A task force based out of sheriff’s Industry Station shut down an illegal recycling operation in Compton and seized about $500,000 worth of stolen plastic, officials said Friday.
The bust took place about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of East Pine Street in Compton, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
The owner of the recycling business, 67-year-old Ernest Ojeda of Compton, was arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property and illegal possession of trademarked plastic products, officials said. He was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail.
Investigators from the sheriff’s Industry Station have found nearly $4 million in stolen plastic, primarily plastic pallets taken from businesses and mail containers taken from the U.S. Post Office, Detective Shelley Jones said.
The trend of plastic theft is a growing one, the detective said. “This is only going to get bigger.”
In addition to arresting Ojeda and seizing the plastic, officials also closed down his business, which has not held a permit in four years, Shelley said.
About 50 bags of ground up plastic weighing 2,000 pounds each were found in the recycling center, and about 10,000 more plastic pallets were found in a house adjacent to the recycling center owned by a family member of Ojeda. A plastic grinder and a saw were also taken as evidence.
Firefighters responded to the business to collect “oil and other toxic substances” found at the recycling center.
“The theft of these plastics is an organized effort by thieves who have trucks and co-conspirators working at businesses throughout Los Angeles County and the entire region,” according to the sheriff’s statement. “Sheriff’s investigators are recovering property stolen from victims throughout Los Angeles County, especially the San Gabriel Valley, as well as communities in neighboring counties such as the Inland Empire. The plastic pallets are often stolen from the loading docks behind businesses.”
The Pine Street operation was believed to be related to another uncovered by sheriff’s investigators on Oct. 10 at a commercial building less than a mile away in the 2700 block of North Alameda Street in Compton, officials said. Ojeda is believed to know four suspects arrested in that case.
About $2 million worth of allegedly stolen plastic was recovered from the Alameda Street address, along with more than 500 marijuana plants. About 6,000 of the recovered pallets belonged to the U.S. Postal Service, and officials are seeking federal charges against the suspects.
In May, the task force displayed about $1.3 million worth of plastic pallets stolen from businesses throughout Los Angeles County that investigators had collected over the previous five months.
In response to the success of the investigation, the City of Industry in early September funded a plastic task force at the sheriff’s Industry Station to combat the problem county wide.
POMONA — Police officers from throughout the San Gabriel Valley will help Pomona police keep the peace next week as a planned neo-Nazi rally unfolds in front of Pomona City Hall, officials said.
The National Socialist Movement, based in Detroit, Michigan, is planning the rally for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 5 in front of the City Hall, 505 S. Garey Ave., according to El Monte police and rally organizers.
The white supremacists plan to demonstrate against illegal immigration and promote the interests of “White America,” NSM organizers said in a written statement.
The group chose Pomona for it’s demonstration because, according to the statement, “Pomona is a unique gathering place of continuing tension between ethnic minorities.”
To prepare for any potential disturbances associated with the highly controversial rally, police from departments including West Covina, El Monte, Covina, Baldwin Park, Azusa, Glendora and others, will send officers to help the Pomona Police Department keep and eye on the situation, West Covina police Lt. Tommy Garcia said.
WALNUT — A court date has been set for a woman accused of stabbing her husband in his Walnut home, authorities said.
Socorro Mora, 43, is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 22 in Pomona Superior Court for the murder of her 47-year-old estranged husband George Mora Oct. 19 at his house in the 21600 block of Brookside Court, court officials said.
The hearing was initially scheduled for Thursday, but postponed as the defendant remained hospitalized due to her own stab wounds.
Deputies responded to a call from Socorro Mora reporting a domestic violence incident at the home before finding both she and her husband stabbed, investigators said.
Socorro Mora was found critically wounded in the front yard of the home, while George Mora was pronounced dead from his injuries inside the home.
Investigators have not said how Socorro Mora is believed to have suffered her injuries.
GLENDORA – An anonymous call about a bomb at Citrus College led to the entire campus being evacuated Thursday.
Paula Green, spokeswoman for the college at 1000 W. Foothill Blvd., said no bomb was found.
The incident started at 2:40 p.m.
The school received a brief, “very cursory” phone call saying that there was a bomb on the campus, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
The caller didn’t specify where the bomb was located.
Green said all buildings on campus were evacuated and searched. At about 5 p.m. an alert was sent out campus-wide that everything is all clear and normal operations should resume, according to Green.
PICO RIVERA — Deputies arrested seven people early Wednesday during a sweep targeting a violent street gang believed to be responsible for three shooting this month, authorities said.
In response to the violence, which has left two men wounded and one man dead, gang investigators headed out in force to do probation compliance checks on known gang members, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Bailey said.
“The reason for this operation was because we’ve had several shootings in the month of October involving the Pico Viejo gang,” he said.
Five men and two women were arrested in the operation, in which deputies visited six homes within the city of Pico Rivera, officials said.
Charges ranged from being under the influence of drugs and possession of graffiti tools to assault with a deadly weapon, officials said.
One of the suspects nabbed in Wednesday’s sweep, 21-year-old Adam Avalos of El Monte, is suspected in an Oct. 5 shooting at a Pico Rivera Wal-Mart store in which a member of the rival street gang Pico Nuevo was wounded while loading groceries into his car, Bailey said. A second teenage suspect had been identified and is also being sought in connection with the shooting.
Also arrested were: Sandra Robledo, 50, on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs and violating probation; her son, Manuel Robledo, 24, on suspicion of possession of marijuana; Oscar Oporto, 39, due to an outstanding narcotics warrant; Desiree Garcia, 30, on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs; Cresencio Garcia, 50, on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs; and Steven Alvarado, 18, on suspicion of possessing graffiti and vandalism tools, officials said.
Four of the suspects were arrested at the Lancer Motel, 4335 Rosemead Blvd., Bailey said.
Juan Z. Gutierrez, 33, of Whittier was shot to death as he rode his bicycle early Tuesday near Harrell Street and Layman Avenue, according to coroner’s officials.
He was believed to be a gang member, and the shooting was believed to be gang related, investigators said.
No arrests have been made Thursday, and Sgt. Barry Hall of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said detectives were left with very few clues to follow in the case.
In another gang-related attack attributed to the Pico Viejo gang, a member of the rival Pico Nuevo gang was shot and wounded Oct. 2 at a gas station at Beverly and Rosemead boulevards, authorities said. The suspect or suspects remained at large.
While there is much work yet to be done to combat Pico Viejo and other criminal street gangs in the city, “We definitely made some good gains.”
LA HABRA – Police checking out a call about a fight found a man stabbed multiple times at a local park Wednesday and later arrested two men.
At 2:21 a.m., police were called to a fight at Electric Avenue and Walnut Street.
La Habra police Lt. Jeff Swaim said officers didn’t ind a fight but located a seriously injured 30-year-old man at Portola Park, 301 S. Euclid Street. Swaim said the man was stabbed three times in the chest, once in the abdomen and three to four times in the back.
The injured man, a La Habra residents, remained hospitalized Thursday in critical-but-stable condition, La Habra police spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center.
Officers later tracked down the suspect vehicle and arrested two men, 20-year-old Anthony Silva of Whittier and 21-year-old Michael Corcoran of Whittier, on suspicion of attempted murder, Swaim said.
Silva and Corcoran were being held at La Habra jail and will be arraigned Friday.
Detectives were still trying to piece what led to the stabbing.
Any witnesses to the attack are asked to call the La Habra Police Department.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS – Two children were injured after they were ejected during a two-car collision Wednesday.
California Highway Patrol Officer Christian Cracraft said the children sustained minor to moderate injuries.
He said the 5:47 p.m. crash on Turnbull Canyon Road led to all lanes south of Gale Avenue being closed.
Cracraft didn’t know if both children were in the same car. The collision reportedly involved a BMW and a Ford Explorer.
There were no further details released.
– From Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales
PICO RIVERA — Deputies arrested seven people on suspicion of probation violations Wednesday during an early morning compliance check, authorities said.
The probationers, five men and two women, were all arrested on suspicion of various violations when deputies visited eight homes to see if the residents were in compliance with the terms of their probation, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Smith said.
Deputies, including detectives and gang investigators, periodically carry out such compliance checks, he said.
People convicted of lesser crimes can be placed on probation in lieu of serving time in jail, however they are subject to conditions such as submitting to searches by law enforcement officers and obeying all laws.
If probationers are found to be in violation of the terms, the probation can be revoked and the convict sent to jail.
This is sick and disturbing. At least one of the instructors was in the Marine Corps. Nice to know our armed forces are turning out torturing monsters: