Baldwin Park man convicted of role in murderous San Gabriel Valley drug-dealing conspiracy

A Baldwin Park man Wednesday admitted participating in a San Gabriel Valley-based drug distribution conspiracy Wednesday and admitted fatally shooting a man in La Puente in 2006, federal officials said.
Eddie “Criminal” Garcia, 39, faces up to 30 years in federal prison when he returns to court in Los Angeles for sentencing Jan. 25, U.S. Assistant Attorney Mack Jenkins said. But under the plea deal, the prosecution and defense agreed to recommend a prison term of 18 to 24 years to the presiding judge.
Garcia pleaded guilty to participating in a drug distribution conspiracy which included murder, Jenkins explained.
The charge stems from a 2010 investigation targeting the Puente 13 street gang’s drug activities in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said.
“In addition to participating in drug trafficking activities that include collecting ‘taxes’ or ‘rent’ on behalf of the Mexican Mafia member who controlled Puente 13, Garcia admitted that he murdered another gang member who failed to… make those extortion payments,” U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
Garcia and two other gang members who have since been convicted in connection with the slaying shot and killed 44-year-old David Dragna of East Valinda after luring him to an apartment complex in the 14700 block of Pritchard Street in La Puente on July 3, 2006, according to DOJ and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
Officials described Garcia as a former member of the 18th Street gang, while Dragna was part of the Townsmen gang.
The 18th Street gang, Townsmen and Puente 13 all operate under the leadership of the Mexican Mafia, Jenkins said.
As part of the same investigation that led to Garcia’s conviction, the then-leader of the Puente 13 gang and his brother were sentenced to life in federal prison in 2013.
The investigation was a joint effort by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Two dead in suspected murder-suicide in Rosemead

ROSEMEAD >> A man fatally shot another man in a Rosemead residential neighborhood late Tuesday, then turned the gun on himself when confronted by deputies minutes later, officials said.
The suspected murder-suicide took place about 11 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Abi Ben-Sahile said.
A man in his 30s shot another man, estimated to be 30 years old, with a handgun in the driveway of a home in the 2700 block of Willard Avenue, the sergeant said.
“He was shot twice and pronounced dead at the scene,” he said. The shooter ran away.
Deputies responding to the scene found and confronted the alleged gunman just over a block to the south along Klingerman Street, Ben-Sahile said.
As they attempted to detain the gunman, “The suspect shot himself once in the head and was pronounced dead,” he said.
Officials described the suspect and victim as friends. It was unclear what led to the shooting.
Deputies sought no additional suspects as homicide investigators processed the scene early Wednesday morning, Ben-Sahile said.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Marchers seek justice for slaying of sheriff’s Explorer Cesar Rodriguez in South Whittier

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, friends and community members marched through South Whittier Friday in a call for justice for the murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scout Cesar Rodriguez, who was gunned down four years ago along with a friend in a double-slaying that remains unsolved.
Led by a young relatives of Rodriguez carrying his picture and a banner stating, “We want justice,” the group met at Laurel Avenue and Beaty Street before marching through the neighborhood, past the scene of the shooting, and heading to Amelia Mayberry Park for a candlelight vigil.
Rodriguez, 19, was shot to death along with friend Larry Villegas, 24, on Aug. 28, 2011, as they left the home of a friend in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue.
Rodriguez’s loved ones have held the march each year since the double-slaying.
“We’ll be here every year until that person, or persons, come to justice,” Rodriguez’s mother Lupe Rodriguez said. “Cesar will never be forgotten.”
20150828_190321Also marching was Rodriguez’s father, Jorge Rodriguez, as well as brothers George and Hector, along with numerous other family members.
The group came to a stop and stood in silence when the procession reached the driveway where Rodriguez and Villegas were shot. Immediate family members laid flowers and candles at the spot, as dozens of sheriff’s Explorer Scouts stood in a stoic salute.
All along the march route, Explorers handed out fliers seeking information on the unsolved killings, with messages in both English and Spanish.
Lupe Rodriguez said she looks forward to the day when her son’s killer is arrested and the march will no longer be necessary.
But in the meantime, she said she felt encouraged by the strong show of community support.
“I think it gets bigger every year,” she said, adding that she was grateful to the community.
Homicide detectives have been left with few clues to work with, and the case remains unsolved, said Sgt. Michael Rodriguez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. The sergeant took part in the march, as he has done each year since the shooting.
AR-140829514“As you can see, the support for Cesar and this investigation has not waned,” he said.
Sgt. Rodriguez said he remains optimistic that he and his fellow investigators will ultimately bring Cesar Rodriguez’s killer or killers to justice.
“This case ha not gone cold,” he said.
Both the investigator and Lupe Garcia said they believe there are people who know who killed Cesar Rodriguez and Villegas, but have yet to come forward. They both implored any such witnesses to do so.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Suspect arrested in June slaying of Monrovia woman


MONROVIA >> Detectives arrested a suspect Thursday in the slaying of a 31-year-old Monrovia woman found dead inside her car in June, officials said.
Investigators arrested Jose Roberto Turner, 47, about 8:30 a.m., on suspicion of the murder of Lajoya McCoy, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and county booking records.
McCoy was reported missing June 15, one day before officials found her body inside her car, which was parked in the 200 block of West Cypress Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said at the time.
“He is the ex-boyfriend of Lajoya McCoy,” Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
No further details were released regarding the investigation into the alleged slaying of the mother of two.
McCoy’s official cause of death has not been released due to a “security hold” placed on the case by sheriff’s investigators, coroner’s officials said. The security hold, which bars coroner’s officials from discussing their findings, remained in effect Thursday.
Turner was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
McCoy’s body appeared to have been left in her Toyota Camry for a period of time, though officials have declined to say exactly when McCoy is believed to have been killed. Detectives initially noted signs of a struggle at McCoy’s apartment, but declined to give further detail.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: West Valinda brothers charged with murder in beating death of neighbor

WEST VALINDA >> Prosecutors charged two West Valinda men with murder Thursday for the beating of their 44-year-old neighbor, a father of five, with a hammer and cement blocks earlier in the week, authorities said.
Doctors declared Luis Segura brain dead Wednesday afternoon from injuries suffered in the beating, which took place about 7 p.m. Monday in the 13400 block of Moccasin Street, said Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter.
Flavio Macias Jr. 28, and his brother Jonathan Macias, 23, were each charged with a count of murder in Pomona Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Lt. David Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the motive in the attack remained unclear.
“This is tragic,” he said. “(Segura) was a hard working guy. He had five kids.”
Segura and the Macias brothers had been neighbors for at least 15 years, Coleman said.
The lieutenant described Segura’s relationship with his neighbors as “cordial” and said detectives were aware of no previous incidents of violence.
Segura apparently went outside to speak with the brothers before the attack, though it was unclear what they discussed or what prompted Monday’s beating, Coleman said. “We don’t know exactly what happened.”
The victim’s wife called 911 after she went looking for him and discovered the two suspects trying to load the severely injured man into his own van, Coleman said.
Deputies arrested the brothers with the use of tear gas and a sheriff’s K-9 following an eight-hour standoff at their home, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Flavio Macias carried out the attack while Jonathan Macias acted as a lookout, prosecutors said.
“The felony complaint includes a special allegation that Flavio Macias Jr. used deadly and dangerous weapons, hammer and blocks, during the commission of the crime,” Ardalani said. He has previous convictions for domestic violence in 2005, carrying a dirk or dagger in 2006 and drug possession in 2012.
Segura was pronounced brain dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center Wednesday afternoon, according to Winter and hospital spokeswoman Rosa Saca.
Though clinically dead, Segura remained on life-support Thursday so that his organs may be harvested for transplant.
An arraignment hearing scheduled Thursday for the Macias brothers was postponed to Sept. 23 in Pomona Superior Court, Ardalani said.

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Vigil and march to honor sheriff’s Explorer Scout fatally shot in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Hundreds of loved ones, including fellow Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Scouts, will march Friday to honor the life of a 19-year-old Whittier man shot to death four years ago along with 24-year-old friend, as well as renew their call for justice in the unsolved double-slaying.
Lifelong Whittier resident Cesar Rodriguez, who dreamed of becoming a sheriff’s deputy, was gunned down Aug. 28, 2011, along with Larry Villegas of Whittier as the two left a friend’s home in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in unincorporated South Whittier.
The killing remains unsolved.
Friends, family members and law enforcement officials will gather for a Mass at 5 p.m. Friday at St. Pious X Church, 10827 Pioneer Blvd. in Santa Fe Springs, before gathering at 7 p.m. at Laurel Avenue and Beaty Street in South Whittier, said Rodriguez’s brother, George Rodriguez.
AR-140829514Marchers will then walk past the shooting scene to Amelia Mayberry Park, 13201 Meyer Road in South Whittier.
Similar marches were held 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Cesar Rodriguez worked as an explorer at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station for four years prior to his death and planned to pursue a career as a sheriff’s deputy, sheriff’s officials said.
George Rodriguez said he remains hopeful his brother’s killer will be found and brought to justice, and wanted anyone with information about the shooting to provide that information to investigators.
Detectives have followed up on information regarding possible persons of interest over the past year, but nothing has developed into a solid lead, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “We’re back to square one.”
Corina also asked that anyone with information come forward. “They can be anonymous if they want,” he said.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Man fatally shot in Pasadena

PASADENA >> A man died in a broad-daylight shooting along Washington Boulevard on Friday afternoon, police said.
The shooting took place just before 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot behind a series of business in the 1700 block of East Washington Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
Officers responding to several calls reporting shots fire found the victim, “lifeless,” suffering from gunshot wounds, the lieutenant said.
No further information regarding the circumstances of the shooting were released, and no suspect description was available as police continued their investigation late Friday.
Devastated family members of the victim gathered at the shooting scene identified the victim as 38-year-old Monte Russell of Los Angeles.
They said he was getting a haircut at a barbershop when the shooting occurred.
Russell’s mother, Yvonne Trice, said she was outraged but what she saw at the scene.
Trice said she believed police knew who Russell was when they encountered him and didn’t do everything they could to save his life or catch his killer.
Russell had a troubled past and was formerly involved with gangs, but had turned his life around and had become a hard-working father to three daughters, Trice said.
“They’ve been trying to kill my son for years,” Trice said. “Where’s the paramedics?”.
“I’m 3 to 4 miles away, and I got here before the paramedics,” said brother Rodney Trice.
Another brother said police at the scene asked him wither he owned a car which needed to be moved out of the crime scene, but did not ask him whether he heard or saw anything related to the shooting.
Yvonne Trice and other family members said they were also furious because the they didn’t think the shooting scene had been properly secured. People continued walking near, as well as in and out of the barbershop, as police investigated the scene, Yvonne Trice said.
“He wasn’t a gang banger,” the mother said. “He worked every day.”
Russell worked laying tile for a company in Altadena, family members said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4501. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: El Monte rape suspect arrested after neighborhood search; also sought for Fresno County murder


EL MONTE >> Police arrested an alleged rapist also sought in connection with the murder of a Fresno County woman Friday after a neighborhood search that lasted about four hours, officials said.
Kaleo Kealoha Schreiner, 21, of Tracy, was ultimately arrested for rape, possession of a loaded gun in public and resisting police, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement.
Police first received a report a woman had been raped about 5:10 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 4100 block of Tyler Avenue, the sergeant said. The attacker was reported to still be at the scene of the crime and armed with a handgun.
Police spotted a man matching the suspect description running in the 3800 block of Tyler Avenue and set up a search perimeter, Luna said. West Covina and Arcadia police joined in the search, along with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
A police K-9 found Schreiner hiding behind a garage in the 3800 block of Esmeralda Ave., officials said.
“The canine bit Schreiner, who resisted the canine and ignored officer’s commands to comply with the arrest,” Luna said. “A bean bag was deployed on Schreiner, who then complied, and was taken into custody.”
Police found a loaded handgun in the area where Schreiner had been hiding, Luna added.
Schreiner has been sought by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office for more than two weeks as a suspect in the slaying of Megan Troen, 20, of Tracy, whose body was discovered July 30 in the California Aqueduct, near W. Nees Avenue and the 5 Freeway in the Firebaugh area, Fresno County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Troen had left her home with Schreiner, an acquaintance of several years, July 20 and was never seen again. Investigators said Troen had a diminished mental capacity.
In the days and weeks that followed, Fresno sheriff’s homicide detectives identified Schreiner as a suspect in the slaying and issued a warrant for his arrent.
Officials took Schreiner suspect to a hospital for treatment prior to booking him into jail, he said.

PHOTO of Kaleo Schreiner courtesy of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office

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Man denies murder charge in fatal stabbing of father in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> A 20-year-old West Covina man accused of stabbing his father to death during an argument at their West Covina home over the weekend denied a murder charge Friday, authorities said.
Maverick Jacob Jimenez pleaded not guilty to a count of murder, along with the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the slaying of his father, 49-year-old Joey Jimenez, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The fatal stabbing took place about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at the home of the father and son in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive.
“Prosecutors said on Aug. 16, defendant Maverick Jimenez reportedly got into an argument with his father before he stabbed him,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. Further information regarding the motive in the slaying were not available.
Police arrested Maverick Jimenez at the home, without a struggle, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said. His father died at the scene.
Maverick Jimenez is due back in court for a hearing Sept. 14, Ardalani said.
If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.

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Man arrested following fatal fistfight in Pasadena released without charges

PASADENA >> Prosecutors have declined to file charges against a man who was arrested after another man he was involved in a fight with over the weekend died, officials said.
Police arrested Manuel Mejia Castillo, a 38-year-old transient, the morning after Sunday’s 9:30 p.m. fight with another transient in the 500 block of South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena police officials said.
Police responding to a report of a man lying on the ground discovered an unconscious 64-year-old man, police said. The injured man was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later.
The name of the 64-year-old man has not been released pending notification of his family, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy had been completed, but the man’s cause of death had not been determined pending the results of additional testing.
Police found Castillo nearby and arrested him on suspicion of murder, police said.
But prosecutors who reviewed the case determined Wednesday there was insufficient evidence to support charges.
“At some point during the day, the 2 men began an argument,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney wrote on a charge evaluation worksheet.
“The only witness saw the 2 men struggling but did not see the suspect do anything that would cause the victim’s death. Nor did the witness see the beginning of the altercation. There is no video,” Dver wrote.
Both men had been drinking prior to the incident, and Castillo claimed the fight amounted to mutual combat and self defense, officials noted, adding that an officials cause of death was yet to be determined.
According to county booking records, Castillo was released from jail shortly after noon Thursday.

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