Probation compliance check in Rosemead turns up 2,000 pills, 4 guns; brothers jailed

ROSEMEAD >> What began as a probation compliance check in Rosemead on Tuesday led deputies to discover a cache of 2,000 pills and four guns, including two AR-15 rifles, authorities said. Two brothers who live at the home were jailed.
Khamsana Jimmy Phimmasone, 35, who is already on probation for a previous narcotics conviction, was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
His brother, 34-year-old Donny Phimmasone, was booked on suspicion of possession of drugs for sales.
Deputies visited the home in the 3700 block of Strang Avenue to ensure Khamsana Phimmasone was abiding by the terms of his probation, Sgt. Tony Duong of the sheriff’s Temple City Station said. His younger brother also lives at the home.
“The search resulted in the discovery of narcotics and several firearms including, two AR-15 rifles, a shotgun, a handgun, ammunition and approximately 2000 pills of a controlled substance,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Several varieties of pills were found, Duong said. They were sent to the sheriff’s crime lab for analysis to determine what exactly they contain.
Khamsana was immediately sentenced to a 10-day “flash incarceration” following his arrest on Tuesday, which is generally used for felons being supervised under the terms of AB 109 probation. Police officials could not confirm whether he was on AB 109 “post-release community supervision.”
According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, his past convictions include: possession of restricted or dangerous drugs in 2004; auto theft and recklessly evading police in 2002; as well as possession of methamphetamine, auto theft and burglary in 2001.
According to county booking records, Khamsana Phimmasone was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, while Donny Phimmasone was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail. Both were scheduled to appear in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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Man severely burned in fire at suspected ‘honey oil’ lab in Altadena

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ALTADENA >> A man suffered burns to 40 percent of his body after an explosion and fire at an Altadena home being used to extract concentrated hash oil from marijuana, authorities said.
Deputies were first summoned to the 1800 block of E. Midwick Drive about 4:10 p.m. by reports of a person heard screaming, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“When they arrived they saw a male adult badly burned and flames coming from the rear of a house,” according to the statement.
After Los Angeles County firefighters extinguished the fire and treated the victim, deputies discovered a large number of “containers and equipment” which they recognized as part of a manufacturing lab used to extract THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, from plants, authorities said. “Several windows of the house were blown out, possibly from an explosion.”
The process to extract concentrated THC oil, also known as “honey oil,” from marijuana plants often involves highly flammable liquids.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department hazardous materials team, sheriff’s narcotics detectives and U.S. Department of Justice officials investigated and decontaminated the scene in a process that lasted through 6 a.m. Saturday morning, officials said.
The badly burned man was taken to a hospital with severe burns covering about 40 percent of his body.
The man, whose name was not available, may face several criminal charges in connection with the alleged honey oil lab.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Man and woman jailed after chase from Azusa to Duarte


AZUSA >> A man and woman led police on a pursuit that ended with a crash in Duarte before they were arrested late Friday, police said.
Driver Dennis Ayon,, 36, of Azusa was booked on suspicion of evading police and felony drug possession, Azusa police officials said in a written statement. Passenger Darla Abriel, 30, of Glendora was booked on suspicion of a misdemeanor drug offense and outstanding warrants, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The pursuit began shortly after 8 p.m. after an Azusa police officer tried to stop the car they were riding in for a traffic violation near 5th Street and Dalton Avenue, Azusa police officials said in a written statement.
“The driver failed to stop and led officers on a vehicle pursuit from the City of Azusa through the City of Monrovia and ultimately into the City of Duarte,” according to the statement, “The vehicle lost control and collided with several parked vehicles in the 2000 block of Mountain (Avenue), City of Duarte.”
Both the driver and passenger were treated for apparently minor injuries prior to booking, officials said. Further details regarding he type and amount of drugs allegedly possessed by the suspects was not available.
Information regarding Ayon’s bail amount and initial court appearance was not available Saturday, as he remained hospitalized, officials said. He is already on felony probation under the terms of AB 109, records show.
Abriel was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing scheduled Monday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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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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