INDUSTRY >> Deputies seized more than 16,000 marijuana plants, valued at more than $50 million, and arrested eight men while raiding two warehouses in Industry on Thursday morning, authorities said.
The bust took place about 9:30 a.m. at two separate warehouses in the 1100 block of Fullerton Road, just north of the 60 Freeway, Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Deputies began an investigation about two months ago based on a tip of possible illegal activity going on inside the warehouses, Schrader said.
Investigators from the sheriff’ Special Assignment Team obtained a two-location search warrant for the two warehouses. They showed up to serve the warrants Thursday morning.
“A sophisticated indoor marijuana grow operation was discovered at both locations,” Schrader said.
“There were over 16,000 marijuana plants seized,” she said. “The street value of the marijuana seized is over $50 million.”
Eight men were arrested during the raids on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, officials said.
They were described as residents of San Gabriel and Rowland Heights between 35 and 50 years old, according to Schrader. Detectives withheld their identities Thursday as they continued following investigative leads.
No money or weapons were seized during the raid, Schrader added.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Industry Station at 626-330-3322. Tups may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
The raid was the second high-value marijuana bust reported in the central San Gabriel Valley since Tuesday.
El Monte police investigators, originally seeking a stolen Lexus, discovered a concentrated marijuana, or “honey oil” lab on Tuesday in the 14700 block of Horticultural Drive in neighboring Hacienda Heights. Investigators seized $1.8 million worth of marijuana and concentrated marijuana products and arrested five men.
The two busts occurred about 7 miles away from one another. Sheriff’s officials released no information regarding whether the two investigations may be related.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
SAN GABRIEL >> Police are investigating a reported home-invasion robbery in which a resident was tied up in San Gabriel early Friday morning.
The crime was reported about 1:30 p.m. at a home in the 1900 block of South Denton Avenue, according to San Gabriel police Sgt. Rebecca Gomez.
A resident of the home, a man in his 30s, and a Monterey Park woman in her 40s who was visiting were inside the home when the woman’s boyfriend, a Paramount man in his 30s, arrived to pick her up, she said.
Two male attacker followed the boyfriend as he approached the house, Lt. Brian Kott said in a written statement.
“The two males allegedly forced their way through the front door and bound one of the three victims,” Kott said.
Gomez said the male resident was tied up in his home, but not the other two victims.
“The suspects subsequently fled the location with miscellaneous stolen property,” Kott said. “However, the circumstances have not been confirmed and are still under investigation.”
No injuries were reported, police said.
No further description of the robbers was available.
Anyone with information can reach San Gabriel police at 626-208-2828. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
EAST PASADENA >> Authorities have identified a San Gabriel man who died after his car struck a traffic signal pole at an East Pasadena intersection on Friday.
Hector Gregorio Araujo, 39, died in the 11:40 a.m. crash at Huntington and Sunny Slope drives in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Joyce Kato said.
He was at the wheel of a 2009 Pontiac headed west on Huntington Drive in the fast lane prior to the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
“For reasons that are still under investigation, (Araujo) made an unsafe turning movement to the left where the front of his Pontiac collided with a metal pole at the west edge of the intersection,” according to the statement.
Paramedics pronounced Araujo, the sole occupant of the car, dead at the scene, officials said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Mohun of the CHP’s Altadena-area office at 626) 296-8100.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police arrested a Rosemead man, with help from a K-9, after he led them on a lengthy pursuit on Saturday morning, officials said.
Leonel Cordova, 43, was expected to be booked on suspicion of evading police, resisting or obstructing officers and an outstanding warrant stemming from a drug-related case, San Gabriel police Sgt. Rebecca Gomez said. He was being treated at a hospital for dog bite wounds to his arm on Saturday afternoon before being taken to jail.
The chase began after officers tried to pull over Cordova for a routine traffic violation in the area of San Gabriel Boulevard and Marshall Street, the sergeant said. Cordoza refused to pull over, initiating a pursuit.
The pickup truck got into the westbound 10 Freeway, then the southbound 710 Freeway, Gomez said. The driver briefly stopped at the 3rd Street offramp of the 710 Freeway, but then accelerated away and resumed the chase.
Cordova ultimately made his way to the Calvary Cemetery, 4201 Whittier Blvd. in Los Angeles, according to Gomez. He exited his car, but refused numerous police orders to surrender, both in English and in Spanish.
Officers ultimately used a police K-9 to subdue Cordova before taking him into custody, she said.
The pickup truck is registered to Cordova, Gomez said. Police planned to have a blood sample examined to determine whether he was under the influence of any substances.
SAN GABRIEL >> A man shot and killed his mother before turning the gun on himself in a San Gabriel apartment on Saturday night, authorities said.
The suspected murder-suicide was first reported at 10:08 p.m. inside an apartment in a large apartment complex on a residential cul-de-sac in the 1300 block of Stevens Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials, who are assisting San Gabriel police in the investigation.
Police responded to the home after receiving a report of “shots fired,” Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Officers found a man and woman suffering from gunshot wounds inside the apartment, officials said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Homicide detectives determined the man, described as 49 years old, fatally shot his mother before shooting himself, according to Alexander.
The identities of the woman and son were not available.
No further details were available early Sunday.
Anyone with information is urged to contact 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.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police will be screening drivers for sobriety and valid licenses during a checkpoint in San Gabriel on Friday night, officials said.
The checkpoint will take place fro 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement.
Over the past three years, 72 DUI-related collision have left one person dead and 25 others injured, police 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.
SOUTH SAN GABRIEL >> Deputies arrested a man and seized two pounds of methamphetamine and heroin while carrying out a search warrant Wednesday morning in South San Gabriel, officials said.
The bust took place during the early-morning hours in a residential neighborhood in the 7800 block of La Merced Road in the unincorporated county area just outside of Rosemead, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies from the Rosemead Special Assignment Team seized about two pounds of methamphetamine, as well as a significant amount of heroin, Capt. David Flores said. The suspect is accused of possession of both substances for sales.
The man was arrested without a struggle, Flores said. Detectives withheld his identity Wednesday afternoon as they continued following investigative leads.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SAN GABRIEL >> Police arrested a Gabrielino High School assistant track coach and 1984 Olympic silver medalist on Friday suspicion of contacting a student with the intent of committing a sex crime, officials said.
Danny Lee Harris, 51 of Pasadena was arrested shortly after noon, according to San Gabriel Police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He has been relieved of his duties with the San Gabriel Unified School District as a walk-on coach since May 17, at the outset of the investigation, San Gabriel Police Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
The walk-on assistant track and field coach won a Silver Medal in the 400-meter hurdles during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and also famously ended the decade-long winning streak of Edwin Moses in 1987. He has been profiled many times for his struggles to overcome adversity and addiction in his rise to athletic fame, most recently in the 2016 documentary film “Crossing the Line.”
Harris is accused of contacting a female student at the school for the purpose of committing a sexual offense, San Gabriel police officials said in a written statement. The communications were in an electronic format, however, investigators declined to discuss the specifics of the case.
“The police department has been working closely with the San Gabriel Unified School District following a report of alleged inappropriate contacts between the walk-on athletic coach and a district student,” according to the police statement. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services was notified of the investigation.
Police took Harris into custody without a struggle, Nakamura said.
No further details were released Friday as the investigation continued, and investigators continued seeking any potential additional victims, Nakamura said.
“The school district and the police department are working together to ensure the safety of students remains of utmost importance,” the police statement said. “We will continue to work closely together as this issue moves forward.”
San Gabriel Unified School District officials were not available to comment on Friday.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Harris was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Anyone with information is urged to contact San Gabriel police at 626-308-2828. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
BOOKING PHOTO [ABOVE]: Courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department
RACE PHOTO [BELOW]: U.S. runner Danny Harris raises his fist in victory after he beat World recordman Edwin Hoses in a 400 meter hurdle race of an International Autonomous Region of Madrid Track and Field meet in Madrid, Spain on Thursday, June 4, 1987. This was the first time Moses lost in a decade. (AP Photo/Dominique Mollard)
ROSEMEAD >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 24-year-old man who died in a fiery solo-vehicle crash along Rosemead Boulevard in Rosemead last week.
Eric Salazar Cruz of San Gabriel died in the 12:40 a.m. crash on May 12 in the 4500 block of Rosemead Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
He was believed to be driving an SUV at “a high rate of speed” when he lost control and the SUV struck a wall, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John McClure said. The vehicle burst into flames and was fully engulfed when first responders arrived at the scene.
The crash remains under investigation, and Cruz’s cause of death was yet to be determined.
SAN GABRIEL >> A multi-agency task force checking up on felons who are on probation under the terms of AB 109 dismantled a child prostitution ring operating out of a San Gabriel motel on Thursday, officials said.
Three girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were rescued and three suspects were jailed following the bust, which took place about 1 p.m. at the New Century Inn, 1114 E. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel police Lt. Fabian Valdez said.
San Gabriel police had teamed with other neighboring police agencies that make up the San Gabriel Valley East AB 109 Task Force came upon the alleged human trafficking while conducting their periodic sweeps of convicted felons who are under the supervision of county probation under the terms of AB 109, also known as the California Public Safety Realignment of 2011.
While conducting a check on a probationers at the motel, officers encountered a man and determined he was on probation.
“They conducted additional investigation and discovered a human trafficking ring,” Valdez said.
The three teenage trafficking victims were found in two different rooms at the motel. Two additional suspects were also linked to the alleged child sex trafficking ring.
Arrested were James Thomas Gordley, 27, Tyrone Douglas Stevenson, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, whose name was withheld due to his age, according to San Gabriel police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police declined to release the suspects’ cities of residence, citing the ongoing investigation.
All three suspects were booked on suspicion of human trafficking.
Fabian commended the involved task force officers for their proactive police work, which led to the rescue of the three young victims and the apprehension of three suspects.
The two adult suspects were being held in lieu of $150,000 bail each pending their initial court appearances, records show.
The rescued teenagers were placed in the custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.