LOS ANGELES >> A former Rosemead woman received a sentence of more than four years in federal prison Tuesday for trafficking in counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes and Viagra pills, authorities said.
Su Qin Yang, 45, lived in Rosemead prior to fleeing to China in 2012, as the criminal investigation into her gained momentum, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. She is also known as Lily or Anita Chang.
She pleaded guilty in May to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, “and admitted in her plea agreement that she trafficked in almost 4 million counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes and almost 4,000 counterfeit Viagra pills,” according to the statement.
United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow sentenced Yang to 57 months in federal prison, officials said.
“The government is advised that after defendant’s arrest, the illegal sale of counterfeit cigarettes in the Los Angeles area decreased dramatically,” prosecutors noted in a legal brief.
Investigators seized the bogus goods from Yang’s home and storage facilities in the summer of 2012.
She fled to China after the search warrants were served, but before a federal grand jury returned a 16-count indictment in August of 2013, Mrozek said. She returned to the U.S. in January. In addition to the cigarettes and pills, officials also seized about $440,000 in alleged ill-gotten profits.
While in the process of negotiating with prosecutors in 2012 regarding a plea deal, Yang and her husband fled to China, leaving their minor children behind, according to Mrozek.
“Thereafter, (Yang) arranged for minor children to be transported to Washington state and then flown to China, attempting to smuggle over $300,000 in additional cash with them,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
Yang’s husband, Antonio Limbeek, remains a fugitive and is believed to be Indonesia, officials said.
The investigation was triggered after Phillip Morris USA, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, notified authorities of the counterfeit cigarette trafficking, Mrozek said. In addition to her prison term, Yang was ordered to pay $308,894 in restitution to Phillip Morris USA. The company has arranged for the funds to be given to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
ROSEMEAD >> A man robbed a bank along Valley Boulevard in Rosemead Tuesday, officials said.
The crime took place shortly before 11 a.m. at the Pacific Alliance Bank, 8400 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ernest Bille said.
The lone suspect entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash, the lieutenant said. He motioned as if he had a gun, though none was seen.
After obtaining cash from the teller, the robber fled the bank, Bille said. A detailed suspect description was not available.
No injuries were reported.
Investigators from the sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau and crime lab responded to the scene, along with the FBI, Bille said.
ROSEMEAD >> A jury convicted a man of murder and other charges Thursday for a drunken driving crash that claimed the life of an Temple City woman and seriously injured her husband on a 10 Freeway offramp in Rosemead last year, officials said.
The Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for one day before finding Juan G. Rios, 25, of Perris, guilty of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving, driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent and hit-and-run, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. Jurors also found true the special allegation that Rios inflicted great bodily injury.
He was behind the wheel of a Honda Civic that collided with a Toyota Camry about 11:15 p.m. Nov. 7 on the Rosemead Boulevard offramp of the eastbound 10 Freeway, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Rios lost control of the Civic and crashed into the Camry which contained 58-year-old Kit Ching Leung of Temple City and her husband, according to the CHP. Both cars went down an embankment.
Leung, who was a passenger in the Camry, succumbed to her injuries at a hospital, CHP Officer Doris Peniche said. Her husband, who was driving the Camry, suffered serious injuries.
Rios ran from the crash scene but was quickly found and arrested.
Rios faces up to 24 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 3.
ROSEMEAD >> Two masked men, one of them toting a shotgun, carried out a robbery at a Rosemead auto parts store late Friday, officials said.
The heist unfolded just before 9 p.m. at AutoZone, at Temple City and Valley boulevards, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reyes said.
The men demanded money from the store’s register, as well as an employee’s wallet, he said.
Initial reports from the scene indicated tools were also stolen in the heist.
The robbers were last seen running south form the store toward Valley Boulevard. No getaway car was seen.
Deputies conducted a lengthy search following the robbery but did not find the culprits, officials said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
ROSEMEAD >> A man fatally shot another man in a Rosemead residential neighborhood late Tuesday, then turned the gun on himself when confronted by deputies minutes later, officials said.
The suspected murder-suicide took place about 11 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Abi Ben-Sahile said.
A man in his 30s shot another man, estimated to be 30 years old, with a handgun in the driveway of a home in the 2700 block of Willard Avenue, the sergeant said.
“He was shot twice and pronounced dead at the scene,” he said. The shooter ran away.
Deputies responding to the scene found and confronted the alleged gunman just over a block to the south along Klingerman Street, Ben-Sahile said.
As they attempted to detain the gunman, “The suspect shot himself once in the head and was pronounced dead,” he said.
Officials described the suspect and victim as friends. It was unclear what led to the shooting.
Deputies sought no additional suspects as homicide investigators processed the scene early Wednesday morning, Ben-Sahile said.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
ROSEMEAD >> A man suffered major injuries Wednesday when a car he was repairing fell from a jack and crushed him, officials said.
The accident took place about 9:30 a.m. in front a of a home in the 3000 block of Jackson Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ray Garcia said.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to find sheriff’s deputies had already re-lifted the two-door BMW to free the man, estimated to be about 30 years old, the captains said.
He had suffered cuts to his head and possible crush injuries to his chest, Garcia. Paramedics took the badly injured man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment. An update on his condition was not available Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station were investigation the incident.
MONTEBELLO >> A fast-spreading brush fire possibly sparked by an arsonist scorched more than 25 acres in the Montebello Hills and neighboring Rosemead, jumping roads with ease and drawing a massive response from firefighters throughout the area, authorities said.
The fire, dubbed the Lincoln Fire, first ignited about 1:30 p.m. in the Rio Hondo Riverbed, near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir, Montebello Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Amador said.
The fire quickly expanded to the northwest and crossed Lincoln Avenue and scorched about 20 acres of an oil field spotted with oil wells and several structures used in service of the oil field, the chief said.
Buildings were threatened by the flames, but none had been lost, he said. “We’ve been protecting those structure.”
“It does look like the Montebello Hills are under control,” Amador said. “We still have significant hot spots that we’re going to have to work through the evening.”
The brush fire then jumped San Gabriel Boulevard, burning its way into the vegetation of Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park in an unincorporated county area near Rosemead, Amador said. It consumed another five or so acres there.
The flames threatened several outbuildings in the park, but none had been damaged late Sunday afternoon, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher said.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter working to douse the flames from above made a “hard landing” at nearby Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier, Amador said.
Three people on board suffered possible neck and back injuries, but none that appeared to me major, Amador said.
Video footage from the scene showed the helicopter upright, with an item resembling a tail rotor lying beside it on the ground.
Further information regarding the helicopter’s emergency landing were not available.
Officials detained a person of interest, described only as a man, for questioning in connection with the Lincoln Fire, Amador said.
Further details regarding the cause of the fire or the person of interest were not available. Montebello police could not be reached for comment.
PHTOOS courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
SUNLAND >> A Rosemead woman died Thursday after her car crashed into a parked big rig alongside the 210 Freeway in Sunland, authorities said.
Valerie Lovio-Gonzales, 59, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:15 p.m. crash on the eastbound 210 Freeway, just east of Sunland Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
She was at the wheel of a 2012 Nissan Altima when it struck the rear of a 2015 Freightliner tractor-trailer that was stopped on the right shoulder, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement. The cause of the crash remained under investigation, however officials said alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Officer Fan of the CHP’s Altadena office at 626-296-8100.
ROSEMEAD >> Coroner’s officials have confirmed the death of a man who was found fatally shot inside a burning pickup truck was a suicide, as investigators initially suspected.
Paramedics pronounced the 53-year-old Rosemead man dead at the scene after he was pulled from parked and burning pickup truck early Saturday in the 8500 block of Olney Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. It was soon found that the unconscious man had also been shot in the chest. A gun was recovered from inside the truck.
Deputies suspected the death to be a suicide, but summoned investigators from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Los Angeles County Department of Coroner to assist in the investigation, Sgt. Steve Ruiz of the sheriff’s Temple Station said.
But an autopsy confirmed officials’ initial suspicion, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The man died from a gunshot wound to the chest, and the death was ruled a suicide, he said.
ROSEMEAD >> A man died after deputies pulled from a burning pickup truck with a gunshot wound to his chest early Saturday in what was initially being investigated as a suicide, officials said.
A witness called 9-1-1 about 5:50 a.m. to report a parked pickup truck was on fire with the engine running near a plant nursery in the 8500 block of Olney Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. Deputies arrived to find the front of the truck in flames.
Seeing a person inside the small truck, deputies pushed back the flames with their fire extinguishers, broke a window and pulled the man out, the sergeant said.
Paramedics soon arrived to treat the man and discovered he had a gunshot wound to his chest, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation remained in its early stages, however all initial signs pointed to suicide, Ruiz said. A gun was found at the scene.
“Homicide and Arson-Explosives detectives are investigating the cause of the fire. They are not actively looking for a suspect,” according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana.
Anyone with information can reach the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.