Dead man was subject of West Covina federal drug probe

Federal agents and West Covina police had been conducting a drug investigation of a man when he was fatally shot Thursday by a West Covina police officer, authorities said Friday.

Emmanuel Alvarez, 27, was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a five pounds of methamphetamine in his car when two West Covina police officers stopped him on Azusa Avenue, just north of Merced Avenue, at about 3 p.m. Thursday, West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said.

Police said Alvarez was shot to death after he reached for a semiautomatic handgun.

“These were criminals that were going to go out in a blaze of glory,” Wills said. “They were all carrying semiautomatic guns and bulletproof vests.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the request of West Covina police, were conducting a joint investigation into Alvarez and the two other men riding in the car, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with ICE.

Authorities identified those two as Fred Beltran, 23, and the dead man’s brother, Juan Carlos Alvarez, 37.

Wills said Alvarez and the two men were being investigated for “a narcotics violation and possession of illegal narcotics.”

More gang members on ICE

A story that will appear in tomorrow’s Daily Bulletin notes that United States immigration officials arrested nearly 2000 gang members in 2008. Here’s the meat:

Authorities with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Friday that they arrested nearly 2,000 gang members and associates last year in a national anti-gang operation.

ICE officials said more than 850 of them have been prosecuted on state and federal charges, including re-entry after deportation and weapons violations. The remainder, who are considered foreign national gang members, have been placed in deportation proceedings, ICE officials said.

The arrests occurred in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Dirty ICE

The Department of Justice sent out a press release Thursday afternoon indicating they had arrested an attorney working for the agency and his wife for taking bribes from immigrants at least one of the bribes was $20,000. Nice.

Here’s the top of the release:

A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was arrested today after allegedly taking a $20,000 bribe from an immigrant seeking documentation to remain in the United States.

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas, 38, and his wife, Maria Kallas, 39, both of Alta Loma, were arrested this afternoon by special agents with ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They
were arrested at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, where they allegedly accepted a bribe payment from an immigrant.

The couple is expected to make their initial court appearance tomorrow afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.