DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies responding to a report of a possible burglary late Saturday led deputies to discover more than 1,000 marijuana plants growing inside a Diamond Bar home, authorities said.
Officials received a call just before midnight reporting a possible break-in at a two-story house in the 800 block of Rexford Court, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Byron Ward said.
Deputies found no intruder, but saw smoke emanating from the second floor of the home, Ward said.
Los Angeles County firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire, the sergeant said. Authorities found the home had been set up as an indoor marijuana-growing operation, “in excess of 1,000 plants.”
Arson was not suspected, he added. Officials were looking into the possibility the fire was sparked by an electrical issue.
No one was at the home, and no suspects were in custody Sunday in connection with the grow house, Ward said. The investigation was ongoing.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
DIAMOND BAR >> A man died in a solo-car crash on the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar early Sunday morning, officials said.
The man’s name was not released pending positive identification and notification of family, Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said. He was initially described as a man in his 30s.
He was driving a 2013 Hyundai Sonata northbound on the 57 Freeway, just south of Golden Springs Drive, about 5:15 a.m. when the crash occurred, Officer S. Stoos of the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park area office said in a written statement.
“For an unknown reason, (the driver) allowed his vehicle to veer to the right, crossing over the No. 5 lane right shoulder, subsequently colliding with a metal guardrail located just east of the roadway,” Stood said.
Paramedics took the badly injured man to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries, CHP and coroner’s officials said.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer F. Riviera of the CHP’s Baldwin Park area office at 626-338-1164.
A man and woman carried out a robbery in San Dimas and an attempted robbery in Diamond Bar before fleeing from deputies in the wrong direction down the 60 and 57 freeways, crashing their car and being arrested, authorities said.
The series of crimes began about 12:30 when the two suspects robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint in a commercial area in the 100 block of East Via Verde in San Dimas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tonya Edwards said.
A man pointed a gun at the woman and demanded her purse before driving off in a getaway car with a female accomplice riding in the passenger seat, Edwards said.
About 15 minutes later, deputies received a report of a second crime along Sunset Crossing Road near the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar, sheriff’s Lt. John Saleeby said.
A man and woman brandished a gun at a man and demanded property, but fled empty-handed after he told them he had nothing to take, Saleeby said.
Within minutes, deputies spotted a car matching the description of the robbers’ vehicle driving on Grand Avenue along the border between Diamond Bar and Walnut, Saleeby said.
They began a pursuit, but quickly cancelled it when the fleeing Toyota Corolla got onto the 60 Freeway, heading eastbound in the westbound traffic lanes, officials said.
The car continued fleeing, heading southbound in the northbound lanes of the 57 Freeway, Saleeby said. The car ultimately crashed into a cinder block wall at the 57 Freeway and Pathfinder Road.
The man and woman were taken into custody, Saleeby said.
The suspects’ names were not available, as they suffered apparently minor injuries in the crash and were taken to a hospital for treatment prior to booking.
POMONA >> Prosecutors have declined to file a case against a Montebello police officer arrested in May on suspicion driving under the influence of prescription painkillers following a solo-vehicle crash in Diamond Bar in May, officials said Wednesday.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station arrested Montebello police Sgt. Christopher Cervantes, 43, in the early-morning hours of May 6 after the vehicle he was driving crashed into a tree.
Cervantes was scheduled to appear in court Monday for an arraignment hearing, but the hearing was cancelled after officials decided not to pursue a criminal charge against the officer.
After reviewing the case, “We declined a case against Mr. Cervantes June 29 due to insufficient evidence,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The case was declined because the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials have no expert to provide an opinion regarding Cervantes’ alleged impairment.
“(Cervantes) stated he swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle and struck a tree,” according to his district attorney’s office charge evaluation worksheet. “He exhibited objective symptoms of being under the influence of a drug at the scene and was arrested.”
“(Cervantes) provided a blood sample which tested positive acetaminophen/butalbital/codeine and morphine, a prescription drug. (He) has a valid prescription for this medication,” according to the document.
But prosecutors said they could take the case no further.
“There is no expert testimony available through our crime lab to offer a quantitative or qualitative opinion of impairment based upon the facts set forth,” according to the charge evaluation worksheet. “The (field sobriety tests) and driving are insufficient to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect operated a motor vehicle while impaired. Prosecution is declined based upon insufficient evidence.”
Both Montebello police and sheriff officials have declined to discuss details of the allegations against Cervantes, including whether the vehicle involved in the crash was city-owned, or whether the officer was on-duty at the time of the crash.
Montebello police have also declined to say whether Cervantes was placed on leave or remained on normal duty during the investigation.
DIAMOND BAR >> A major sewage leak flooded a Diamond Bar street with malodorous muck for nearly four hours Sunday, officials said.
The leak began about 11:20 a.m., when sewage began spurting from beneath a manhole cover in the 1100 block of Clear Creed Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.
Before long, a stream of the foul-smelling sludge was spread over several hundred feet, he said. The reason for the backup was not clear.
Public works officials got managed to shut off the flow of sewage about 3 p.m., but remained on-scene into the late afternoon.
DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies arrested a Montebello police officer early Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving following a crash in Diamond Bar, according to officials and county booking records.
Christopher Andrew Cervantes, 43, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI about 3:30 a.m. and released on $5,000 bail within the hour, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
Lt. John Saleeby of the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar station confirmed the arrest, but declined to provide information regarding the circumstances of the arrest, saying the investigation was “ongoing.” He deferred further inquiries to the Montebello Police Department.
In addition to the sheriff’s department investigation, Montebello police have launched their own internal investigation into the incident, Montebello police Lt. Kelly Gordon said.
“At 12:40 this morning, one of our employees was involved in a traffic collision in Diamond Bar,” Gordon said. “The employee was arrested.”
Gordon declined to confirm the name of the involved officer.
She said she did not know whether the involved police employee was on-duty or off-duty, or whether the crash involved a police vehicle or a personal car.
Further details were not available. Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday’s arrest was not Cervantes first scrape with the law from the other side of the badge.
He was arrested by San Diego police in July of 2011 when he was allegedly drunk, resisted arrest and falsely identified himself to arresting officers as an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Fellow officers who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Montebello Police Department in 2012 accused the department of failing to properly discipline the officer.
Former Mongol Al “The Suit” Cavazos and his brother, former club president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, have accused Cervantes and his partner in the ATF of lying about the circumstances of a 2007 shooting in order to obtain a search warrant which ultimately led to federal convictions for 78 Mongols and a state conviction for the shooter. Both Montebello police and ATF officials have denied the allegation.
The Mongols have voted the Cavazos brothers “out bad” of the organization.
Al Cavazos said he was not surprised Cervantes, who he described as “crooked,” had gotten into legal trouble.
“I have put in numerous complaints with the Montebello Police Department department about his corruption,” Al Cavazos said of Cervantes. “He falsified documents that put me in jail.” Al Cavazos served nine months behind bars in connection with the case, and has since successfully sued the government for the return of a seized motorcycle.
“(Cervantes) falsified evidence, which I could prove,” he said. “He went as far as to falsify two attempted murder, and drug charges.”
Al Cavazos said he has also filed complaints with the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station, which patrols the jurisdiction where the 2007 Nicola’s bar shooting took place. But nothing has come of the complaints, which Cavazos said police and sheriff’s administrators were not taking seriously.
DIAMOND BAR >> A brush fire broke out Thursday afternoon along Derringer Lane.
The fire was first reported just before 4 p.m in the 1800 block of Derringer Lane, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Keith Mora said.
It grew to 2.5 acres before firefighters got the flames extinguished in about an hour, fire Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. No structures were initially threatened, and no injuries were reported, the captain said.
The fire was burning with a 5- to 10 mph wind at its back ad firefighters poured water on the fire from both hoses and helicopters, Mora said.
The cause was under investigation.
DIAMOND BAR >> Sheriff’s officials Thursday announced the arrest of a 42-year-old San Dimas woman who was found driving in Orange County with the remains of her slain mother-in-law in an SUV Wednesday following a fire at the mother-in-law’s Diamond Bar home.
Unyoung Lee had been a “person of interest” in the investigation ever since she was found driving in Tustin early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
After a day of questioning, detectives arrested Lee about 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to Los Angeles County booking records. She was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail pending her arraignment, scheduled Friday in Pomona Superior Court.
Orange county coroner’s officials withheld the identity of Lee’s alleged victim and 77-year-old mother-in-law.
A large fire that broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday at the victim’s house in the 1200 block of N. Diamond Bar Boulevard first drew emergency personnel to the home, according to deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Firefighters found no one inside the home.
But Tustin police soon received a tip that the resident of the home had been killed, the house had been set on fire intentionally, and the possible killer was driving in the Tustin area with the victim’s remains in the car.
Tustin police quickly found the car and detained Lee as detectives continued their investigation both in Tustin and in Diamond Bar.
A motive in the slaying has not been released.
DIAMOND BAR >> Deputies arrested three teenage burglary suspects Sunday afternoon after they broke into a Diamond Bar home occupied by another teenager, officials said.
The break-in occurred about 12:10 p.m. in the 800 block of Leyland Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.
A teenage boy was home alone when the burglars knocked at the door, then forced their way into the house after receiving no response, the lieutenant said.
The victim called 9-1-1 to report the burglary while the teenage suspects were still inside the home, Buckner said. They had fled in a blue Honda Civic before deputies arrived, however.
A neighbor managed to take down the license plate number of the car, and deputies soon found it nearby and pulled it over, Buckner said.
Deputies arrested the three teens of about 17 years old and recovered several hundred dollars believed to have been stolen in the break-in, he said.
DIAMOND BAR >> A person has been hospitalized in unknown condition after being struck by a truck on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar early Saturday.
The incident occurred on the westbound lanes of the 60 beneath the 57 Freeway about 2:45 a.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
The sequence was initiated with a single-vehicle crash with either the center divider or the right shoulder wall of the freeway, causing the vehicle, a gray Cadillac, to catch fire, according to CHP logs.
The Cadillac appeared to have had two occupants, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials and a videographer at the scene.
At least one of them exited the car, officials said.
A person, described only as male, was trying to put out the fire when he was struck by a truck, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Al Jackson said.
Another driver stopped and dragged the victim out of the freeway lanes, according to the log.
Paramedics took the injured person to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment, according to fire and CHP officials. An update on his condition was not available.
The second person inside the Cadillac was not hospitalized, officials said.
Fire officials described the involved truck as a big rig, while CHP officials described it as a delivery truck.
The investigation was being handled by officers from the Baldwin Park office of the CHP, who could not be reached for comment.
— Staff and wire report