Azusa gang member, woman arrested in Covina with stockpile of drugs

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COVINA >> Police jailed an Azusa gang member late Friday after he ran from a traffic stop with large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and concentrated cannabis, as well as other people identifying documents, officials said.
Steven Anthony Quintana, 42, of Azusa, who was already on felony probation for previous robbery conviction under the terms of AB 109, was ultimately booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales, possession of identity theft-related materials and resisting arrest, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Quintana’s passenger, 37-year-old Darlene Denise Martinez, whose hometown was unclear, was booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales and possession of identity-theft related materials.
An officer first tried to pull Quintana over for a traffic violation about 6:30 p.m., Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
After a delay, Quintana pulled over in the 5300 block of Cedarglen Drive, where he ran from the car, the sergeant said.
A police helicopter which was already overhead directed officers on the ground to Quintana, who was found in the area and arrested without a struggle, Zavala said.
Quintana ditched his jacket while running from police, he said. Inside the jacket, police found 46 grams of methamphetamine, seven grams of cocaine and 32 grams of concentrated cannabis. Inside the car, police also found identifying documents in the names of other people.
Quintana and Martinez were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, records show.

BOOKING PHOTOS of Steven Quintana and Darlene Martinez courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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Glendora man accused of selling heroin near high school in Covina

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COVINA >> Police jailed a Glendora man Sunday on suspicion of selling heroin at an apartment building across the street from a high school in Covina, officials said.
Christopher Michael Strohl, 30, was booked on suspicion of possession of heroin for sales, as well as an existing traffic warrant, following his 9 a.m. arrest at an apartment complex in the 1000 block of West Cypress Street, across the street from Northview High School, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Officers had received complaints of drug dealing in the area when they spotted Strohl, who appeared suspicious, standing in a carport, Covina police Sgt. Antonio Zavala said.
They soon realized the man, later identified as Strohl, had an outstanding traffic warrant, he said.
While searching the suspect, officers discovered 9.8 grams of heroin, as well as a small amount of methamphetamine, the sergeant said.
The heroin had an estimated street value of $1,000, he added.
Strohl was being held in lieu of $65,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Robbers target painkillers in Pasadena pharmacy heist


PASADENA >> Police are seeking two men who fled with two duffel bags full of painkillers following a robbery at a Pasadena pharmacy on Wednesday afternoon.
The crime took place about 12:10 p.m. at the Pasadena City Pharmacy, 1648 E. Washington Blvd.
The two robbers gestured as if they had handguns, though none were seen, as they entered the pharmacy and jumped over the counter, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
“They filled two duffel bags that they had brought with them with prescription medication,” he said. The robbers targeted painkillers and did not steal any cash. It was unclear how much medication they obtained.
Both robbers were last seen fleeing the store on foot, he said. No injuries were reported.
Police described both robbers as black men, between 25 and 30 years old, wearing all-dark clothing.
Investigators were in the process of checking area surveillance cameras for useful footage, Goodman said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Teenage would-be Pasadena pharmacy robbers foiled by slang


PASADENA >> Police arrested two teenage would-be robbery after they tried to steal cough syrup from two Pasadena pharmacies on Wednesday, but were foiled when the employees they tried to rob could no understand the slang they used, officials said.
The suspects, a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, both from Altadena, were arrested as they tried to flee the scene of the failed robberies on a Pasadena Transit bus, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Police first received a report about 11:34 a.m. that a teen had just tried, but failed, to commit a knifepoint robbery at a pharmacy in the 900 block of East Green Street , the lieutenant said.
The older boy entered the store, brandished a knife and demanded “the lean,” Luna said.
The teen was apparently demanding codeine-based cough syrup, but using a slang term the employee did not understand.
“When the employee did not understand what he was asking for, he left the store, slashing a paper sign as he left,” Luna said. The 14-year-old boy waited outside the store during the attempted robbery.
The young would-be robber and his accomplice then went across the street and tried the same thing at another pharmacy, police said.
The older boy brandished a knife as he again demanded, “the lean,” and advanced on employees, Luna said. An employee told the knife-wielding youngster that he did not understand what he was asking for, but to take whatever he wanted. Both teens fled from the store empty-handed.
A witness told arriving officers that the boys had gotten on a Pasadena Transit bus, Luna said. Police soon stopped the bus and arrested the two boys without a struggle. The knife believed to have been used in the crime was recovered.

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Former Pico Rivera nightclub owner sentenced for laundering drug money

"The Pico Rivera nightclub owner Edgar Fragoso, right, 38, leaving Edward Roybal Federal Building after his arraignment where he pleaded not guilty to eight counts federal indictments in downtown Los Angeles Friday, March 13, 2015. The Pico Rivera nightclub owner is accused of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a drug trafficking ring operating in the U.S. and Mexico (Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)"

“Pico Rivera nightclub owner Edgar Fragoso, right, 38, leaving Edward Roybal Federal Building after his arraignment in downtown Los Angeles Friday, March 13, 2015.  (Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)”

LOS ANGELES >> The owner of nightclubs in Pico Rivera and Moreno Valley who admitted laundering drug money for foreign drug traffickers through his businesses received a two-year prison sentence on Thursday, officials said.
Edgar Fragoso, 39, of Hacienda Heights was sentenced to 24 months in custody, with one year to be served behind bars, and another year of home detention, U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said. U.S. District Judge George Wu also ordered Fragoso to pay a $14,000 fine and agreed to give up his liquor license.
Fragoso owned the El Rodeo nightclubs, formerly at 8825 Washington Blvd., as well as another location in Moreno Valley.
Fragoso agreed to plead guilty in August of 2015 to a single count of money laundering.
Prosecutors allege Fragoso laundered more than $35,000 from methamphetamine sales for a drug dealer operating out of Mexico, and also collected $200,000 in payments from undercover federal agents posing as members of a drug-trafficking organization, according to the indictment.
Prior to reaching a plea deal, Fragoso was initially indicted on one count of conspiracy to launder money and seven counts of money laundering. He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges at his arraignment in March of 2015.
All but the single count of money laundering was dismissed under the plea arrangement.
If convicted as charged, Fragoso could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the eight counts on which he was indicted.
The two-year sentence handed down Thursday was only a fraction of the 25 years in prison Fragoso could have faced as a maximum penalty.
The reasoning behind the sentence was unclear Friday, as the sentencing memorandum in the case had been filed under seal, Mrozek said.
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La Habra pharmacy burglarized for second time in recent weeks


LA HABRA >> Burglars smashed their way into a La Habra Boulevard pharmacy late Wednesday for the second time in just over two weeks, authorities said.
The most recent break-in was reported about 10:30 p.m. at Central Drugs, 520 W. La Habra Blvd., La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
“Upon arrival, it was discovered that the front window had been smashed and entry made into the business,” according to the statement.
Officers search the building with help from Buena Park Police Department K-9s but found no suspects.
It was yet to be determined Thursday exactly what had been stolen from the pharmacy.
The same drug store was also the scene of another burglary on Aug. 16, police said at the time.
Three suspects were jailed in connection with that incident, and another escaped. Officers recovered allegedly stolen prescription painkillers from the suspects.

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UPDATED: 3 jailed, 1 sought in La Habra pharmacy break-in


LA HABRA >> Police jailed three suspects and sought another following a break-in targeting prescription drugs at a La Habra pharmacy early Friday morning, authorities said.
An alarm activation at 3:30 a.m. first attracted the attention of police to Central Drugs, 520 W. La Habra Blvd., La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
The first officer to arrive on-scene spotted a suspicious silver Hyundai Sonata near the pharmacy, but it immediately sped away once the driver spotted the patrol car, according to the statement.
The driver of the Honda fled, but soon crashed into a wall at a dead end in the 700 block of West First Avenue, police said.
The driver, later identified at Daniel Estrada, 29, of Apple Valley, allegedly put the car into reverse and rammed the police car. He and passenger Lina Medina, 24, of Rialto, where then taken into custody.
“While this was occurring, two additional suspects, who had still been in the business when the officers arrived, fled the area on foot,” according to the statement.
Officers searched the area and found Gabriel Pille, 23, of Fontana behind a nearby supermarket and arrested him. The fourth and final suspect evaded police, but officers recovered “numerous pieces of evidence,” including recovered prescription drugs.
Police recovered thousands of prescription painkillers such as morphine, codeine and oxycodone from the suspects, Sgt. Ron Hurst said.
The investigation was ongoing.
Estrada and Pille were booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy, police said. Estrada is additionally accused of assault on a peace officer. Media was booked on suspicion of conspiracy.
Anyone with information can reach La Habra police at 562-383-4300. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online at www.tip411.com.

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Man jailed following Alhambra pharmacy robbery


ALHAMBRA >> Police arrested a Norwalk man after he robbed a grocery store pharmacy of painkillers Sunday, officials said.
Albert Eloy Keil, 23, was booked on suspicion of robbery and burglary shortly after the crime, which took place about noon inside an Albertsons store, 2400 W. Commonwealth Ave., according to Alhambra police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Keil verbally threatened employees at the pharmacy before hopping over the counter and helping himself to about $900 worth of codeine pills, Alhambra police Sgt. Ruben Soriano said.
But store security guards immediately captured the robber, who was not armed, and held him until police arrived, the sergeant said.
Keil was believed to have been accompanied by an accomplice who acted as a lookout, Soriano said. The second suspect, described only as male, was not found Saturday.
Keil was being held in lieu of $120,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing, scheduled Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.

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Men sought in counter-hopping cough syrup theft at Arcadia pharmacy

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ARCADIA >> Police are seeking two men who hopped a pharmacy counter to steal bottles of codeine-laden cough syrup last week.
The crime took place about 9:30 p.m. on May 25 at CVS Pharmacy, 1401 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said in a written statement.
“As one suspect distracted a pharmacist with a ‘consultation,’ the second suspect jumped the pharmacy counter and moved directly to a supply of bottled promethazine (with) codeine cough syrup,” Nakamura said. “He grabbed a number of bottles and placed them in a brown bag. Both suspects then ran out of the store through an emergency exit.”
No getaway car was seen.
Police released store surveillance camera images of the thieves Thursday in hopes of generating leads.
Both suspects were described as white or Latino men between 20 and 30 years old. One stood 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds, while the other was about 6 feet tall and 160 pounds.
Anyone with information can reach Arcadia police at 626-574-5150 in reference to Case No. 16002821. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERA photos courtesy of the Arcadia Police Department

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Police: Long Beach brothers busted with kilo of cocaine in San Gabriel


SAN GABRIEL >> Two brothers from Long Beach were behind bars Friday after San Gabriel police found them driving through town with a kilogram of cocaine stowed in a shoe box, officials said.
Manuel Eugenio Salazar, 23, and brother Jorge Eugenio Salazar, 22, were both booked on suspicion of transportation of narcotics following their arrests shortly before noon Thursday, according to San Gabriel police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust stemmed from a “routine traffic stop” about 10:25 a.m. in the 1300 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard, Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
An officers topped a Nissan being driven by Manuel Salazar, with his brother riding as a passenger, for having no license plates, the lieutenant said. It was also soon determined that the driver had no license.
Police prepared to tow the car, Nakamura said. While conducting an “inventory search,” police found a 2.2-pound brick of cocaine stashed inside a shoebox within the car.
A drug-sniffing dog examined the car but found no additional drugs, he said.
Manuel and Jorge Salazar were being held in lieu of $30,000 bail each at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.

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