Police: Ex-con with handgun arrested in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Police arrested an ex-convict with a loaded handgun who ran from them in Pasadena late Saturday, officials said.
Two officers were on patrol about 6:40 p.m. when they noticed a man riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the street at Mentone Avenue and Hammond Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
As the officers approached the bicyclist, “he dumped his bike and tried to flee on foot,” he said.
But the officers quickly chased down the fleeing suspect, and found him in possession of a loaded revolver, according to the lieutenant.
Kameron Crabtree, 20, of Pasadena was arrested on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, Mercado said. Crabtree is on felony probation as a result of a juvenile criminal case.
According to county booking records, Crabtree was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.

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Pomona police seize 6 guns, 5 pounds of marijuana during raid; ex-con arrested

POMONA >> A police task force carried out a raid at a Pomona home Friday, resulting in the seizure of six guns, 500 rounds of ammunition and five pounds of marijuana from a convicted felon.
Joseph Michael Cesena, 39, was boked on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm following his arrest, which took place shortly after noon at a home in the 2500 block of Cathy Avenue, Cpl. J Martinez of the Pomona Police Department’s Major Crimes Task Force said in a written statement.
“During the service of the warrant, Officers located six firearms in the residence in addition to over 500 live ammunition rounds (various calibers) and over five pounds of marijuana,” Martinez said.
The seized weapons included two pistols, a shotgun and three rifles.
San Bernardino Superior Court records show Cesena was convicted of felony domestic violence in 2011, and is therefore barred from possessing firearms or ammunition.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Cesena was released from custody Friday afternoon pending his initial court appearance after posting a $35,000 bond.
“It is the continued mission of the Major Crimes Task Force to seek out and apprehend individuals involved in gang and violent related criminal activity,” Martinez said. “The MCTF is dedicated to the safety of our citizens through the reduction of gang violence throughout our community by proactive and preventative enforcement.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the task force at 909-620-2148. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Authorities release list of 57 guns seized from Pasadena police lieutenant’s home; Weapons cache valued at more than $50K

PASADENA >> Federal authorities on Sunday released a list of 57 guns, value at more than $50,000, seized by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents from the Sierra Madre home of a Pasadena police lieutenant in February.
ATF and Pasadena police have released little information about the ongoing investigation, during which the lieutenant has been placed on administrative leave.
ATF agents were seen seizing numerous gun cases from the lieutenant’s home during the Feb. 16 raid, however no arrests have been made, and no details of the investigation made public.
But the U.S. Department of Justice posted a list Sunday of the weapons seized during the search Sunday as part of a national listing of property targeted by federal officials for forfeiture.
According to the document, the arsenal seized from the home of Lt. Vasken Gourdikian included 34 pistols, valued at about $27,900, 21 rifles or rifle receivers, valued at about $20,450, and two shotguns, valued at about $2,600.
The cache of weapons represented a wide variety of guns, ranging from inexpensive and small-caliber pistols to pricey and powerful tactical rifles.
Gourdikian formerly served as the police chief’s adjutant and department spokesperson.
The lieutenant and the Pasadena Police Department have repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation.
The head of the ATF’s Los Angeles-area field office issued an advisory to Southern California law enforcement agencies in late-March, caution of a growing trend of illegal weapons dealing by police officers.

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ATF warns of ‘growing trend’ of illegal gun dealing by cops

LOS ANGELES >> The head of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles has cautioned Southland police departments to watch out for the “growing trend” of law enforcement officers engaging in unlicensed, illegal firearms dealing.
In an advisory distributed to area police and sheriff’s departments and dated March 31, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF in Los Angeles Eric D. Harden warned the agency has learned of an “emerging problem” with respect to law enforcement officers buying and then reselling guns, in possible violation of federal firearms law. The involved guns include many which are considered “off-roster” under California law, meaning that they can be purchased only by law enforcement officers and are not available to the general public.
“Recently, ATF has discovered that some law enforcement officers who do not have a (Federal Firearms License) are purchasing ‘off roster’ firearms and reselling those firearms to non-law enforcement entities for a profit,” Harden wrote.
Some of the weapons have turned up at crime scenes.
“In some instances, ATF has discovered officers who purchased more than 100 “off roster” firearms that were subsequently transferred to non-law enforcement individuals,” Harden continued. “Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as “straw purchasing.”
Officials declined to provide details regarding the incidents described in the advisory.
ATF agents conducted a search at a Sierra Madre home of a Pasadena police lieutenant.
Officials reportedly seized numerous large gun cases from the home, however no arrests were made. Federal officials released no information about the raid, and Pasadena police have deferred to the ATF for comment.
ATF Spokeswoman Ginger Colburn said the agency could not discuss whether the February raid helped prompt the ATF advisory.
“As a matter of (Department of Justice) policy, ATF cannot comment on any ongoing investigation or confirm individuals involved,” she said.
The lieutenant remains on paid leave pending the investigation, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said. He declined to comment further.
The involved lieutenant has also declined to comment.
While individuals can sell personal firearms without a federal firearms license, anyone engaged in the business of firearms sales must obtain a federal license, ATF spokeswoman Ginger Colburn said.
Harden also noted in the letter that filling out paperwork while purchasing a firearm to indicate the weapon personal use while intending to sell it or otherwise give to someone else is also a federal crime for anyone, including law enforcement.
A conviction for dealing in firearms without a license carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Making a false statement to a Federal firearms licensee when acquiring a firearm carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Harden’s advisory described the issue as a “growing trend.”
“ATF believed education is the most effective way to stop the growing trend of law enforcement officials engaging in the business of unlicensed firearms dealings,” Harden said in the advisory.
“It is our goal to educate, not investigate, to ensure law enforcement officials comply with federal law in order to avoid unnecessary public embarrassment to themselves and your Department/Agency,” he said.
But he added, “When presented with compelling evidence of flagrant violations of federal firearms laws, ATF is obligated to conduct a criminal investigation.”

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Police: Whittier teen brandishes gun at man who confronted him for smoking marijuana at Alhambra Park

ALHAMBRA >> Police chased down and arrested a teenage boy from Whittier after he brandished a loaded, stolen handgun at a man who confronted him about smoking marijuana at Alhambra Park on Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Police responded to the park, 500 N. Palm Ave., about 2:35 p.m. after receiving a report of the incident, Alhambra police Cmdr. Jennifer Wiese said.
A man noticed the young suspect smoking marijuana at the park and confronted him about it, the commander said.
Undaunted, the teen lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband, according to Wiese.
The teen ran when officers arrived at the park, but was soon captured nearby, Wiese said. It appeared he surrendered once he realized police had brought a K-9 to the scene to aid in the apprehension.
The .40-caliber pistol the boy was carrying had a loaded, high-capacity magazine and had been reported stolen in 2012, Wiese said.
He was booked on suspicion of numerous weapons charges including possession of a stolen handgun, possession of a concealed handgun in public, possession of a loaded handgun in public, possession of a high-capacity magazine and possession of a handgun by a minor.
Wiese said the teen was also on pronation for robbery, and is accused of violating the terms of his supervision.
Although voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults in California last November, it remains illegal to use or possess for those under 21 years old, and smoking the plant in public remains prohibited.

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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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Routine traffic stop in Covina leads to discovery of assault weapons


COVINA >> A routine traffic stop in Covina late Thursday led to the seizure of two assault weapons, as well as the arrests of an Arcadia man and Glendora woman, officials said.
Officers recovered MAC-11 and MAC-12 machine pistols after pulling a car over shortly after 8 p.m. near Vincent Avenue and Arrow Highway, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
Police also recovered a small amount of methamphetamine and arrested the driver, 26-year-old Bryan Beljak of Arcadia, and passenger Amber Blakesley, 18, of Glendora, the lieutenant said.
An officer stopped a car for a traffic violation and noticed Beljak, a convicted felon, and Blakesley both appeared to be under the influence of drugs, Doonan said.
While searching the car, police found a MAC-11 9mm machine pistol and a MAC-12 .380-caliber machine pistol, Doonan said. Both are classified as illegal assault weapons in California.
Police also seized ammunition and two high-capacity magazines from the car, he said.
Beljak was jailed on suspicion of possession of assault weapons, being a felon in possession of firearms and being under the influence of a controlled substance, Doonan said. He was not booked for DUI as the investigation continued late Thursday.
Blakesley was booked on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Beljak was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, while Blakesley was expected to be released from custody with a citation, Doonan said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Convicted felons charged with ID theft, drug, gun crimes following arrest in Montebello


MONTEBELLO >>MONTEBELLO >> Prosecutors Tuesday charged two convicted felons who were released previously released early from jail as a result of Proposition 47 with new charges including drug-, gun- and identity theft-related crimes after a traffic stop in Montebello last week led to their arrests, authorities said.
David Castaneda, 33, faces charges of unauthorized use of another person’s identifying information, fraudulent possession of another persons identifying information, two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, possession of drugs for sales and possession of a firearm with drugs, according to Montebello police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Jonathan Gonzales, 29, is accused of unauthorized use of another person’s identifying information and fraudulent possession of another person’s identifying information, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Castaneda was already on parole for robbery and was being sought as an parolee-at-large, police said. Gonzales was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon.
“Both suspects were early release parolees as a result of Proposition 47,” according to the statement.
Montebello police pulled over a car containing the two men about 12:30 a.m. on March 3 in their city, officials said.
“Castaneda was found in possession of several credit cards not in his name. Several stolen and altered checks were also located inside the vehicle in the names of different victims,” according tot he statement.”
“Gonzalez was found in possession of approximately 20 credit cards, drivers’ licenses, health insurance cards and credit receipts not in his name,” the statement continued.
Both men were arrested on suspicion of identity theft-related crimes.
A search of Castaneda’s South Gat home the follow day yielded two handguns, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, marijuana and property believed to have been obtained “through fraudulent means,” according to the statement.
Castaneda and Gonzales were each being held without bail, records show. Castaneda was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court March 10, while Gonzalez was scheduled to appear in the same court March 18.

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Alhambra police capture escaped Pennsylvania convict and recover stolen car, phony credit cards, handgun, $13,000 in cash

ALHAMBRA >> An automated license plate reader helped Alhambra police capture an escaped fugitive from Pennsylvania and a second man found riding in a stolen SUV with phony credit cards, $13,000 in cash and a loaded .45-caliber handgun Friday, authorities said.
A police officer was patrolling about 11 a.m. along Garfield Avenue, just south of Valley Boulevard, when an automated license plate reader mounted on his patrol car notified him it had detected a stolen car, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said.
The officer called for backup in preparation to pull the 2016 Ford Flex over, but before he could do so, the SUV rounded a corner and pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant and Valley Boulevard and 2nd Street, the sergeant said.
Police detained the driver, 46-year-old Ronald Bang of Pasadena, and passenger, 64-year-old Robert Richard Zgurzec, without a struggle, Johnson said.
“We searched the car. We found a loaded .45-caliber semi-auto handgun,”Johnson said.
Police also recovered a back containing more than $13,000 in cash, he said.
“As they keep searching, they’re finding different IDs, different debit and credit cards,” Johnson said. The documents were in the names of other people.
The SUV itself had been reported stolen last month in the Victorville area, Sgt. Joseph Mallette said.
Police soon learned that authorities in Pennsylvania had been seeking Zgurzec since “on or about Feb. 3,” when he escaped from a halfway house while serving a sentence for wire fraud, Johnson said.
Zgurzec was booked on suspicion of auto theft, possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards and being a felon in possession of a gun, officials said. Authorities in Pennsylvania have issued a “no bail” warrant for Zgurzec’s arrest.
Bang was booked on suspicion of auto theft and possession of fraudulent credit and debit cards, officials said.
Alhambra police were working with the U.S. Marshal’s service to determine whether Zgurzec would be returned to Pennsylvania before or after facing charges in California, Johnson said.
Bang was being held at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail in lieu of $25,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, while Zgurzec was transferred to a Los Angeles jail facility due to a pre-existing medical problem, he said. Zgurzec was being held without bail.

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Police: Felon found in possession of assault rifle, sawed off shotgun, handgun, ammo, drugs in Whittier


WHITTIER >> What began as a routine traffic accident investigation earlier this week ended with police arresting of the involved drivers, a convicted felon, after finding an AK-47-style rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a handgun and drugs in his car, authorities said.
Joshua David Fink, 38, was booked on suspicion of being convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of illegal weapons, possession of drugs while armed and existing warrants following his Wednesday morning arrest, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police responded to a two-car crash shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 15400 block of Whittier Boulevard, Whittier police Lt. Mike Przybyl said. Further details were not available regarding the collision itself, but it was not believed to involved any major injuries.
“As paramedics were treating one of the drivers, they noticed a handgun hidden in the car,” police said in a written statement. “Officers conducted a field investigation and recovered a handgun, assault rifle, sawed-off shotgun, ammunition and drugs from the vehicle.”
Fink appeared in Bellflower Superior Court Friday, where he was charged with seven gun- and drug-related crimes, court documents show. His arraignment hearing was postponed until Monday, officials said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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