a real need for something to remain secret in the case..

This from Coroner’s Chief Ed Winter:

“The law enforcement agency asked for more time to do further investigation in the case.

We’re not allowed to release any information until the hold is released. Most of the time it’s for follow up on more information. They are probably still seeking witnesses and this so (anyone interested) isn’t alerted to the facts by reading the newspaper.”

The hold could last for as long as 90 days, Winter said.

“After 90 days we send them a note and make a call, ‘It’s been 90 days, what the heck? At that point they are going to have to justify why or what’s taking so long to finish up this investigation,” Winter added.

 

Nation-wide drug enforcement campaign has tie to Industry

 

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Here’s an excerpt from a story we’re working on for tommorrow regarding a Mexican drug cartel investigation with a local tie. Below are pictures and a link to a DEA page with video from the July, 2008, methamphetamine bust in Industry:

 

For video, click here, then click, “watch video.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday the conclusion of a 21-month investigation targeting a Mexican drug cartel, which included one of the largest methamphetamine finds in the United States in Industry.
“Operation Xcellerator” was a multi-agency investigations intended to deal a blow to one of Mexico’s powerful drug trafficking organizations known as the Sinaloa Cartel, DEA officials said in a written statement.

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The effort netted 755 arrests, more than 23 tons of drugs and more than $59 million in alleged drug money, officials said.
“We successfully concluded the largest and hardest hitting operation to ever target the very violent and dangerously powerful Sinaloa drug cartel,” DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart said.
As part of the operation, nearly 300 pounds of potent methamphetamine were discovered in a storage locker in the city of Industry, DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen said.
“It was one of the largest meth busts in the United States,” she said of the July, 2008 seizure.
“It was just based on a lead.. that led them to a storage unit in the City of Industry they believed contained drugs,” Pullen said.
Officials found 297 pounds of highly pure methamphetamine, known as “ice,” at the facility, she said.
“In order to be classified as ‘ice,’ the meth has to be more than 90 percent pure,” Pullen explained.
Several suspects were later arrested and charged in connection with the find, Pullen said, however further details of the Industry bust were not available Thursday.
Pullen said she was not aware of any other significant busts carried out in the San Gabriel Valley as part of the operation.

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“The criminal organizations targeted in Operation Xcellerator were smuggling thousands of pounds of dangerous drugs into the U.S., many of which wound up in the neighborhoods throughout Southern California,” said Timothy J. Landrum, of the DEA.
“The DEA will continue the collaborative effort between federal, international, state and local law enforcement agencies that has led to more than 150 arrests in the Southern California area, sweeping these violent drug organizations off our streets and ultimately making our communities safer,” Landrum said.

Thursday’s column (bring the Sheriff’s Department into Pasadena)

Certainties exist in life.

Pasadena officials would have us believe one of those certainties played out at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Mentone Avenue last week: Pull a gun on a cop, expect to be shot.

If that’s what Leroy Barnes did, he deserved to pay with his life.

If that’s what happened.

In public life certainties exist as well. Misrepresentations will cost agencies their reputations.

The Pasadena police department’s reputation is on the line because of misrepresentations.

Did Pasadena police officers involved in the shooting mislead police spokeswoman Janet Pope-Givens and subsequently Chief Barney Melekian?

Or, did Pope-Givens and Melekian mislead the public with their initial statements at the scene?

After the shooting of

Barnes, 37, a parolee with a state prison record that included a conviction for firing at an officer in 1993, Pope-Givens and Melekian both spoke to the media.

Pope-Givens said Barnes was in a car that had been pulled over. She said Barnes got out of the car. She said Barnes fired on officers who shot back and killed him.

A few hours later Melekian said, “It appears from all accounts the officers’ version is correct.” He said the department would release a video of the incident within days.

The next day, the stories changed.

It turns out Barnes did not get out of the car. And he did not fire on officers. As for the video, Melekian said there is a legal challenge that prevents its release.

Which raises other questions:

What should we believe now?

Why hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department been called in to independently investigate?

Certainly the Bulldogs in the Homicide Bureau have the trust of many other communities.

Instead, the Pasadena will handle the investigation on its own and turn over those results to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Adding insult to injury, the Police Department ordered a streetside memorial to Barnes dismantled, because it was blocking the sidewalk.

The Pasadena Police Department has lost some of its stature and much of its credibility.

Lacking credibility, what leadership can Melekian offer that would bridge the gap between Pasadena’s hard-working police officers and the community they serve?

What’s to say he won’t be misled again?

It’s time to bring in competent and experienced detectives from the Sheriff’s Department to repair any credibility gap that may have formed.

*Shots fired in Pasadena

*PASADENA — A man escaped injury after someone opened fire on his car Wednesday, police said.
The apparent intended shooting victim was arrested, however, on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism because officials believe he threw a chair through the window of a home near the shooting scene the previous day, Pasadena police Lt. Randell Taylor said.
He refused to cooperate with police or give them his name, so his identity was unknown pending identification through fingerprints, Taylor said. He was described as a Latino man in his 20s from Los Angeles.
The shooting took place about 6 p.m. on Washington Boulevard, just west of Fair Oaks Avenue, Taylor said.
The victim, described as a Los Angeles man in his 20s, had stopped his car in traffic lanes in the 100 block of W. Washington Avenue when his vehicle came under fire, Taylor said.
Nearby officers heard about four gunshots and rushed to the scene as the apparent victim, whose car had been shot once, fled the area, the lieutenant said.
Witnesses initially believed the fleeing car to be the suspect, Taylor said, however officers soon determined that the man, who had a bullet hole in his car, was an intended target in the attack.
The shooter was not found, and witnesses at the scene did not report seeing the attacker, Taylor said.
Officials believe the shots were fired from the north side of the residential street, he added. It was not known if the shots came from the sidewalk, a residence or a yard.
It was not clear why the man allegedly vandalized the home on Washington Boulevard Tuesday, Taylor said.
The incidents remain under investigation.