Police in San Gabriel find second warehouse pot-growing operation in two days

SAN GABRIEL — Police raided a warehouse marijuana-growing operation Wednesday for the second time in two days, authorities said.
About 300 pot plants in all stages of maturity were found in a warehouse in the 700 block of South San Anita Street, San Gabriel police Sgt. Brian Kott said.
“This follows a raid previously conducted Tuesday on a similar warehouse facility where over 300 marijuana plants were found,” Kott said.
Tuesday’s bust took place just around the corner in the 300 block of South Mission Drive, police said.
“We believe they’re linked,” Kott said. “The warehouse is similar to yesterday’s cultivation site.”
He added that evidence gathered at the warehouse bust Tuesday helped lead police to Wednesday’s discovery.
Both warehouses were fitted with equipment such as growing lights, irrigation systems and devices to cover the incriminating smell of the growing marijuana, police said.
No arrests resulted from Wednesday’s raid, Kott said.
Tuesday’s raid resulted in three arrests, according to police officials and sheriff’s booking records.
Alan De La Fuente, 36, of Los Angeles and Arvin Rodpotong, 31, of Winnetka were booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana during Tuesday’s raid, and Cole Dixon, 31, of Studio City was booked on suspicion of the same charge early Wednesday morning in connection with the warehouse on Mission Drive, authorities said.
San Gabriel Police declined to release further details regarding the ongoing investigation.
All three men were released from jail the day of their arrests after posting $30,000 bail, according to booking records. They are due in Alhambra Superior Court Friday for arraignment.

Men rob woman of purse in South El Monte

SOUTH EL MONTE — Two men used a gun to rob a woman of her purse Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Deputies responded to a report of a robbery about 12:10 p.m. at Klingerman Street and Portrero Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom McNeal said.
A woman was standing near a lunch truck when she was approached by to robbers described as Latino men in their 20s, the lieutenant said. One of the was armed with a gun.
After robbing the woman of her purse, the men were last seen driving east on Garvey Avenue in a black Honda, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Temple Station.

Cell phone robbery reported in Pasadena

PASADENA — Two men in a car robbed another man of his cell phone at gunpoint Tuesday, authorities said.
The crime was reported about 10 p.m. at Carlton and Manzanita avenues, Pasadena police Lt. Rodney Wallace said.
A man of about 18 came out of his home to retrieve his cell phone from his car when a 1995-1996, black, two-door Honda Civic pulled up alongside him, the lieutenant said. There were two men inside the Honda, described only as Latino men of about 18 to 20 years old.
The robbers brandished a revolver and demanded the victim’s cell phone, Wallace said. The victim tossed the robbers his phone and ran back inside his home.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Pasadena Police Department.

Alhambra man suspected of cat-themed graffiti spree

42747-CATS tagging2-thumb-300x199-42746.jpgALHAMBRA — Authorities arrested an Alhambra man Wednesday on suspicion of scrawling graffiti images of cats throughout the Los Angeles area.
Rick Ordonez, 33, was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Marlon Johnson said.
He is suspected of causing about $15,000 worth of damage to freeways, buildings and private property this year, the detective said.
His drawings were mainly of cartoon cats, officials said.
Through informants and tips, officials identified Ordonez as a suspect in the vandalisms and arrested him without incident Wednesday at his home in the 200 block of Elm Street in Alhambra, Johnson said. Detectives first noticed the appearance of the cats at the beginning of the year.
Ordonez, a graphic designer and former skateboard shop owner who goes by the nickname “Atlas”, is believed to belong to a Los Angeles-area tagging crew, though the investigation focused solely on him as an individual, Johnson said.
The detective said Ordonez kept cats as pets and described him as a “cat-lover.”
Officials said Ordonez was due in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday for arraignment.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Ordonez was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

PHOTO: This image, provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, shows cats allegedly drawn by Ordonez at the 10 Freeway and Ceasar Chaves Avenue. (Photographed in mid-April)

Elderly man rescued after collapsing in Montebello church

MONTEBELLO — Good Samaritans, police officers and paramedics helped save the life of an elderly man who collapsed and stopped breathing at church Sunday morning, police said.
Officers responded to St. Benedict Catholic Church, 1022 Cleveland Avenue, and found two good Samaritans performing CPR on a church member in his 80s, Montebello police said in a written statement.
The officers saw that the man was not breathing and had no pulse, officials said, so they used a portable defibrillator to shock his heart back to life.
Police continued CPR until paramedics arrived and took the man to a hospital, where he was listed in good condition Sunday afternoon, police said.

Monterey Park woman suspected in fatal DUI crash released from jail

ALHAMBRA — A woman suspected of striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk on the freeway in Alhambra has been released from jail as family members of the dead man seek answers about what happened.
Jamie Mulford, 27, of Monterey Park was booked on suspicion of drunken driving following the June 17 incident on the eastbound 10 Freeway near New Avenue, CHP officer Luis Mendoza said.
Jerome Anderson, 60, of Monterey Park died at the scene of the 2:25 a.m crash from “multiple blunt force injuries,” Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. Coroner’s officials ruled out suicide and determined the death to be accidental.
He is survived by a daughter and 11 grandchildren, said his sister, Sharon Anderson. He also had a son, who died about a decade ago.
“He was a kind person,” she said. “He turned his life over to Christ.”
Sharon Anderson added that her brother grew up in the Pasadena area and attended Pasadena high School.
“Ironically,” she said, Jerome Anderson worked as an instructor with people convicted of drunken driving.
CHP officials have not determined what Anderson was doing on the freeway, Mendoza said. Since there was no disabled car found nearby, authorities suspect he may have simply tried to take a shortcut across the freeway.
Sharon Anderson said she finds that hard to believe.
“There’s something suspicious about the accident, because he would never walk on the freeway in the fast lane,” she said. “He would never take a shortcut across a freeway.”
Though initially held in lieu of $1 million bail on suspicion of vehicular homicide, Mulford was released from jail on her own recognizance Tuesday after investigators determined she was not a flight risk, Mendoza said.
She could not be reached for comment.
Mendoza said Mulford will likely be re-arrested and booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide upon the completion of the investigation, which could take up to a month.
The investigation will be in-depth, Mendoza said, and will include profiles of what both Mulford and Anderson were doing in the 48 hours prior to the incident.
Authorities are investigating Mulford on suspicion of vehicular homicide because she has previous convictions for drunken driving, authorities said.
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, she was convicted of drunken driving twice in 2005.

Investigation continues in Montebello fatal stabbing

MONTEBELLO — Authorities continued their investigation Sunday into the death of a man who was found stabbed to death near Beverly Hospital.
David Cota, 23, of Montebello was pronounced dead about 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of a medical building across the street from Beverly Hospital in the 400 block of N. Fourth Street, just south of Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
Montebello police said his cause of death was not initially clear, however a coroner’s medical examiner determined Cota died of a stab wound to the chest and ruled the death a homicide, she said.
“We are looking into reports that the victim was involved in an altercation the night before,” Montebello police Lt. Brad Keller said.
The fight may have taken place about 11:30 p.m. Friday in the area of 5th Street and Harding Avenue, Keller said, about a block away from where the body was found more than 12 hours later.
The homicide was listed as possibly gang-related, police said, and Cota was believed to have gang ties.
Keller urged anyone who may have witnessed a fight in the area to call Montebello police at 323-887-1313.

Montebello men shot while changing flat tire

MONTEBELLO — Three men were wounded in a drive-by shooting early Sunday as they changed a flat tire along Beverly Boulevard, authorities said.
The attack took place shortly before 1:30 a.m. in the 3300 block of West Beverly Boulevard, Montebello police Lt. Brad Keller said.
Three Montebello men, ages 20, 26, and 45, were changing a flat tire when a silver, 4-door vehicle passed by and someone inside opened fire, the lieutenant said.
Two of the victims were hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the back and buttocks, Keller said, and the third was treated at the scene for a grazing wound to the back. None of the wounds were believed to be life threatening.
The victims are not believed to have gang ties, Keller said.
Police said there were at least two men inside the passing vehicle.
They were both Latino men who were “described as gang members,” Keller said. One appeared to be in his 20s, and another appeared to be in his 20s or 30s.
No further details were available.

Body found in Montebello parking lot

MONTEBELLO — Authorities are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a parking lot Saturday as a possible homicide, police said.
The dead man’s name was not released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of family members, coroner’s officials said.
Police responded to call regarding a “hysterical woman” shortly before 1 p.m. in the 400 block of N. 4th Street, Montebello police Lt. Andy Vuncanon said.
Officers found the body of a Latino man who appeared to be in his mid- to late-20s in a parking lot, though the cause of death was not immediately clear, the lieutenant said.
“It’s currently being investigated as a homicide,” Vuncanon said, but added that other possibilities had not been ruled out.
The death was initially reported to coroner’s officials as a stabbing, however authorities had not yet had a chance to examine the body, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Jim Blacklock said.

Driver killed, passenger hurt in 10 Freeway crash

ROSEMEAD — An 18-year-old driver died and her 17-year-old passenger was seriously injured in a solo-car crash on the 10 Freeway in Rosemead early Saturday, authorities said.
Jessica Lopez Rojas died in the crash, which took place about 5 a.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just west of Del Mar Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol  and coroner’s officials.
Her passenger, a 17-year-old Azusa boy, suffered “deep lacerations” to his left forearm, CHP officials said in a written statement.
Lopez Rojas was driving a 1999 Honda Civic at unknown speed when the car drifted toward the right side of the road, officials said. The car then struck a steel barrier.
Lopez Rojas was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said, while the passenger was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with major injuries.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Any witnesses are asked to call the East Los Angeles office of the CHP at (323) 980-4600.