A man is accused of stabbing another man in the head at a bus station in El Monte on Friday afternoon before being captured and arrested with the help of witnesses, authorities said.
The alleged attack took place about 5 p.m. at a terminal at the El Monte Bus Station, 3501 Santa Anita Ave., Lt. Lester Trull of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Service Bureau said.
Deputies responded to a report of a stabbing and found a 53-year-old man who had been slashed in the forehead, the lieutenant said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
The stabber had fled the scene, but was pointed out by witnesses to nearby El Monte police officers, according to Trull. Police detained the suspect, also 53, before deputies arrived and arrested him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The knife believed to have been used in the stabbing was found during the investigation.
While the motive in the stabbing remained under investigation, “this was not random,” Trull said. The suspect and victim knew one another prior to the stabbing, though their specific relationship was unclear.
The identity of the suspect was not available pending the booking process, he said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau at 323-563-5000. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Police are planning a checkpoint in El Monte Friday night.
The sobriety and license checkpoint will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday in the area of Santa Anita Avenue and Lower Azusa Road, El Monte police Sgt. Jimmie Pitts said in a written statement.
Over the past three years alone, El Monte police have investigated 70 DUI-related collisions involving injuries, Pitts said.
Funding for the checkpoint is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> El Monte police searching for a car stolen from an El Monte auto dealership discovered a marijuana oil extraction lab operating out of a Hacienda Heights home, seized $1.8 million worth of pot and concentrated cannabis, authorities said.
Five men were arrested during the 6 p.m. raid at a home in the 4,300-square-foot home at 14720 Horticultural Drive, which is valued at more than a $1 million, according to El Monte police officials and public records. Investigators seized marijuana and concentrated marijuana “honey oil” “wax” valued at $1.8 million, including tins of marijuana labeled “White Walker OG” and adorned with pictures of then zombie-like characters from the popular HBO series, “Game of Thrones.”
The investigation began Monday with the theft of a Lexus LS 460 from Long Lexus, 3530 Peck Road in El Monte, El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
Two days later, police got a lead on the stolen Luxury car, which is valued at more than $70,000.
“The vehicle was equipped with a tracking device that was pinging in the area of the 14700 block of Horticultural Drive, Hacienda Heights,” according to the police statement.
The El Monte Police Department’s Special Investigations Team and the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention responded. “Detectives identified 14720 Horticultural Drive as the property where the vehicle was suspected of being concealed out of view,” the statement said.
A man at the home spoke to detectives through a security gate and denied police permission to search the property for the stolen Lexus.
Police surrounded the home and obtained a search warrant, officials said. Officers arrived at the home, search warrant in-hand, about 6 p.m. Tuesday, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said.
“It was determined that the house contained numerous types of hazardous chemicals and equipment used in the production of concentrated cannabis,” the police statement said. “A quantity of finished concentrated cannabis, commonly known as “honey oil” or “wax”, was located. Five male adults were also located and arrested.”
Due to the potentially dangerous chemicals at the home, authorities evacuated the property as the The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force Narcotics Lab Team and Los Angeles County hazardous material team dismantled the lab and safely stored the evidence.
“Most of the contraband was packaged for the purposes of distribution,” the police statement added.
The Lexus that launched the investigation was not found at the Horticulture Drive home, Luna said. It was ultimately recovered, unoccupied, within the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s Industry Station.
Arrested on suspicion of cultivation of a controlled substance were David Byung Kim, 38, Michael Myungkhun Choi, 31, Andrew Euyyong Kim, 26, Aaron Michael Corpuz, 28 and Francis Azle Ocampo, 28.
All five suspects were released from custody on Wednesday pending their initial court appearances after posting $75,000 bail each, records show.
Anyone with information is asked to contact El Monte police at 626-580-2100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE] – El Monte police seized $1.8 million worth of marijuana and marijuana concentrates during a raid at a home in the 14700 block of Horticulture Drive in Hacienda Heights on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Five men at the home were arrested. (Courtesy, El Monte Police Department) [BELOW] – (Clockwise from top left) David Byung Kim, 38, Michael Myungkhun Choi, 31, Andrew Euyyong Kim, 26, Aaron Michael Corpuz, 28 and Francis Azle Ocampo, 28. (Courtesy, El Monte Police Department)
Police arrested an El Monte man Wednesday on suspicion of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography, as well as secretly recording video of an female relative in her Covina home, authorities said.
Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, was jailed following two-month long investigation, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
The investigation began about two months ago when a woman reported to police that she had discovered a cell phone hidden in her closet and recording her, the lieutenant said.
Investigators seized the cell phone, but found some of its files were encrypted and not readily accessible, according to Walczak.
Following a forensic examination of the phone, officials managed to recover the encrypted files, he said included not only surreptitiously recorded videos of his relative, but also about 200 images depicting young children engaged in sexual acts.
Police arrested Reyes without a struggle at his home in El Monte about 10:35 a.m., according to polcie and county booking records.
“He was interviewed by our detectives and admitted to both the possession of the images and video taping his family member,” Walczak said.
Reyes faces charges of peeping and possession of child pornography.
Records show he was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Thursday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PHOTO: Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, of El Monte. (Courtesy, Covina Police Department)
Authorities have identified a San Marino man who died Friday in a small airplane crash at the San Gabriel Valley Airport in Monte.
Jeffrey Ying, 63, died in the crash, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said.
He was the pilot and sole occupant of a single-engine, home-built 1979 Pazmany PL-2 airplane when it went down about 9:30 a.m. at the south end of the airport, 4233 Santa Anita Ave., according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.
Witnesses reported seeing the airplane take off and seemingly experience engine trouble before suddenly making a left turn and falling from the sky, National Transportations Safety Board Air Safety Inspector Patrick Jones said. It appeared the pilot was attempting to return to the runway.
The airplane slammed into the ground, sustaining major damage to its nose and left wing, officials said. Paramedics pronounced Ying dead at the scene.
Ying was reportedly an experienced pilot.
The aircraft was registered to an Azusa-based company called Progenitech and had a valid flight status through 2020, FAA records show.
EL MONTE >> An El Monte man who works as a shuttle bus driver for a day care center for the disabled is accused of molesting a 30-year-old woman who he was transporting, police said Thursday.
Antelmo Medina, 58, is charged with sexual battery in connection with the alleged crime, which took place Tuesday, according to El Monte police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Medina drives a shuttle bus for “The Dream House,” a state-licensed dependent adult day care facility on Garvey Avenue, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said in a written statement. His responsibilities included driving guests to and form their homes in a minivan.
“The alleged crime occurred while Medina transported the victim to her residence,” Luna said.
Medina also served as a physical fitness coach at the facility, where he has worked for the past eight months.
Prosecutors charged Medina on Wednesday with one misdemeanor count of sexual battery, district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Medina was initially booked on suspicion of a felony-level crime and held in lieu of $1.125 million bail, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
After he was charged with a misdemeanor count of sexual battery, Medina’s bail was reduced by the court to $50,000, Santiago said. His arraignment was continued to Friday.
Anyone with information is urged ton contact the El Monte Police Department Detective Bureau at 626-580-2172. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
BOOKING photo of Antelmo Medina courtesy of the El Monte Police Department
EL MONTE >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a 20-year-old man who died in a shooting that also left a teenage boy wounded in El Monte on Tuesday night.
Esteban Bustamante of South El Monte died following the 11 p.m. attack at Garvey and Durfee avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
He was riding as a rear passenger in a car, as was the teenage victim who survived his wounds, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. A woman driving the victims’ car, as well as a second woman riding as a front passenger, escaped injury.
The victims were stopped at a red light, facing north on Durfee Avenue, when a gray compact car driven by the killer pulled up alongside their car, Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“A verbal interaction occurred between the occupants of both vehicles,” Schrader said. “During the course of the verbal interaction, a male Hispanic exited the driver side of the suspect’s vehicle, approached the victim’s vehicle and shot multiple rounds into the rear passenger compartment.”
The shooter then got back into his car and sped away.
The woman at the wheel of the victim’s car drove the wounded man and boy to Greater El Monte Community Hospital in South El Monte, Schrader said.
Bustamante died within minutes of arriving there, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
No further information, including a detailed suspect description, have been released.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting El Monte police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A 54-year-old Miramonte Elementary School teacher was arrested Wednesday for allegedly inappropriately touching girls at the school.
The alleged incidents occurred in a classroom and on school grounds, according to Sgt. Amy Hanson of the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau. She didn’t clarify the number of students molested but described them as between 8 and 11 years old.
She said Joseph Baldenebro was arrested on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts involving children and molesting children.
“He’s been a teacher at the school for the past 21 years,” Lt. Todd Deeds of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau said. The grades he teaches are 4th and 5th grades.”
Baldenebro was booked at the sheriff’s Temple Station on Wednesday morning. Deputies did not release a city of residence for him.
Detectives did not release the number of suspected victims or the time frame of the alleged crimes.
Miramonte Elementary School at 10620 Schmidt Road in South El Monte is in the Mountain View School District.
District officials were notified by the principal at Miramonte Elementary about an alleged incident between a teacher and a student, according to a statement from Superintendent Lillian Maldonado French.
She said district officials immediately contacted police and Baldenebro was placed on administrative leave.
“The district takes any allegation of misconduct of any kind very seriously,” Maldonado French said.
“Yesterday the district was informed that Mr. Baldenebro was arrested under the suspicion of lewd acts. The district has and will continue to fully cooperate with the sheriff’s investigation, and out of respect for judiciary due process and privacy laws, we cannot discuss any confidential details about personnel or students within the district.”
She said additional school counselors have been made available to any students who might have been affected by Baldenebro’s removal. She said while they are shaken by the allegations, the district trusts in the legal process and will have no further comment until that process has been completed.
Booking records show Baldenebro is being held at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles on a bail of $404,000. He will be arraigned Friday at Pomona Superior Court.
Detectives believe there may be more possible victims of the longtime schoolteacher.
“We’re asking for the public help in identifying additional victims,” Deeds said. “If you have a child, or you went to Miramonte Elementary Shoool, and this gentleman was your teacher and you feel like something inappropriate happened, or criminal in nature, please contact the Special victims Bureau.
The sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau can be reached at 877-710-5273. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
— Ruby Gonzales, Hayley E. Munguia, Brian Day
POMONA >> A former part-time wrestling coach at Arroyo High School in El Monte who carried on sexual relationships with three underage students received a one-year jail term on Wednesday, authorities said.
David Vaca Jr., 21, of West Covina pleaded “no contest” earlier this month to one count of oral copulation of a person under 18 years old and one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
During Vaca’s sentencing in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior court, Judge Salvatore Sirna suspended a 3-year, 8-month state prison term and ordered Vaca instead to serve 365 days in county jail, Ardalani said in a written statement. Vaca was additionally sentenced to five years of formal probation, ordered to attend 52 sexual compulsion classes, stay away from his victims for 10 years and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Vaca was accused of carrying on sexual relationships with three female students at separate times between June of 2015 and January of 2017, Ardalani said.
He entered his “no contest” pleas under a negotiated plea arrangement, which included the suspended prison term.
Following his arrest on Feb. 1, Vaca initially faced 20 felony charges: Seven counts of oral copulation of a person under 18, six counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, six counts of penetration by a foreign object and one count of sodomy on a person under 16 years old.
Police first jailed Vaca after learning he had been involved in an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student of the school, El Monte police Sgt. Richard Luna said at the time.
As the investigation unfolded, police learned of two additional students victimized by Vaca, Luna said.
PHOTO of David Vaca courtesy of the El Monte Police Deparment
EL MONTE >> Police pulled a distraught man from the edge of a bridge spanning the San Gabriel River as he was preparing to jump on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Officers received a report about noon that a “suicidal subject” was seen on the exterior ledge of the Valley Boulevard bridge, just west of the 605 Freeway, El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
“Officer Fullington immediately established dialogue with the man, who was visibly distraught, while Officers approached from out of the man’s sight and were able to successfully gain physical control of the him and prevent him from going over,” according to the statement. “The officers’ quick thinking and training helped prevent what could have been a tragic situation.”
The main was taken to receive help, Lt. Ernie Cramer said.