Police plan checkpoint in El Monte

EL MONTE — Police are planning to hold a checkpoint this weekend to screen motorists for sobriety and valid drivers’ licenses.
The checkpoint is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. the following morning at an undisclosed location within the city, El Monte police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, DUI drivers are blames for 66 injury crashes, harming 98 people, according to the police statement.
The checkpoint is being funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Man wounded in El Monte police shooting released from custody after serving time for probation violation

EL MONTE — An unarmed El Monte man shot and wounded by a police officer after allegedly reaching for his waistband early last month was released from jail earlier this week after serving a month in jail for a probation violation, according to officials and records.
Raymond Alvarado, 34, was released from custody Tuesday after one month in custody following the Dec. 6 officer-involved shooting in the 3500 block of Cogswell Road, according to Los Angeles County booking records.
He admitted a probation violation during a Jan. 6 hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court and was sentenced to 45 days in county jail, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said. Further details about the probation violation were not available Friday, and it was unclear if Alvarado was released based on credit for time already served in jail.
Police encountered Alvarado just before 4 a.m. Dec. 6 after responding to reports of a man seen armed with a gun, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Guillermina Saldana said in a written statement. Alvarado matched the description of the person described by the caller.
As officers approached him, Alvarado reached into his waistband, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. One of several officers on scene opened fire, striking Alvarado an undisclosed number of times.
Alvarado was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, Saldana said. No weapon as recovered at the scene.
The name of the involved officer was not released.
Public records indicate Alvarado lives around the corner from where the shooting took place. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records reveals an extensive criminal history.
Alvarado was convicted in 2010 of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. In 2009, he was convicted of burglary, grand theft and receiving stolen property. Alvarado was convicted of drug possession in 2009 and domestic battery in May of 2007, records show.
Alvarado was convicted of violating a protective order in 2007. In 2006 six, he was convicted of violating a protective order, making criminal threats and violating a court order. He has two convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in 2005, and another in 1999.

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Police checkpoints planned Saturday in Arcadia, El Monte

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY — Police are planning checkpoints in Arcadia and El Monte Saturday as authorities throughout the region continue an ongoing holiday season crackdown on intoxicated driving.
Arcadia police plan to hold a sobriety and drivers’ license checkpoint during the evening hours at an undisclosed location within the city, according to Arcadia police Traffic Sergeant Brett Bourgeous.
El Monte police are also planning a checkpoint from 6 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, El Monte police said in a written statement.
Funding for the checkpoints is being provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Updated: Fugitive arrested after standoff at El Monte home

EL MONTE — A wanted parolee holed-up inside an El Monte home for more than three hours before surrendering to U.S. Marshals and a sheriff’s SWAT team, authorities said.
Frankie Garcia, 23, was ultimately jailed on an arrest warrant stemming from an assault case in West Covina, as well as suspicion of violating his parole, said U.S. Marshals Chief Inspector Thomas Hession, who serves as Task Force Commander for the U.S. Marshals Los Angeles Regional Fugitive Task Force. Garcia was also described as a suspected affiliate of a local street gang.
The incident began about 1:30 p.m. in the 11600 block of Ferris Road, where Marshals descended on a back house to the rear of an apartment complex in search of Garcia, Hession said. “We attempted to make an arrest. He barricaded himself in a residence,” Hession said. The Marshals then summoned a SWAT team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to help with the standoff, which continued for more than three hours.
But Garcia exited the home and surrendered about 5 p.m., Hession said. “He realized that the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau (SWAT team) was going to make entry.”
He was unarmed, and no other people were inside the home, he added.
Further details of the alleged assault in West Covina were not immediately available.

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Police: 1,500 pounds of marijuana, guns found in El Monte auto body shop

EL MONTE — A police task force searching for stolen cars Thursday instead discovered nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana inside an El Monte auto body shop, authorities said.
Three guns were also seized and one suspect was arrested during the bust, which took place about 6 p.m. at Professional Paint and Body, 3118 Maxson Road, El Monte police Sgt. Mark Snook said in a written statement.
Detectives from the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention were performing a compliance check at the business when they found marijuana, Snook said. El Monte police detectives were summoned to the scene.
“A search warrant was served at the location and (approximately) 1,483 pounds of marijuana was located, along with three firearms and narcotics packaging material,” Snook said.
A man was arrested, however police withheld his identity and the specific crimes he was arrested on suspicion of Saturday.
A telephone number listed as that of the business was not operational Saturday.
No further information was released.

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Man wounded in El Monte officer-involved shooting

EL MONTE — Police shot and wounded an unarmed man early Friday who was earlier seen running and screaming in the street, according to officials and witnesses.
The shooting was reported at 3:57 a.m. in the 3500 block of Cogswell Road.
El Monte Police referred all calls to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials who are handling the investigation.
“Officers with the El Monte Police Department responded to a man with a gun call,” Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a written statement issued Friday evening.
“When the officers arrived at the location, they saw a man that fit the description of the person described in the call,” she said. “As the officers contacted him, the suspect reached into his waistband and an officer-involved shooting occurred.
No weapon was found at the scene, Saldana said.
The wounded man, described by investigators as 34-years-old, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
The name of the wounded man was not released, nor were the identities of the involved officers.
Authorities Friday made no mention of potential criminal charges against the wounded man.
No officers were injured in the incident, officials said. Authorities did not say how many officers were involved in the shooting or how many shots were fired.
Neighbor Henry Ballesteros said his stepdaughter heard a commotion early that morning and called 9-1-1.
“My stepdaughter went to the porch, saw the guy running and screaming,” he said.
He pointed toward Ferris and Cosgwell roads where there is a stop sign. Ballesteros said the man started there then ran down Cogswell Road.
“He woke up people living there. A lot of people called 9-1-1. That’s how much noise he was making,” Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros said the man was seen running around the car port area of a blue apartment complex. One of the neighborhood kids told Ballesteros the man was seen earlier arguing with someone in a car.The man was heard addressing someone inside the car as Richard.
“My stepdaughter didn’t see anybody in the car,” Ballesteros said. The residents thought the man was either drunk or on drugs, he added.
The gunshots woke up several residents.
Ana Bustamante thought Fourth of July when she heard the sounds. From her door, she saw a lot of police and a man lying on the street.
“I saw the man right there,” Bustamante said and pointed to a spot on Cogswell Road where several blood stains were visible. “He said,’I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!’”
She didn’t recognize him.
Lou Jaramillo who lives at Ferris and Cogswell roads said he heard three gunshots.
“I’m a light sleeper. When I heard the first pop, my eyes opened up. I called my sister who lives in the house in front of me who said someone got shot,” Jaramillo said.
He hasn’t heard of a shooting in the neighborhood in the four years he’s lived there.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

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$30,000 in sound equipment stolen from trailer of Monrovia nonprofit in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — Police are seeking a thief or thieves who stole $30,000 worth of sound equipment from the trailer of a Monrovia-based nonprofit children’s theater company as it was parked in Irwindale earlier this week.
The trailer was discovered missing from the 15500 block of Arrow Highway Monday morning, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said. The theft was believed to have taken place between 5:45 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2.
Inside the trailer was sound equipment belonging to Center Stage, a nonprofit theater company that teaches children to sing, dance and act, the sergeant said.
“The sound equipment consisted of microphones, handheld transmitters, power antennas, mixers and other sound equipment,” Zendejas said.
The trailer was found the following day in the city of El Monte, however the equipment was missing, he said.
Anyone with information regarding the theft was asked to contact Irwindale police Detective Jose Vargas at 626-430-2290.

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Halloween raid in El Monte netted 1,000 marijuana plants, ecstasy, four arrests

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EL MONTE — Sheriff’s investigators Friday announced the arrest of four suspects and the seizure of more than 1,000 marijuana plants, ecstasy pills and “Mollies” on Halloween, when deputies went trick-or-treating armed with a search warrant at four El Monte homes.
The raids took place Oct. 31 at four homes located on the same lot in the 12400 block of Magnolia Street, just east of Durfee Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Christopher Nee said.
Sheriff’s narcotics detectives assigned to the sheriff’s Temple Station spearheaded the bust, which was originally intended to target only two homes, Sgt. Sherif Morsi said in a written statement.
1109_NWS_SGT-L-EMMARIJUANA2“During the service of the warrant, narcotics detectives were able to identify the two additional adjacent residences as also being involved in the marijuana cultivation operation,” Morse said. “All four residences are located on the same lot, which is within two city blocks of Mountain View High School.”
More than 1,000 pot plants and cultivation equipment, valued at about half a million dollars, were seized from the four homes, officials said.
The suspects were living in one of the homes, and growing their illicit crop in the other three, Nee said.
Investigators also found a “sizeable quantity” of both ecstasy pills and “Mollies” — a methamphetamine derivative, Morsi said.
Four suspects, described as Asian men and suspected gang members, were arrested during the bust, the sergeant said.
Their names were not released Friday as the investigation continued, Nee said.
“It is estimated that this size of an operation could produce over $6 million worth of marijuana per year,” Morsi said.
Additionally, the suspects are accused of stealing the electricity used for the grow operation from Southern California Edison, valued at about $200,000 during the 2013 calendar year.
Detectives declined to discuss further details of the case, and was unclear whether it was related to any other marijuana growing operations discovered by law enforcement officials in the San Gabriel Valley.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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UPDATED: El Monte woman and grandson who went missing during morning walk found safe in Pasadena

EL MONTE — A 68-year-old El Monte woman and her 18-month-old grandson who went missing during their morning walk Sunday morning were found safe in Pasadena Sunday night , authorities said.
Ying Wah Tan Jer and her grandson Bryant Tan were reported missing after going on a walk about 7 a.m. near their home in the 4400 block of La Madera Avenue, El Monte police Detective George Fierro said in a written statement.
Jer had the boy in a backpack carrier when she left their home for their routine walk, he said. They usually walk up and down La Madera Avenue before returning home.
“A few hours later, the parents of (Tan) became concerned that (Jer) and (Tan) had not returned home, so they drove around the neighborhood in an attempt to locate them, however they were not located,” Fierro said. “The parents then called the police to report them missing.”
Jer did not have a cell phone, and she left her wallet and identification at home, police said.
Police officers, detectives and Explorer scouts carried out a search for the missing woman and child, Fierro said.
The woman and child turned up unharmed in Pasadena about 8:30 p.m., however further circumstances of where they were found or how they ended up there were not immediately available.

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Four accused of helping El Monte rape suspect hide

Four people are accused of helping hide a gang member wanted for raping an El Monte convenience store employee.
El Monte Police Sgt. Roger Cobian said felony charges were filed Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court against Charlene Godinez, 39, of La Puente, John Godinez, 41, of La Puente, Lisa Beserra, 45, of El Monte and Mario Chavez, 43, Rowland Heights for allegedly assisting Joseph Amaya to evade capture and prosecution.
Booking records show the four suspects were arrested Saturday by El Monte police. Charlene and John Godinez are out on bond. Beserra is being held at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on a $90,751 bail which includes bail for two other unrelated cases. The three have a Nov. 5 court date.
Chavez is in custody at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles and his bail is $50,000. His booking slip doesn’t show the date for his next court appearance.
Detectives may seek charges against others believed to have helped hide Amaya for the week following the Oct. 19 rape of a 19-year-old woman in El Monte, according to Cobian.
Prosecutors alleged Amaya was at the mini mart in the 4100 block of Peck Road earlier and left. He returned while the employee was getting ready to close the store.
The woman tried to lock the doors but he allegedly forced his way in. Amaya allegedly barricaded the doors, dragged the woman to the back of the business and sexually assaulted her, authorities said.
Detectives searched for the 18-year-old suspect.
“Amaya had been hiding with family and friends moving from El Monte to La Puente and Hacienda Heights,” Cobian said.
He was arrested in West Covina on Saturday after a traffic stop. Cobian said Amaya was in a vehicle with six adults and one minor.
Amaya remains in custody on $5 million bail. His Wednesday arraignment at Pomona Superior Court was continued to Nov. 13, court officials said.

- Ruby Gonzales

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