Sacto 9-1-1

A sex offender sought by Idaho law enforcement authorities has been arrested at a Meadowview residence, where guns and drugs also were found, according to a U.S. Marshal's Service news release.

In May 2010, officials said, Mack Phanmaha, 39, failed to register as a sex offender in Idaho. He previously had been convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, according to the news release.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office in Idaho issued a probation warrant, and when Phanmaha fled his last known address in Boise, the U.S. Marshal's Service was asked to help locate and apprehend him.

Auburn police said the man being chased by police into downtown last night was eventually arrested.

Police said this morning that an Auburn Police Department officer recognized Neal John Bugnatto, 28, of Auburn about 10:45 p.m. on High Street near Cleveland Avenue. Police said that he was wanted and had an outstanding warrant.

During a short interview, police said that Bugnatto provided a false name and then ran away. A short chase ensued into downtown Auburn's central square area.

That's where police said they caught up with Bugnatto and arrested him. He was taken to Placer County Jail where police booked him on the outstanding warrant and suspicion of providing false information to a peace officer, resisting and possession of methamphetamine.

A Sacramento man has been convicted by a federal court jury of possessing oxycodone and marijuana with intent to distribute, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

Gabriel Johnson, 35, was convicted Friday, according to a department news release. The verdict was returned following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr.

According to testimony presented at the trial, Johnson possessed significant amounts of oxycodone and marijuana for sale at his apartment in midtown, the release states.

Three people were arrested early this morning after a home invasion robbery was reported at an Arden Arcade apartment.

Sacramento County sheriff's deputies responded at 4:20 a.m. to the robbery report at the Town and Country Garden Apartments in the 2900 block of Marconi Avenue. A man reported that his neighbor had been robbed at gunpoint in his apartment and that the suspects, a man and woman, had left the scene in a white Chevrolet. The victim was not injured, according to the Sheriff's Department news release.Voorhies.jpgWynne.jpgKohls.jpg

At 4:41 p.m., a deputy spotted a white Chevy Tahoe, which matched the description of the suspects' vehicle, traveling south on Howe Avenue near Hurley Way. Deputies stopped the vehicle and detained two men and a woman. They were identified as Lori Voorhies (above, left), 44, Robert Wynne (above, center), 22, and Richard Kohls (above, right), 30.

David Utley.bmpDonna Kesner.bmpSacramento police arrested two people Tuesday after officers serving a search warrant confiscated drugs, guns and cash at a Florin-area residence.

Members of the department's problem-oriented police team served a search warrant at 7 a.m. in the 9200 block of Wenlock Court. Inside, officers found a variety of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, hash and an ounce of methamphetamine. They also located 28 guns, including two assault rifles and stolen property taken in recent burglaries, according to a Police Department news release. The team began its investigation after receiving tips from the community regarding criminal activity by the suspects, police said.

Bee Metro Staff

It was a busy weekend for Sacramento's downtown police officers. Starting Saturday afternoon and moving into the wee hours Sunday, the officers of Central Command responded to the following incidents. These items are taken from the police blotter.

1:30 p.m., 13th and J streets: Man out of prison for two hours found with crack cocaine

Officers stopped a man for aggressive panhandling. He was acting nervous and wearing prison release clothing. Michael Milligan, 48, kept trying to leave as officers spoke to him. Officers determined that Milligan had just been released from prison two hours earlier. A parole search was conducted and officers located crack cocaine and a narcotic smoking pipe on him.

10:16 p.m., 1900 block of Seventh Street: Intoxicated man stabs himself with butter knife

Officers checked out a report of a man who was intoxicated, off his meds and stabbed himself. Officers located the man on the north side of a park with a butter knife sticking out of his abdomen. They took him to the hospital.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A mentally disturbed woman who drowned her 3-year-old daughter two years ago was sentenced today to a possible life-time placement in Napa State Hospital.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Marjorie Koller said that if doctors at the psychiatric facility ever find that Anul Malik Ram regains her sanity, the 34-year-old defendant will then be transferred to the state prison system to complete a 15-to-life term.

The dual sentences resulted from Ram's April 29 guilty plea to second-degree murder in the Nov. 15, 2009, drowning death of her daughter, Divya Ram, in the defendant's bathtub. Along with the guilty plea to the second-degree murder charge, Ram also claimed that she was not guilty by reason of insanity in the attempted murder of her then-7-year-old son.

At the time of the killing, Ram had been taking a variety of medications for schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and seizures.

The California Highway Patrol said a traffic stop on a speeding driver on Highway 50 turned up marijuana, hashish, cash and scales last night.

A CHP officer said he was driving the speed limit westbound on Highway 50 in West Sacramento about 9:30 p.m. when a vehicle came up from behind doing 85 mph. The officer made a traffic stop on the car and immediately got a whiff of what he believed was marijuana.

When the officer asked if the motorist had marijuana, he denied it. Not convinced, the officer searched the car.

According to a news release the officer found about two pounds of marijuana, 17 grams of hashish, $2,360 and a digital scale.

The officer then arrested the driver, Richard Michael Lombardi, 27, of San Pablo on suspicion of drug possession and possession of drugs for sale charges, according to the CHP.

KKilo showing off with Tim - - Roberta & Don.JPGilo, a black Labrador retriever with a nose trained to sniff out cocaine and crank, retired today.

The narcotics detection dog accepted a resolution honoring him with a back roll, left, on the rug in the chambers of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

"K-9 Kilo was a great asset to the probation department and an integral part of the gang and narcotic investigatory team," said Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer of the county's Probation Department..

Kilo began his career with Senior Deputy Probation Officer Tim Ruiz in the Crank Rock Impact project. In seven years, the pair was involved in 795 searches and 824 felony arrests. Kilo's keen sense of smell racked up some impressive confiscation numbers:

An Oak Park man has been sentenced in Sacramento to more than 24 years in federal prison for drug trafficking.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia today sentenced Edward Mallory, 45, to 24 years and four months in prison for his conviction on two counts of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and two counts of possessing crack cocaine for distribution, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. Mallory pleaded guilty on Feb. 11.

Between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 18, 2005, Mallory supplied large quantities of crack cocaine to a drug trafficker in and around Sacramento, according to court documents. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made controlled purchases of crack cocaine from the drug trafficker on six occasions.

Two Reno men have been arrested after allegedly carrying out a scam to steal items from Auburn's Home Depot.

Scott K. Nelson, 46, (bottom left) and C. Nicholas Psarras, 47, (bottom right) were booked into Placer County Jail on Sunday afternoon after loss prevention employees reported observing Nelson place his homemade UPC stickers over the store's UPC stickers on boxes in his cart. After ringing up his own purchases at the self-service register, Nelson exited the store and was confronted by employees, according to a Placer County Sheriff's Department news release.

Officials said he fought with the employees before being handcuffed and taken back to the store. It was determined that Nelson had paid $97 for items valued at $810, according to the news release.

Woodland police have arrested a suspect in the alleged drugging and attempted sexual assault of a homeless man.

Police reported detectives contacted a homeless Woodland man on April 8 who said he was given a beverage laced with something that rendered him unconscious. He was then taken to an "obscure" area in the 100 block of West Court Street where the victim told police he was possibly a victim of an attempted sexual assault.

After an investigation, police arrested another homeless Woodland man, 58-year-old Robert Talley, as a suspect. Talley was booked into Yolo County Jail on suspicion of torture, attempted forced sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

The Davis Police Department today released preliminary statistics showing that Picnic Day enforcement efforts resulted in 54 arrests and 207 citations Friday and Saturday.

Officers patrolling on foot, bicycle and in cars focused their attention on downtown Davis and neighborhoods that traditionally hold large house parties. The California highway Patrol and a countywide DUI enforcement team kept a lookout for drunken drivers, and California Alcohol Beverage Control agents were in town enforcing violations associated with alcohol consumption and sales, according to a Police Department news release.

Police officials in a written statement said they were not prepared to issue opinions on whether this year's Picnic Day was better or worse than last year, saying they would further analyze enforcement activities, and would seek comment from the community and other interested parties before offering conclusions.

The California Highway Patrol has arrested a man from Smartville who they say fell from a razor-wire topped fence when he tried to flee.

The CHP said they had been looking for Donald Harter Likens, 22, of Smartsville, Yuba County, for a number of vehicle thefts. He was also wanted for outstanding warrants in Yuba and Nevada counties.

An officer spotted him Saturday morning in Linda. After a short vehicle pursuit, Likens got out of his vehicle at a levee near Park Avenue. A foot chase began as other CHP and Yuba County Sheriff's deputies moved in.

A former Mexican attorney general from Baja California said today that legalization of marijuana in California would curb pot-related violence in Mexico but would do little to stop the overall killings and corruption of Mexican drug cartels.

Antonio Martinez, who served as attorney general for Northern Baja California from 2001 to 2007, told a McGeorge School of Law symposium on marijuana and legal issues, that sanctioning marijuana use in California would force cartel to increase other forms of drug trafficking.

"They still will be in the black market," Martinez said of Mexican drug networks. "And those individuals will shift into other sectors of organized crime. They will kidnap. They will steal ... They will go into cocaine, firearms and other things. For that merchandise (marijuana), violence will go down. But that doesn't mean it will stop."

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Citrus Heights police arrested three men Wednesday on suspicion of weapons and narcotics violations after SWAT teams served a search warrant at a residence in the 6100 block of Peoria Drive, according to a police department release.

The search was part of a weapons and narcotics investigation that began March 9, stemming from a traffic stop, according to the release.

Officers stopped Moe Kouri, 33, for a vehicle code violation and arrested him for several narcotics violations, the release states. As part of the investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for Kouri's residence.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Elk Grove man pleaded guilty today to importing counterfeit drugs from China.

Troy James Taylor, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court to the sale of counterfeit drugs with the intent to defraud, stemming from his illegal importation of counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Viagra and Cialis are two oral drugs approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Sacramento County Sheriff's investigators have removed methamphetamine-making materials from the Citrus Heights apartment of Charles Gilbert Demar III, who was detained Wednesday in connection with the killing of skinhead leader David Lynch and later arrested on unrelated charges, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Citrus Heights police served a warrant Thursday morning at the apartment in the 7700 block of Greenback Lane and discovered the materials, said Deputy Jason Ramos, sheriff's spokesman. Sheriff's investigators were called in, and they found undisclosed amounts of all materials needed to make methamphetamine, Ramos said.

Ramos could not confirm whether methamphetamine was found in the apartment.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Bay Area man has been convicted by a federal jury in Sacramento of conspiracy to grow marijuana and carrying a firearm in a drug trafficking offense.

The guilty verdict against Patricio Garcia Reyes, also known as Augustin Vasquez Garcia, 47, was returned Tuesday after a two-day trial before U.S. District judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

According to testimony presented at trial, Garcia Reyes was arrested Aug. 11, 2010, as he watered plants in a grow site with more than 5,000 plants in a remote area of the National Forest in Alpine County.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A 28-year-old Acampo man along with 12 other people, including two from Sacramento and one from Galt, were indicted Thursday on drug trafficking charges.

According to federal court documents, Alejandro Fletes-Lopez allegedly imported methamphetamine from Mexico and distributed it through a network of couriers to numerous states including Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon and California.

As part of the investigation, the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration and other state and federal agencies seized more than 90 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 30 kilograms of cocaine and more than $1.1 million in cash, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Police officers on routine patrol last night in South Sacramento tried to make a traffic stop but ended up in a vehicle chase, foot chase and finally arrested a man they said tossed his drugs over a fence.

The officers were driving just south of Florin Rod about 10 p.m. Thursday when they noticed a Toyota van being driven erratically on 24th Street near Gardendale Road, according to a Sacramento Police Department crime report.

The report gave this account:

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Peter Dietrich, a physician who was formerly director of medical services for the Sacramento County jail system, has pleaded guilty to four felony counts of using a fraudulent prescription to obtain hydrocodone for his personal use.

He also admitted to violation of probation for convictions in a previous felony case in which he had obtained oxycodone by fraudulent prescription, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Dietrich, 53, was sentenced to one year in custody and a suspended prison sentence of five years.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Five members of a Yuba City white supremacist gang have been arrested in connection with an unusual scheme to smuggle heroin into the Susanville State Prison, Attorney General Kamala Harris said today.

The five members of the "New Order" gang allegedly planted 1 gram of heroin onto the glue strips of envelopes, then mailed them to inmates inside the prison, Harris said.

Each heroin-laced envelope was valued at $500 inside the prison, more than five times its street value, Harris said.

folsom heroin suspects.JPG.1.JPG

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Folsom police say they are dealing with a large increase in heroin abuse in the area, with a spate of arrests and one death attributed to overdose so far this month.

Last Sunday, police were called out to investigate three suspected overdoses involving residents in their early to mid-20s, police said.

Two of the overdoses were believed to have been caused by heroin use, and one of the overdose victims died, police said.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Oak Park man has pleaded guilty to involvement in a crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

Edward Mallory, 45, of Sacramento, entered guilty pleas today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to two counts of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and two counts of possessing crack cocaine for distribution, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

The plea agreement calls for an agreed-upon sentence of 24 years and four months in federal prison, the release states.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Sacramento police have arrested a Luther Burbank High School teacher for allegedly possessing a prescription drug illegally.

Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said Devin Kelish, 34, was pulled over about 5 p.m. Thursday at Franklin Boulevard and Broadway for driving with an expired registration plate.

Officers searched the car and found a small amount of Oxycontin, a painkiller drug, but Kelish apparently did not have a prescription for it, Leong said.

By Bill Enfield
benfield@sacbee.com

A road-rage incident led to a fight between two motorists with the one who outweighed the other by 130 pounds getting the better of the fisticuffs until Sacramento County sheriff's deputies broke it up - and said they found illegal drugs on the winner.

Booked into Sacramento County jail on suspicion of possession of drugs was Enrique Barrientos, 41, a crime summary released this week states. Jail records show Barrientos also is being held on suspicion of possession of a loaded firearm. He has been denied bail.

The crime summary gives this chain of events:

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Two residences and a vehicle in Rancho Cordova neighborhood were struck by bullets Tuesday afternoon during an attempted marijuana sale, according to a crime summary released today.

The summary released by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, which provides police services for Rancho Cordova under a contract, gave this sequence of events:

Three young men in a vehicle approached three young men who were on bicycles shortly before 1:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Klamath River Drive.

By Rick Daysog
rdaysog@sacbee.com

Violent crime didn't take the day off on Christmas Eve.

Shortly after noontime, Sacramento police officers came to the aid of a motorist near 3rd and J streets who said his nephew who was a passenger had been shot.

Police said they found a large amount of marijuana in the car but the driver said he had a prescription for medical marijuana. The victim had non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital.

At 1:40 p.m., police responded to an attempted robbery at a gasoline station at the 1100 block of 43rd Avenue. A motorist said he was sitting in his car while filling up when two suspects allegedly demanded money by putting what he thought was a gun to his neck. The victim said he drove off without money being taken.

Police also were called to investigate a possible drug lab at an apartment complex at the 1600 block of Kathleen Avenue at 10 p.m. Friday. Police and fire officials didn't find a lab but discovered a small amount of crystal methamphetamine and two loaded guns.

One suspect fled the scene but was apprehended while another struggled with officers before he was taken into custody. A third suspect was taken into custody without incident.

Call The Bee's Rick Daysog, (916) 321-1207.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

milburn.jpgA part-time coach at Mesa Verde High School in Citrus Heights has been arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana and prescription drugs for sale.

Citrus Heights police arrested Nathanael Matthew Milburn (left), 36, Wednesday after serving a search warrant at his Citrus Heights residence.

Lt. Ray Bechler said police found large quantities of separately packaged Vicodin and more than six ounces of marijuana in ready-for-sale packages.

Trent Allen, a spokesman for the San Juan Unified School District, confirmed that Milburn coached girl's basketball at Mesa Verde High and had previously coached the freshman boy's football team.

Allen said the district had been advised of Milburn's arrest and that he is no longer employed at the school. Milburn was not a faculty member.

Because Milburn had considerable contact with students, Bechler said police are looking into whether he was selling prescription drugs or marijuana to students.

He said police detectives received tips regarding the possible drug activity about a week and a half ago. In addition to the drugs, officers seized Milburn's cell phone and are seeking to identify other people who may have been involved, Bechler said.

Milburn was booked into Sacramento County Jail on Wednesday. The jail's website indicated he was released today.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Mexican citizen has been sentenced to 27 years in a United States prison after pleading guilty to methamphetamine trafficking charges.

Francisco Miguel Angel Najera-Gordillo, 35, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia. Najera-Gordillo pleaded guilty Sept. 9, only days before he was scheduled for trial, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to documents filed with the court and statements made in open court, Najera-Gordillo offered to sell to a confidential informant approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine for $12,000 per pound.

On Sept. 2, 2005, Najera-Gordillo was arrested in an Elk Grove Wal-Mart parking lot with 1 pound of methamphetamine on his person and approximately 3.2 kilograms of methamphetamine in a nearby car. Najera-Gordillo originally pleaded guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison. He appealed based on ineffective assistance by his original defense attorney, and his conviction was reversed.

Because of his past criminal convictions for crimes that included first-degree burglary and assault on a police officer, Najera-Gordillo is considered a "career criminal" under United States Sentencing Guidelines, officials said.

At sentencing, Judge Garcia stated that there was "no reason to believe that the defendant would not continue returning illegally to the community to commit more crimes."

The case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Grad and Michael D. Anderson prosecuted the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Hospital officials contacted the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department last week to report they were treating a 20-year-old male patient with a gunshot wound to his testicle and his groin, according to authorities.

To add insult to one painful injury, the man told deputies he had been high on the drug GHB and couldn't remember a thing about the shooting - not who did it, where it happened or why, according to a crime report released this week.

The wounded man said he woke up on the Rio Linda bike trail, north of Rio Linda Boulevard, realized he had been shot and got a ride to the hospital.

All the victim could tell deputies was that he had taken the drug while hanging out with friends at Rio Linda's Depot Park, said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

Deputies searched the area where he said he woke up, but found no evidence of a shooting, Curran said. And without any further information from the victim, deputies have been unable to identify or arrest a suspect, Curran said.

The man was treated for his injuries and released.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Bee Staff

clip_image002.JPGA 23-year-old Rancho Cordova woman allegedly tried to pose as doctor's secretary and obtain a prescription painkiller at a Folsom pharmacy, police said

Christina Thompson (left), 23, was arrested when she arrived at the pharmacy Tuesday to pick up the pills, according to a Folsom Police Department news release.

Thompson is being held in the Sacramento County jail on no bail, records show. She was on probation after pleading no contest to a prescription forgery charge in December, Sacramento Superior Court records show.

Thompson allegedly posed as a doctor's secretary and phoned in a prescription for prescription painkiller Norco, police said. She gave the pharmacy a false patient name and then tried to pick up 60 Norco pills the same day, police said.

However, the pharmacy manager called the doctor to verify the order, who said the order was false.

When Thompson arrived at the pharmacy, she met by investigators from the Folsom Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau, who arrested her.

Thompson has an extensive history of committing the same offense, police said. She has used more than eight aliases to commit crimes on multiple occasions, police said.

When arrested, Thompson was in possession of methamphetamine, a pipe, one counterfeit $20 bill and one counterfeit $10 bill, police said.

"The hold diverted prescription opiates have on addicts is terrifying," said Sgt. Eric Heichlinger. "Nothing, not people, nor criminal law, will stand in between them and their addiction. As we've seen in recent weeks in the Sacramento region, the problem is growing exponentially. Hopefully the teamwork we've showed between the doctor, the pharmacy, and police will slow this trend."

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Folsom Prison correctional officer is suspected of buying a drug with a phony doctor's prescription.

Billy Joe Humphries, 37, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Folsom Police. Police said he tried to use a prescription slip with a forged doctor's signature for OxyContin at a pharmacy on East Bidwell Street in Folsom.

The pharmacist alerted police who took arrested Humphries into custody outside the store when he exited.

OxyContin is a highly addictive narcotic that doctors prescribe to treat chronic pain.

Humphries told investigators he became addicted to the drug after it was prescribed for a work-related injury, police said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bee Staff

A Yolo Superior Court Jury has found two men guilty in connection with a methamphetamine trafficking operation, the district attorney said in a news release.

DA Jeff Reisig said the specific convictions were:

- Thomas Leroy Kemnitz, 50, of Woodland for possessing, sales and transportation of methamphetamine.

- Pedro Omar Delatorre, 33, of Dixon for possession of methamphetamine for sale and being armed with a firearm.

The drug operation operated between Woodland and Dixon from April of 2009 through August 2009, Reisig said.

During a four month investigation conducted by the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team Kemnitz sold more than a quarter pound of methamphetamine.

On Aug 13, agents searched four locations in Yolo and Solano Counties and found Delatorre in possession of almost a half pound of methamphetamine and two firearms at his home in Dixon. Kemnitz was found with one ounce of methamphetamine in his vehicle, and one-quarter of an ounce of methamphetamine at his home in Woodland, Reisig said.

The investigation involved more than 30 officers from multiple agencies including the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Dixon Police Department, the Solano County Sheriff's Department, and agents from the Solano County drug task force.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Kemnitz faces a potential sentence of 17 years eight months in state prison. Delatorre faces a potential sentence of eight years in prison.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A man described by federal officials as the head of a Mexican drug trafficking family has been sentenced in Sacramento to more than 23 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. today sentenced Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, 39, of Apatzingan, Mexico, to 23 years and four months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Ruiz-Bravo pleaded guilty June 24.

According to court documents in a separate matter, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in March 2003 discovered an active methamphetamine laboratory in the Tehama County town of Corning. The agents arrested seven people and seized approximately 36 pounds of methamphetamine.

These individuals had been observed traveling in three different vehicles, all registered in names that were aliases used by Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, who was believed to be in Mexico at the time of the arrests, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

One of the people arrested was the defendant's brother, Alejandro Ruiz-Bravo, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Agents continued their investigation into the Ruiz-Bravo organization, and in July 2004, they received authorization to install a wiretap in a phone used by Ruiz-Bravo's nephew, Jaime Ruiz-Estrella.

Intercepted calls showed that Miguel Ruiz-Bravo was controlling an active methamphetamine distribution business in Sacramento from his home in Mexico, primarily through instructions passed to his nephew Ruiz-Estrella and another brother, Gerardo Ruiz-Bravo, according to the news release.

On Aug. 1, 2004, agents seized 18 pounds of methamphetamine from Ruiz-Estrella. This seizure led to the arrest of 10 more people, including Ruiz Bravo's nephew and younger brother. Again, officials said, Miguel Ruiz-Bravo was in Mexico at the time of the arrests.

All the defendants pleaded guilty, and Jaime Ruiz-Estrella and Gerardo Ruiz-Bravo were sentenced to 188 months and 168 months, respectively.

On Aug. 24, 2005, an indictment charged Miguel Ruiz-Bravo with directing the delivery of 18 pounds of methamphetamine seized from his nephew.

Miguel Ruiz-Bravo was arrested on Dec. 15, 2006 by state authorities with five other people, including another brother, Omar Ruiz-Bravo.

The state charged Miguel Ruiz-Bravo with possessing approximately 80 pounds of methamphetamine. He subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Sacramento Superior Court to 17 years in prison. Following his sentencing, he was transferred to federal custody for prosecution.

Officials said the case resulted from extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S Attorney Philip Ferrari prosecuted the case.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Queenie Wong
qwong@sacbee.com

A 19-year-old Roseville man was arrested for illegal drug possession early this morning after a neighbor alerted police about a possible car burglary near his house, according to police officials.

Michael Dean Castro was arrested by the Rocklin Police Department for possession of narcotics, possession of medication without a prescription, and possession of marijuana in access of 28.5 grams.

Rocklin police officers arrived at the 2700 block of Genesee Drive at around 3:06 a.m. after receiving a report of a possible car burglary. The neighbor, who saw Castro looking in a car, pointed out where he had last seen the suspect to the officers. After searching the area, officers found the Castro hiding in the bushes. Prescription medicine, which was not prescribed to Castro, and marijuana were found on the suspect.

He was booked into Placer County Jail and is being held on $10,000 bail.

Call The Bee's Queenie Wong, (916) 321-1008.

By Bee Staff

An industrial-size toilet would be needed to flush the amount of marijuana that Sacramento sheriff's deputies said they found beside an apartment's commode, according to crime summaries released this week.

The summary outlines this series of events:

At about 12:30 p.m. Oct. 9, deputies had just made a warrant arrest in the 4400 block of Oakhollow Drive. One of the deputies went to the arrested subject's apartment to place some of his property inside.

The apartment door was unlocked. The deputy opened the door and announced "Sheriff's Department." He immediately smelled the strong odor of fresh marijuana.

But before he could step inside, the occupants slammed the door shut and locked it.

The deputies feared the drug was being flushed down the toilet, but they managed to locate a key and open the door.

Inside, they found a box in front of the toilet containing three one-gallon bags of "greed buds believed to be marijuana."

They also found a man and woman inside the apartment.

Frederick Reed, 38, was booked into jail on suspicion of four felonies related to drug possession and sales. He also is being held on no bail for alleged parole violation, jail records show.

The woman was arrested but later released.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

Roseville police arrested a woman who had been previously arrested with Ruben Cesar Salgado, the former California Highway Patrol officer who on Monday was sentenced to three years in prison.

Breaonna Ashley Nunes, 21, of Carmichael, was arrested just hours after Salgado, 37, pleaded no contest to a felony charge that he offered a confidential informant $10,000 to kill a witness in an earlier drug possession case he faced.

Nunes and Patrick Wayne Grady, 27, were arrested on an array of firearms and drug charges shortly after 4 p.m. in a parking lot of a hotel on Harding Boulevard, police said.

Here are the details, according to a Police Department news release:

Grady, a parolee who was carrying two loaded handguns, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and other related charges, possession of methamphetamine for sale and related drug charges, and parole violations. He is being held without bail in the Placer County jail.

Another handgun was found under the passenger's seat of the car. Nunes, the passenger, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm and related weapons charges, and possession of methamphetamine for sale and related drug charges. She is being held in the Placer County jail on $50,000 bail.

After the arrests, Roseville Police officers conducted a parole search of Grady's house in Sacramento and found additional firearms and ammunition, as well as a large quantity of stolen property. The suspected stolen property was turned over to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Nunes was arrested with Salgado in July, when Salgado was being charged with soliciting a murder for hire.

On Monday, Salgado also pleaded no contest to a felony charge of possessing drugs while carrying a firearm and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

nunes_breaonna_ashley.jpg

grady_patrick_wayne.jpg

Grady is pictured on the right; Nunes to the left. Photo credit: Roseville Police Department

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

The trial date has been set for Nov. 8 for former California Highway Patrol Officer Ruben Salgado in Placer County Superior Court. He is accused of trying to arrange a murder for hire.

Ruben Salgado.JPGSalgado (left) also faces gun and drug charges.

Today Salgado entered a "not guilty" plea to the consolidated set of charges, said Art Campos a spokesman for the Placer County District Attorney's Office.

With the trail set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 8, that last matters to settle are the courtroom and judge. Those questions should be answered at a trial assignment hearing Nov. 5.

The trial is expected about a week, officials said.

Salgado, a 12-year CHP veteran, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on May 11 in Rocklin after he allegedly paid a confidential informant $100 for 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine, according to a court brief filed by the Placer County district attorney.

At the time of his arrest, he had a semiautomatic pistol in his pants pocket and another on the front floorboard of his car, and was under the influence of methamphetamine, according to the court document.

The CHP reported that Salgado's employment with the agency ended June 30. He had been assigned to patrol duties in the Auburn area since January 2009.

Salgado pleaded not guilty to the drug and weapons charges and was free on $70,000 bail when he was arrested in the early morning hours of July 15 after allegedly offering another confidential informant $10,000 to murder the first informant, who is a witness in the case.

According to the court brief, the witness told a CHP investigator July 6 that she had heard through contacts that Salgado was "looking to take her out of the game."

An informant, who allegedly was solicited to arrange the murder, said Salgado stated that if the witness wasn't around, there would be no case against him.

According to the court brief, the informant told Salgado that the informant's brother had just been released from prison and could do the job.

When all three met in a parking lot on Richards Boulevard in Sacramento on July 14, Salgado allegedly gave details of how the murder was to occur, and discussed destruction of evidence and what to do with the witness's body.

The brief says Salgado told the individual who was to carry out the murder that he could provide a photo of the intended victim as early as July 19.

Salgado was arrested shortly after that conversation, according to the court document, and a search of his hotel room turned up a baggie of methamphetamine and a methamphetamine pipe.

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Residents on Saturday can bring their unwanted prescription drugs to three sites under the jurisdiction of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

The department is a partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration in a prescription drug take-back initiative that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft.

Officials said prescription drugs are often taken from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. In addition, some medicines are improperly disposed by flushing them down the toilet or tossing them in the trash.

Collection sites this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

-- Sheriff's Garfield station, 5510 Garfield Ave.

-- Sheriff's Florin Station, 7000 65th St.

-- Rancho Cordova Police Station, 10361 Rockingham Drive.

Sites will accept medicines in capsule or tablet form. Intravenous solutions, injectables and needles will not be accepted.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A young mother was booked into Placer County Jail on suspicion of child endangerment and drug charges after deputies found unclean conditions in her Auburn home.

jackson samantha m.jpgSamantha Jackson (left), 23, was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment and drug charges Saturday after deputies were called to her north Auburn apartment. An anonymous caller reported children were playing unattended outside and their mother was doing drugs.

Inside Jackson's apartment, deputies found what they described as extremely dirty conditions. The floor was covered with old food, clothes and garbage.

Deputies said the woman's 4-year-old son was "very thin" and his legs were covered with sores. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Her 4-month-old daughter was found strapped in a car seat in an upstairs bedroom. The baby's crib was filled with garbage, clothes and a lawn chair.

Her 2-year-old daughter was also in the home.

Inside the woman's apartment deputies allegedly found a drug kit containing syringes and a spoon with white substance that later tests revealed to be methamphetamine.

The children were placed released to Child Protective Services.

"The anonymous caller who reported this situation is a true hero," said Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Ausnow.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The attorney for former California Highway Patrol officer Ruben Salgado (left) asked in a Placer County Superior Court filing today for his client's preliminary hearing to be closed to the public.

Ruben Salgado[1].jpgSalgado's attorney presented a motion to the judge that asks that the public, including the news media, be banned from the preliminary hearing.

The judge did not rule on the matter, saying he would take up the matter Thursday morning before the preliminary hearing.

The hearing, which had been scheduled for today, was postponed until 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Department 44 in Roseville.

The motion presented by attorney Daniel A. Nicholson states that an open preliminary hearing with media coverage will preclude Salgado from getting a fair trial in Placer County.

Media coverage has already been intense, according to the document. News media has asked to take pictures of Salgado court proceedings and those requests have been granted over the objection of the defense, the motion states.

Prosecutor Doug Van Breeman said outside the courtroom that he will oppose the motion.

Salgado, 37, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he offered $10,000 to have someone murder a witness in an ongoing drug and weapons case.

Salgado, a 12-year CHP veteran, was arrested by the CHP on May 11 in Rocklin after he allegedly paid a confidential informant $100 for one-eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine, a court brief filed by the Placer County District Attorney's Office states.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

A federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted 10 people in four separate cases of marijuana growth operations on public land, according to a Thursday news release by United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner's office.

Authorities said the defendants operated large marijuana grows in three different counties. In all, agents found more than 36,000 plants being cultivated by the defendants.

More than 3,000 marijuana plants, each about 5 feet tall, were found on Bureau of Land Management lands south of Cache Creek in Yolo County in early August. Agents raided the marijuana gardens, many of which were connected by a common irrigation system, and arrested four Mexican nationals. They are Leodegario Gomez Juarez, 26; Jose Ivan Solorio, 24; Rodolfo Ochoa Aburto, 30; and Albaro Ochoa Aburto, 28.

Agents said they found Solorio, Rodolfo Ochoa Aburto, and Juarez with four loaded firearms inside a tent near the trail. Agents had to cut open the tent. Albaro Ochoa Aburto was in a different part of the garden. He tried to flee but was caught, authorities said.

More than 21,000 plants were eradicated and 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana were seized when authorities arrested Maximiano Gonzalez Almanzar, 58, for allegedly cultivating the plants in the Lassen National Forest.

In Plumas National Forest, law enforcement officers eradicated more than 5,000 plants and arrested Francisco Arellano-Rodriguez, 27, of San Jose. The indictment alleges that Arellano-Rodriguez cultivated at least 1,000 plants.

Agents seized a grow operation in the Rumsey Canyon area of Yolo County in July. The four people agents say are responsible were caught fleeing a central campsite surrounded by about 7,600 plants. Agents also found 29 pound of processed marijuana and about 60 pounds hanging from ropes to drive.

Authorities arrested Leonel Favela, 24; Justino Santos; 18, Benito Santos: 25, and Julian Gutierrez, 24; all Mexican nationals.

If convicted of the charges, all the defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a one-count indictment Thursday charging Jose Pelayo, 35, and Nemesio Reyna Ortega, 19, with cultivating 1,000 or more marijuana plants, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported today.

The indictment alleges that Pelayo and Ortega were growing marijuana on federal land in Tehama County on August 6, 2010, according to a news release.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by the United States Forest Service, Tehama County Sheriff's Office and California Department of Fish and Game.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

methbust.jpgLast week's bust of a Mexican-based drug trafficking operation appears to be the largest seizure of methamphetamine - more than 600 pounds - ever recorded in the country's history, according to authorities.

Flanked by local, state and federal authorities, Sacramento County sheriff's authorities marveled today at the magnitude of Thursday's bust, which culminated a year-long investigation that began with a street-level transaction in Sacramento.

The methamphetamine, discovered in various stages of production in a Gilroy home, is so concentrated that it could be diluted three- to four times before being sold on the street, said sheriff's Lt. Fred Links, commander of the department's multiagency task forces.

That would mean more than 2,500 pounds of diluted dope worth upward of $200 million on the street had the raid not occurred, he said.

"These are alarming numbers, I assure you," Links said.

Authorities arrested eight men, all Mexican nationals, in connection with the operation, which processed and distributed drugs supplied from Mexico throughout the United States, according to officials.

An average of $250,000 was sent back to ringleaders in Mexico daily. On one particularly lucrative day, $650,000 was sent, Links said.

The arrested men will be prosecuted in Sacramento, where the case began. They face life in prison based on the allegations, Links said.

"I tell you that is rewarding for me," he said.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

The last of six defendants involved in a narcotics distribution ring has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Travis Davis, 40, of Sacramento was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton for cocaine distribution. His prison term will be followed by five years of supervised release.

Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, distribution of more then 50 grams of crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute the narcotic.

Davis is the last of six defendants sentenced in connection with conspiracies to distribute crack cocaine in Marysville and Sacramento during 2006 and 2007, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Previously sentenced were Darence Lamont Jordan, 28, of Richmond, 14 years in prison; Ronnie James Williams Jr., aka "Big," 25, of Sacramento, 12 years in prison; Charles Demario Johnson, 31, of Marysville, more than nine years in prison; and Charles Gooden, aka "Charlie Hustle", 26, of Marysville, nine years in prison.

Aimee Lee Cox, 39, of Marysville was sentenced earlier to 18 months is prison and a three-year term of supervised release for a lesser charge of maintaining a drug-involved premises.

The cases resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Yuba-Sutter Narcotic Enforcement Team.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Sacramento firefighters discovered more than 200 marijuana plants growing in three rooms of a south Sacramento house after they extinguished a fire there Sunday night.

The fire was in a home on the 5900 block of Sawyer Circle near Franklin Boulevard and Calvine Road.

The fire appears to have been the result of an illegally bypassed utility meter, said Sacramento police, who placed responsibility on the home's occupants.

Bypassing house meters has been discovered in other indoor pot-growing operations. It is done so the high energy consumption of grow lamps is not revealed on utility bills.

Police have not identified suspects.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

KCRA: Fire reveals indoor pot farm

By Barbara Barte Osborn
Bee correspondent

Fourteen Grass Valley residents were arrested for investigation of drug and other charges Tuesday following an investigation and sting operation.

The arrests followed a search by Nevada County Sheriff's officers at a home in the 300 block of First Street in Grass Valley.

Blankenship Timothy.jpgThe search turned up approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, scales, packaging materials, morphine tablets, drug paraphernalia, $900 and a "Whizzinator," a device used to provide drug-free urine samples utilizing someone else's urine, according to a news release from Sheriff Keith Royal.

Arrested at the home for investigation of possession of a controlled substance and maintaining a residence for the use or sale of a controlled substance were Timothy Blankenship (top photo), 30; William Folden (bottom photo), 45; Christopher Wilson, 22, and Angelina Sinclair, 20.

Blankenship, Folden and Wilson were also arrested for investigation of possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Blankenship's arrest charges also included allegations of violation of probation and parole. Folden's included alleged violation of parole and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Folden William.jpgDuring the search of the apartment, both Blankenship's and Folden's cellular phones continued to ring, Royal said in the release.

Ten of the callers were subsequently arrested after they arrived at the home, allegedly to make drug purchases.

"Due to the search warrant allowing officers to answer phones, an undercover officer spoke to numerous subjects who wanted to purchase methamphetamine," Royal said.

Arrested for allegedly being under the influence of a controlled substance were Devon Howell, 22; Patricia Atkinson, 38; Kenneth Greer, 30; Steven Spreadbury, 42; Dirk Schriner, 30; Don Lewis, 44; Millington Hendren, 53; and Jack Pepple, 59.

Greer was also arrested for investigation of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Schriner's arrest charges included allegedly being out of compliance as a registered sex offender.

Lewis' charges additionally included allegedly being in possession of drug paraphernalia and destruction of evidence. Hendren also allegedly possessed drug paraphernalia.

Additionally, Donald Webb, 55, and April Heaton, 40, were arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment.

Webb's and Heaton's 14-year-old son was turned over to Child Protective Services after witnessing his parents purchase methamphetamine from an undercover officer, Royal said.

On Wednesday afternoon, nine of those arrested remained in custody at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Grass Valley and the others had been released on bail pending arraignment, said Donna Nelson of the Sheriff's Department.

Still in custody are Blankenship, Folden, Greer, Heaton, Lewis, Schriner, Sinclair, Webb and Wilson.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Residences in Elk Grove and the Sacramento area were among those searched by federal agents and police Wednesday in the culmination of a large-scale indoor marijuana grow investigation.

The investigation began in the Elk Grove area and led law enforcement to the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

The enforcement operation resulted in the service of 15 federal search warrants, the arrest of nine individuals and seizure of seven indoor marijuana growing operations and nearly 2,500 marijuana plants.

Officials said the indoor grows had the capacity to produce more than one ton of marijuana annually with an estimated street value of nearly $10 million.

The Elk Grove Police Department began the investigation and requested assistance from the DEA Sacramento District Office, Immigration Customs Enforcement and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.

On Wednesday, search warrants were served at residences in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Milpitas.

In Elk Grove, authorities seized 1,097 marijuana plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Balboa Park Way and 298 plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Starfish Way.

In addition, 98 marijuana plants were seized at a residence in the 7100 block of Lawnwood Drive in South Sacramento and 109 plants at a residence in the 8600 block of German Drive in the Florin area.

Agents also concluded that power theft was occurring at the residences.

Arrested Wednesday were Hung Ngoc Pham, 28, Cuong Thoi Long, 54, and Phuong Pham, 35, all of Sacramento; Nhung Thi Vu, 51, of San Francisco; Diep Hoang Vu, 38, Chien Minh Le, 41, and Thuy Thi Tran, 51, all of Oakland; Quoc Bui Long, 44, of San Jose; and Tuan Chu, 28, whose city of residence was not known, the release states.

All made their initial appearance in federal court in Sacramento today.

All the individuals face charges of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and knowingly maintaining a place for manufacturing.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The former medical director of the Sacramento County Jail is again suspected of writing an illegal prescription, according to Sacramento police.

1peter scott dietrich.jpg A Sacramento Police Department spokesman said that on Friday Peter Dietrich (booking photo left from last year's arrest) went to a pharmacy inside a Safeway in midtown to pick up a prescription and was arrested.

Pharmacy staff had been notified by state investigators that if Dietrich went to the store to get a prescription they were to notify police, which they did, the spokesman said.

Earlier in the day, police said, Dietrich had ordered a prescription for Vicodin, a narcotic pain reliever, for someone else. He indicated he would pick it up, police said.

Dietrich was arrested on suspicion of writing a fraudulent prescription, police said.

Dietrich has surrendered his license, according to the California Medical Board website.

Dietrich entered his no-contest plea last year on previous charges.

Dietrich was placed on probation for four years and ordered to serve 60 days with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department work project, according to an online court records. He was also ordered to perform 600 hours of community service.

State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agents arrested Dietrich on Jan. 14, 2009 after finding that he had been writing an unusually high number of prescriptions for OxyContin, a powerful, highly addictive painkiller. BNE agents suspected that Dietrich had been writing the illegal prescriptions for himself.

At the time, Dietrich had been in charge of medical operations at the downtown jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center for a year and a half.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Union City man is the latest of several people to be sentenced for their involvement in a large-scale conspiracy to distribute cocaine from Mexico to the Sacramento area.

Jose Maria Meza-Portillo, 44, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to 19 years and seven months in prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. He pleaded guilty Nov. 4, 2009.

During the investigation, federal agents learned that Meza-Portillo was directing the payment of money from the sales of cocaine back to the suppliers in Mexico. On Mary 3, 2006, officers stopped a vehicle they believed was carrying money bound for Mexico and discovered nearly $1 million in cash hidden inside, the news release said.

Co-conspirators previously sentenced in the case include:

• Luis Manuel Sanchez-Aceves, 29, of Richmond, sentenced on May 25 to 13 years in prison

• Cristobal Navarro, 46, of Richmond, sentenced June 2 to 12 years and seven months in prison

• Daniel Rosales, 26, or San Francisco, sentenced Sept. 29, 2009 to eight years in prison

• Darius Louis, 38, of Richmond, sentenced May 25 to four years in prison.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

An Auburn man was arrested today on suspicion of possessing and selling drugs, and possessing a dangerous weapon.

Kyle James Bird, 22, was observed conducting three drug sales to unknown individuals before selling Oxycontin to an undercover officer, according to an Auburn Police Department news release. The transaction occurred in the Auburn Town Center parking lot in the 300 block of Elm Avenue.

After Bird was arrested, investigators found that he possessed approximately 12 grams of cocaine with a street value of $600, 27 Oxycontin pills with a street value of $1,350, drug paraphernalia and a dangerous weapon, a dirk or dagger, police said.

Bird was booked into Placer County Jail.

The Placer County Special Investigations Unit, which includes an Auburn police investigator, has been working on a case in the Auburn area involving possession, possession for sales and transportation of cocaine and Oxycontin, and Bird's alleged transactions were observed as part of that investigation, the news release said.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A judge has denied a temporary restraining order sought by the City of Galt against a medical marijuana dispensary.

The City Council passed an ordinance last year prohibiting medical marijuana facilities. But last week the Galt Wellness Center marijuana dispensary opened at 520 Lincoln Way.

On Tuesday, the city filed for a temporary restraining order in Sacramento Superior Court, seeking the court's order for the shop to close.

City Manger Jason Behrmann said in an e-mail to The Bee that the judge noted that the issues are complicated and that the matter would be reconsidered in a few weeks.

"We are proceeding with this next step but a hearing date has not yet been set," he stated.

The council enacted the local law for public safety reasons, citing robberies at dispensaries in other cities.

However, Sacramento lawyer George Mull, lawyer for the dispensary, said the Galt law is unconstitutional and goes against Proposition 215, the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 1996.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Previous coverage:

Galt seeks shutdown of medical pot dispensary - May 26, 2010

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A Sacramento man is scheduled to be arraigned today in Solano Superior Court after deputies said they caught him with more than five pounds of methamphetamine.

Rene Munoz, 22, was arrested Tuesday when Solano County Sheriff's deputies stopped his truck for erratic driving on Interstate 80 near Dixon. Deputies said they found five plastic bags in the vehicle filled with methamphetamine worth an estimated $75,000.

Deputies also said they also found a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his waistband. Detectives were called in and later residences associated with Munoz were searched in West Sacramento and Sacramento.

"Detectives determined Munoz to be an upper-level methamphetamine dealer," stated a press release from the Solano County Sheriff's Office.

Munoz was booked into jail on multiple drug charges and bail was set at $250,000. Deputies said that Munoz will have to prove that any bail money posted to get out of jail is from a lawful source.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Two men have been arraigned in Yolo Superior Court on suspicion of growing marijuana and possessing a loaded rifle.

The men, Jose Prieto Rodriguez, 30, and Jose Rodriguez, 18, were arraigned Monday. They were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of maintaining a large marijuana growing operation near the town of Rumsey.

Both were booked into the Yolo County Jail. Both men have "immigration holds" on them from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 7 in Yolo County Superior Court.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Roseville barber who authorities say continued to commit crimes while on probation has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison after pleading guilty to selling cocaine out of the shop where he worked.

clip_image002.jpgbrockton.jpgDarin Durel Blockton (photo left), 24, was sentenced Friday by Placer Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry, who revoked Blockton's probation and fined him $5,000, according to a news release from the Placer County District Attorney's office.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Suzanne Gazzaniga said Blockton was placed on probation in Placer County in 2006 for transporting cocaine.

"While he was on probation, he continued to commit crimes in both Placer and Sacramento counties," Gazzaniga said in the news release.

Blockton received two additional grants of probation in Placer County and also was given probation in Sacramento County for participating in street gang activity, Gazzaniga said.

Last year, the Roseville Police Department received a tip that Blockton, a barber, was selling drugs out of his shop. He was placed under surveillance and on April 30, 2009, police observed a drug deal between Blockton and a man who drove into the shop's parking lot.

After the transaction, officers followed the car and later stopped the driver, who tossed a baggie of cocaine underneath the vehicle as he got out, Gazzaniga said. Blockton was found at the barbershop with $1,713 in cash.

Cell phone and text messages between Blockton and the driver indicated that the two had arranged a drug deal, Gazzaniga said.

She said Blockton could face additional incarceration for violating probation in Sacramento County.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Weapons, threats and shootings dominated the weekend in the city of Sacramento, where some victims successfully followed their assailants and called police for help and where others weren't so lucky.

The bloodiest incident began at 10:30 p.m. Saturday on the 3900 block of Haywood Street in the Del Paso Heights area where four people were shot in what started as a domestic disturbance between a man and a woman, according to the city police department's daily activity log.

Here's how it played out:

When the domestic disturbance began, a brother of the woman intervened, broke up the argument, then left and returned later with friends, police said.

One of the friends had a pistol, police said. A struggle began and the handgun went off.

By the time police arrived, a 24-year-old woman was laying in the street with a gunshot wound to her leg. A 22-year-old man had a gunshot wound to his chest. Two other women had gunshot wounds to a finger and a leg.

Police said the man with the chest wound was hospitalized and now faces weapons charges.

Citizen cops

Victims in two other incidents fared better after tracking suspects and calling police.

On the 2600 block of River Plaza Drive in Natomas, a motorist complained that another man brandished a handgun at him while driving at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The victim followed the suspect to his apartment complex where both coincidentally live.

He watched the alleged perpetrator park his own car when the suspect again allegedly brandished his handgun, police said.

The victim called police and gave them a description and license plate information.

When cops arrived, they arrested 57-year-old Ronald Fitzhugh.

In the other case, a woman in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo Bank in North Natomas complained that her car was hit by another vehicle whose driver kept going.

The victim in the 1 p.m. Saturday incident followed the other motorist to her home and then alerted police.

The responding officer discovered that the accused motorist actually had hit three different vehicles on her way out of the bank parking lot, police reported.

The woman was cited for misdemeanor hit and run.

Home invasion

Police also dealt with a home invasion, and in another case, a vehicle pursuit over the weekend.

Shortly before 1 a.m. today, occupants of an apartment in the 1200 block of U Street told police they were entertaining friends. But when the visitors left via the back door, the man was assaulted by three other men outside. He ran, and his female friend ran back inside the apartment, police said.

The three male suspects came into the apartment too. One had a gun, police said. Another had a knife. And they demanded money.

Authorities said they took cash and personal items before fleeing.

Car chase

Police said the vehicle pursuit incident began at 1:20 a.m. today in Oak Park with a large fight involving a gun being brandished in the 4900 block of 14th Avenue. The armed suspect climbed into a Tan Cutlass, police said.

A short while later, a vehicle matching the description was seen traveling north on Stockton Boulevard headed toward Broadway.

When police followed, the driver raced away, then fled on foot at Fairgrounds. He was arrested after a short chase, police said.

But a passenger in the vehicle slid into the driver's seat and continued fleeing. That driver turned off his headlights, driving south on 53rd Street, finally crashing into a fence and a tree at 14th Avenue.

Police arrested the two additional passengers in the car. And an officer and his K9 partner apprehended the second driver who was hiding in the engine compartment of a gutted out truck.

Bad karma

Finally, a 27-year-old man parked his car on the 2900 block of 38th Avenue shortly before 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police said the man intended to buy drugs and gave money to a friend who left to get the drugs for him.

While he waited, however, another man approached him, brandished a handgun and demanded his wallet

The victim handed over the wallet, police said, and the suspect walked away.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A woman arrested by Auburn police on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine is also accused of leaving her 2-year-old son with people who were under the influence of narcotics.

About 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, an Auburn police officer spotted a car with its lights on in a vacant lot near Palm Avenue and Auburn Ravine Road. The car was unoccupied, but damage indicated it had been involved in a collision.

There also were electronic devices in the vehicle that appeared to have been stolen, according to an Auburn Police Department news release.

The car's owner, 25-year-old Katherine Ennis-Sartain, told police that her boyfriend, Gregory Woodward, 26, had crashed her car after stealing it from the Motel 6 parking lot at 1891 Auburn Ravine Road.

Following an investigation, police arrested Ennis-Sartain on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

After her arrest, officers discovered that she had left her son at the motel with two people who were also under the influence of narcotics. When officers picked up the child, they said the room was filled with marijuana smoke.

Ennis-Sartain was also held on suspicion of child endangerment.

Police said investigators want to talk with Woodward about the incident, but they have not been able to locate him.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The California Highway Patrol has arrested one its own officers on drug and weapons charges after a two-month investigation.

Ruben Salgado.JPGCHP officer Ruben Cesar Salgado (photo left), a 12-year veteran, was taken into custody on six felony counts, including weapons and controlled substance charges. (Salgado's first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.)

Salgado, 37, was arrested Tuesday in Rocklin by the CHP and Placer County investigators. He was booked into Placer County Jail.

Salgado was also placed on administrative leave. A press conference with more details is planned for later today.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Two men have been convicted in a marijuana growing case that involved a gun battle last year between suspects and law enforcement officers in which one suspect was killed and two Lassen County sheriff's officers were wounded.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced Friday that a federal jury convicted Jose Alfredo Zepeda, 20, of East Palo Alto, and Clemente Ferrias Arroyo, 63, of Morgan Hill, of conspiring to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.

The charges stem from an investigation of a large outdoor marijuana garden on federal land in northern Lassen County by two Bureau of Land Management rangers, two Lassen County sheriff's officers and a Susanville police officer.

On June 16, 2009, the officers encountered three suspected marijuana growers. Suspect Juan Carlos Herrera-Chavez engaged the officers in a gun battle using an AK-47 rifle, a Department of Justice news release states. The two sheriff's deputies were wounded, and Herrera-Chavez was killed when officers returned fire, officials said. Both Lassen County sheriff's officers survived.

Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Herrera-Chavez, his brother-in-law, Zepeda, and Arroyo started the marijuana garden in May 2009, the release says. Herrera-Chavez carried an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle, Zepeda was armed with an SKS semiautomatic rifle, and Arroyo carried a Smith & Wesson 9 mm semiautomatic pistol to protect the growing operation.

Zepeda and Arroyo are scheduled for sentencing July 20 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. Each man faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $4 million fine and five years to life of supervised release on the marijuana charges, the news release states. The charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes carries an additional mandatory consecutive five-years-to-life sentence, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Seven Sacramento-area residents were arrested this week as a result of two indoor marijuana growing investigations by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Elk Grove Police Department.

The two-day enforcement operation resulted in seizure of six indoor operations, more than 4,300 plants, approximately $82,600 in U.S. currency and one vehicle, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

In November 2009, the Elk Grove Police Department and the DEA's Sacramento District Office identified a suspected marijuana cultivator, Tac Che, 50, of Sacramento. According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers learned of several residences with suspected indoor marijuana grows that were linked to Che. Based on the investigation, officers believed power theft was occurring at many of the grow sites.

Agents identified five other Sacramento residents as being involved in the growing operations: Bob An, 52, Cuong Hoang, 54; Lien Truong, 49; Kenny Lu, 22; and Julia Saechao, 22.

On Tuesday, federal search warrants were served at six Sacramento locations associated with the individuals: two in the 8200 block of Cliffe Way, one of which was occupied by Bob An; 1700 block of Highbridge Way; 100 block of Stone Valley Circle, residence of Kenny Lu and Julia Saechao; 8600 block of Prairiewoods Drive, residence of Tac Che; and 7900 block of Scottsdale Drive, residence of Cuong Hoang and Lien Truong.

Marijuana plants were seized at the Highbridge Way, Stone Valley Circle and Scottsdale Drive addresses, and one of the houses on Cliffe Way. Officials also confirmed that electricity was being bypassed at the Stone Valley Circle, Highbridge Way and one of the Cliffe Way sites.

All six individuals were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and knowingly maintaining a place for manufacturing. They appeared in Sacramento Federal Court on Wednesday.

The other investigation began in December 2009, when Elk Grove police and the DEA were conducting surveillance on a suspicious residence in Sacramento, the news release said. Officials identified Vinh Hoang, 44, of Sacramento as a suspected marijuana cultivator as well as multiple residences with which they believed he was associated.

On Wednesday, law enforcement officers served federal search warrants at homes in the 9200 block of Earl Fife Drive in Elk Grove, and the 5400 block of Elderdown Way and 7800 block of 51st Ave in Sacramento. The 51st Avenue address is believed to be Hoang's residence, according to the news release.

Marijuana plants were seized at the Elderdown Way and Earl Fife Drive addresses, and agents confirmed that electricity was bypassed at both sites.

Vinh Hoang was arrested without incident at the Elderdown Way residence, officials reported.

Hoang appeared in Sacramento Federal Court on Thursday. He was charged with manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants and maintaining a place to manufacture marijuana.

Law enforcement officials said they believe these indoor marijuana growing operations had the capacity to produce nearly 2 tons of marijuana annually, with an estimated street value of more than $17.9 million.

"The indoor cultivation of marijuana continues to pose a serious problem in the Sacramento region," Gordon Taylor, the DEA's assistant special agent in charge, said in the news release. "These people moved into our residential areas, set up illegal marijuana factories and endangered the lives of everyone in the neighborhood."

If convicted of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, the defendants face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years, a maximum prison term of life, and a fine of up to $4 million, according to the news release.

They could face a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted of maintaining a place to grow marijuana.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Three men forced their way into a South Land Park apartment late Wednesday night and ransacked the place, apparently searching for marijuana, according to Sacramento police.

Three people were inside the Riverside Boulevard apartment about 10:30 p.m. when one woman answered a knock at the front door, said Officer Konrad von Schoech.

Three masked men pushed her aside, entered the apartment and ordered the three victims to the ground, von Schoech said. One of the suspects asked if the occupants had marijuana, and when they said no, the suspects began searching the apartment.

They left with computer equipment and cell phones, von Schoech said.

Nobody was injured.

Victims were not able to give detailed descriptions of two suspects, but said one was 6 feet tall, weighed about 150 pounds and wore dark clothing, von Schoech said.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A father was arrested and three children were placed in protective custody Tuesday, after Sacramento police received a report shortly before 3 p.m. of a young child playing unsupervised near a busy intersection.

Officers went to the 1500 block of 23rd Street in the midtown.

Officers said they found the father was possibly under the influence of drugs, and arrested him on suspicion of child neglect, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to the Police Department's daily activity log.

Three children were placed in the custody of Child Protective Services,

No other details were available.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 773-6866.

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Foothill Farms man who shot and killed a teenager during what was supposed to be a marijuana transaction last year has pleaded no contest to a gun charge and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Terrell Davon Craig, 40, entered the plea Monday in Sacramento Superior Court to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, records show.

He had initially been booked for murder in the Oct. 10 shooting death of Joshua Scott Trahan-Mays, 17, in Foothill Farms. However, Craig was never charged with murder by the District Attorney's Office.

Sacramento court records show that Craig has a 1998 felon-with-a-gun conviction and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

He told The Bee in an interview that he has an additional conviction for shooting and killing a drug dealer when he was 17.

He entered his no-contest plea Monday in Judge Joseph Orr's courtroom just before the case was scheduled to be assigned for a preliminary hearing.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141.

Previous coverage:

Murder charge dropped in shooting of Carmichael teen in Foothill Farms - Oct. 15, 2009

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

A Canadian truck driver has been sentenced to 97 months in prison for possessing Ecstasy with the intention to distribute the drug and for smuggling cash.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton also ordered Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia to forfeit approximately $435,000. The prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Fox pleaded guilty Jan, 26 in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

The case resulted from an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement and the California Highway Patrol, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

A CHP officer stopped Fox on May 16, 2009 for a traffic violation as he was traveling through Woodland on Interstate 5, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas, who prosecuted the case.

The officer observed several discrepancies under the bed of the truck that indicated a hidden compartment.

The officer ran his police dog around the truck and the dog alerted him to the presence of controlled substances. The officer then searched the truck and found a hidden compartment with more than 225 pounds of Ecstasy and $435,000 in U.S. currency.

"This sentence serves as a stern warning about the consequences awaiting those who smuggle dangerous drugs," Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Sacramento, said in the news release. "Ecstasy trafficking is hugely lucrative and young people are typically the biggest market for this drug."

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 776-6866.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

A 40-year-old woman allegedly tried to buy crack on credit Thursday night and it ended badly for her and two other women, all of whom ended up at the Sacramento County Main Jail.

The trouble began when Melissa Mays, 40, went to Florinda Drive in south Sacramento to buy some crack cocaine, said Sacramento County sheriff's Capt. Scott Jones. Without the $55 she needed for the transaction, Mays instead gave the seller her ATM card as collateral and left with the goods, Jones said.

Mays apparently thought better of deal, and returned for her ATM card, Jones said. The seller, however, wasn't interested in returning the card without the $55, Jones said.

Mays allegedly assaulted the seller with a toaster, stoking the anger of two women also in the home.

The women allegedly beat Mays with a baseball bat and a crutch, Jones said. After Mays left the home, a passer-by on Della Circle saw her injuries and asked if she needed help, Jones said.

Mays declined help, but the passer-by called the Sheriff's Department anyway. Deputies identified Mays' attackers as 48-year-old Orelia Ann Simmons and 23-year-old Antoinette Winzer, Jones said. The women, and Mays, were arrested.

All three women were booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of robbery, torture, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon, according to jail booking records.

Winzer is ineligible for bail; Mays and Simmons are being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Placer County authorities are investigating an explosion at an Auburn apartment complex earlier this week that they said appears to have been caused by a clandestine hashish laboratory set up in a bathroom.

The four occupants of the apartment unit where the explosion occured received non-life-threatening burns and have been treated, Lt. Jeff Ausnow, spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff's Department, said today. Residents in surrounding units were evacuated but not injured.

Authorities responded to the complex on Gateway Court about 9 p.m. Tuesday after hearing reports of an explosion. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which was contained to the unit where the lab was located.

Sheriff's detectives and officials from the state Department of Justice are investigating the lab, where hashish was being extracted from marijuana plants, Ausnow said.

The explosion appears to have been fueled by flammable fumes - including butane - used in the process, Ausnow said.

No arrests have been made as detectives continue their investigation, he said.

However, Ausnow said the four occupants could face felony charges of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

By Bee Staff

Citrus Heights police officers called early today to a house where a resident reported scaring off an intruder with two gunshots ended up arresting the man on suspicion of drug use and reckless discharge of a firearm, a police spokesman said.

Lt. Jeff Mackanin said officers responded to a call about 1 a.m. of an intruder at a house in the 7100 block of La Salida del Sol Lane. The caller said he had scared the intruder off by firing two rounds.

An investigation revealed that two rounds had indeed been fired in the house but no evidence of an intruder, MacKanin said. Officers also found evidence that the caller was under the influence of a controlled substance, MacKanin said.

Thomas Parks, 38, was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence and reckless discharge of a firearm, MacKanin said.

Officers canvassed the neighborhood but found no evidence that the fired rounds left the house, MacKanin said.

By Bee Staff

A high-ranking member of a Sacramento area street gang has pleaded guilty to a drug charge in federal court, according to the U.S. attorney in Sacramento.

Selton Richard Stewart, 39, will be sentenced on June 3 after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Stewart was a "council member" of the Sacramaniacs, a Sacramento area white supremacist group with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael M. Beckwith, who is prosecuting the case.

Stewart was arrested in his home with a quarter-pound of methamphetamine and two firearms, Beckwith said.

The case is the product of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation led by the California Department of Corrections Special Services Unit and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Wagner said.

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Woodland man was booked for battery, resisting law enforcement officers and possession of drugs and a banned assault weapon, an unregistered Russian-made SKS assault rifle with a detachable 30-round capacity magazine, Woodland Police Sgt. Jason T. Brooks reported today.

Authorities said Guillermo Astran was arrested shortly after 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon after the man's uncle called authorities to say he believed Astran was about to beat his own mother, 48-year-old Virginia Astran.

Police said the weapon found inside inside the son's bedroom at the residence on the 800 block of Kentucky Avenue was loaded with 28 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammunition, including one round in the firing chamber. The assault weapon is among those banned under California's Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, police said.

Among the charges at booking was commission of a felony while on bail, authorities said. Guillermo Astran was held in the Yolo County jail on $25,000 bail.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

The man considered a "person of interest" in the deaths of a Maine couple whose bodies were found in Lake County last week now faces charges in connection with the marijuana operation he employed the couple to help him with, according to authorities.

Robby Alan Beasley, 29, is now facing charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and maintaining a place for the unlawful sale of marijuana, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

Beasley has been in custody since Saturday, when authorities arrested him on an unrelated, outstanding warrant out of Maine, where he is from, sheriff's Capt. Jim Bauman told The Bee earlier this week. He is ineligible for bail.

Beasley also remains a "person of interest" in the deaths of Frank and Yvette Maddox, whose bodies were found 20 feet down a roadside embankment by two motorists who stopped to take a break in Lake County, according to authorities.

The couple had moved from Maine several months ago to help Beasley with his marijuana operation in Lake County, Bauman said. Yvette Maddox was reported missing in late January, and Frank Maddox was reported missing in early February.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding Frank Maddox's pickup truck, which authorities suspect might have played a role in the couple's death.

Detectives have learned that a truck believed to be Frank Maddox's was reported to county code enforcers on Jan. 25, and has been seen several times since, the release states.

Most recently, the truck was seen parked on Spruce Grove Road near Noble Ranch Road on Feb. 23. It has since been moved.

The missing truck is described as a 1982 Toyota pick-up, either tan, beige, or pale yellow in color, with a black camper shell. Code enforcement photos further reveal that primer paint is exposed on the hood and roof areas and that the truck has oversized tires with chrome and gold wheels, a chrome brush guard on the front, and had California license plates of 1MHV850 at the time the photos were taken.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Department's Major Crimes Unit at (707) 262-4200.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

Previous coverage:

Maine man center of slaying investigation of couple in Lake County - March 9, 2010

n1867_juan_carlos_lopez.jpgBy Chelsea Phua
cphua@sacbee.com

State and Yuba-Sutter drug enforcement authorities have arrested six people who allegedly belong to a heroin trafficking ring in the Yuba-Sutter area and seized 3.5 pounds of heroin, $32,887 in cash and six weapons.

Authorities determined the street value of the heroin seized to be $250,000.

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said in a statement released Friday that the bust is "the largest heroin seizure ever made in this community" and Thursday's arrests will "significantly impact the availability of hard drugs" in Yuba-Sutter.

n1867_hugo_rios-martinez.jpgOfficials named Juan Carlos Lopez (top left photo), Joseph Valdez and Hugo Roberto Rios Martinez (right photo) as "full-time" dealers who sold heroin "seven days a week from morning to night," according to the news release. Officials did not name the other three arrested but said they were "sub-dealers" or "otherwise involved" in the area's heroin trade.

All six suspects are Mexican nationals and have been placed on immigration hold, authorities said.

Agents from the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Task Force began the investigation in January and served separate search warrants, including two at Yuba City residences, over a three-month period. Authorities said the heroin was produced in Mexico or other parts of South America and delivered to the Yuba-Sutter area through Stockton.

The men, who do not have any known prior criminal record in California, were booked into Sutter County Jail for possession of sale of heroin. Martinez and Valdez were also charged with child endangerment. Valdez has a 16-year-old daughter and Martinez a 10-year-old child. Both children are in protective custody.

Call The Bee's Chelsea Phua, (916) 321-1132.

By Bee Staff

A U.S. District judge in Sacramento has sentenced a pot grower/processer to three years and five months in prison, the U.S. Attorney said.

David Dean Davidson, 59, also was sentenced by Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.

Davidson pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 to growing more than 100 marijuana plants. He was arrested by U.S. marshals in June 2007.

He had been a fugitive since he failed to appear in court in September 2005, Wagner said.

The case was the product of an investigation by the Tehama County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigations, the Tehama County Sheriff's Department, the Alameda County Narcotics Task Force, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office Investigative Division, and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, Wagner said.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Stegman, who prosecuted the case, in July 2003 Tehama County law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for Davidson's residence in Red Bluff, where he was living with girlfriend and co-defendant Cynthia Barcelo Blake.

Officers found marijuana plants in three greenhouses in the backyard, as well as an indoor grow in the attached garage, Stegman said. There were 34 mature marijuana plants growing in the greenhouses and 1,100 cuttings in the garage, which had florescent lighting and an air purifier.

The discovery of the drug led officers to obtain another search warrant for a house owned by Davidson in Oakland.

There, officers found 35 mature marijuana plants growing in the backyard, and 634 cuttings planted in the basement with grow lights, carbon dioxide tanks, oscillating fans, air vents and a hood that vented to the outside, Stegman said.

Officers also found 54 packages of processed marijuana totaling six kilograms, Stegman said.

Blake pleaded guilty in January 2006 to maintaining drug involved premises and was sentenced to a year in prison and six months of home detention, Wagner said.

By Bee Staff

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced today a Natomas man to almost 18 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine throughout the Sacramento area, according to the U.S. Attorney in Sacramento.

Anthony Washington, 60, received a sentence of 17 years and 6 months for running the drug operation in the early months of 2006, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

Washington was found guilty by a jury on April 16 with co-defendant Douglas Frost, Wagner said.

The case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Sacramento Police Department.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Philip Ferrari and Jean M. Hobler, who prosecuted the case, the evidence at trial showed that Washington was Frost's primary supplier of cocaine and cocaine base (also called crack cocaine), providing a fresh supply equivalent to one to two ounces of cocaine base on a daily or near daily basis, Wagner said.

Wagner said the two men operated like this:

Washington provided the cocaine or cocaine base to Frost without payment, known as "fronting." Frost converted the powder cocaine to cocaine base and then sold it to a variety of customers.

When Frost sold all of his supply, he would return to Washington, pay for the drugs he'd just sold and obtain a new supply.

The jury convicted Washington of conspiring with Frost to sell at least 50 grams of cocaine base, all of which was sold to an undercover DEA agent. Frost pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in 2006, Wagner said.

Judge Morrison C. England Jr., in sentencing the defendant, applied sentencing guidelines applicable to powder cocaine rather than cocaine base, and found that Washington was a career offender, with an extensive criminal history dating back to 1968, Wagner said.

Judge England said that the amount of criminal activity Washington engaged in was "one of the highest levels" that he had seen, Wagner said.

By Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

A Sacramento man with a long criminal record must serve 25 years to life in prison after his 2009 meth-laced run in with the Roseville Police Department.

Anthony Joseph DiBernardo, 50, of Sacramento, was convicted in Placer Superior Court this week for driving under the influence and resisting an officer.

In May, DiBernardo was pulled over for driving with expired registration. During the stop, the responding officer suspected DiBernardo was under the influence of a substance. The Placer County District Attorney's Office said DiBernardo attempted to swallow a plastic bag of methamphetamine and wrestled with the officer.

The DUI and resisting counts triggered a mandatory 25-to-life sentence.

His record includes an 1988 crime spree that included a three-home burglary binge and an attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl, offenses committed before the state's three-strikes mandatory sentencing law took effect.

During this week's sentencing, DiBernardo sought to have his old convictions disregarded -- an argument Judge Joseph O'Flaherty rejected.

Prosecutor Benjamin Eggert argued that DiBernardo continued to break the law in the 1990s. His more recent crimes included a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and twice failing to register as a sex offender.

"This guy had his chances," Eggert said. "He's exactly the kind of person the three-strikes law was written for."

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269.

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

A man was arrested on multiple charges in Yolo County after drugs and a stolen dismantled motorcycle were allegedly found in his pickup.

Gene Miller, 49, of the Tehama County town of Corning was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing stolen property, possessing methamphetamine and marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.

A Yolo County sheriff's deputy noticed Miller's truck exit Interstate 5 at County Road 5 near Dunnigan and then return to the freeway in the same direction. The deputy followed Miller onto the freeway and stopped him after observing erratic driving, a sheriff's department press release states.

Miller exited his truck and walked to the deputy. He did not have any identification and appeared nervous, the deputy said.

Miller agreed to be searched, which resulted in the deputy recovering a plastic bag containing drugs, the press release stated.

A search of the truck turned up more drugs and a hypodermic syringe, deputies said. A dismantled Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the bed of the pickup was reported stolen last year in Sacramento County, deputies said.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Lien_Tu_On[1].jpgFrom Kim Minugh and Bill Lindelof:

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies seized nearly $875,000 in marijuana this morning after locating a large indoor marijuana growing operation in a gated residential community in El Dorado Hills, according to authorities.

Culminating a three-month investigation that started with complaints from neighbors, deputies and agents from the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement served a search warrant on a residence on Calabria Court, off Sophia Parkway, said Lt. Bryan Golmitz, sheriff's spokesman.

Inside, authorities found about 1,000 marijuana plants, most of them 2- to 2 1/2-feet tall, Golmitz said. Authorities estimate the plants are worth about $875,000, based on estimates of how much marijuana each plant would yield and current market value.

They also found what Golmitz described as an "elaborate growing environment" that included ventilation systems and a light system. Electricity in the home had been wired to bypass the meter, and officials from Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to the home, Golmitz said. County officials responded and condemned the structure because of the conditions, he said.

Most of the plants found in the home were in the growing stage, and authorities did not find much processed marijuana, the lieutenant said.

Authorities are confident the grow was intended for illegal sales, rather than for medicinal marijuana use, Golmitz said.

"This is totally different. This has nothing to do with Prop. 215 sales or (co-op sales)," he said. "This is a marijuana grow operating for profit."

Arrested in connection with the grow was 47-year-old Lien Tu On (top left photo), who was at the home at the time authorities served the search warrant, according to Golmitz.

An Elk Grove woman admitted in federal court Friday that she conspired with her husband to distribute methamphetamine.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Olivia Wimmer, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband, Eric Brooks, 29, also of Elk Grove, to distribute methamphetamine in late December 2007 and early January 2008. Brooks pleaded guilty to the same charge on Jan. 8 of this year, a U.S. Department of Justice news release states.

Federal prosecutors said Brooks was one of nine people arrested Dec. 13, 2007, on charges stemming from a federal wiretap investigation into methamphetamine dealing in the Stockton area. Brooks was held in Sacramento County jail pending trial.

When inmates make phone calls from the jail, they are informed that all calls may be recorded or monitored, the Justice Department news release states. Despite that warning, prosecutors said, Brooks continued to run a drug-dealing business, using coded language in telephone calls to Wimmer, directing her to move methamphetamine, currency and firearms out of their home.

In one such call, the news release says, Brooks asked Wimmer whether she had "got everything out of the red tool box, all." Wimmer replied that she had, but added, "I didn't know how to open it, so I bent it up."

Prosecutors said Brooks also used coded language to direct Wimmer to move items from a storage locker on Charter Way in Stockton, and Wimmer subsequently tried to deliver and collect payments for Brooks' methamphetamine.

On Jan. 3, 2008, law enforcement officers searched the Elk Grove home that Brooks and Wimmer shared and a storage unit on Charter Way, which agents learned was rented in Wimmer's brother's name.

In the garage of the residence, the news release says, officers found a large red tool box with a drawer near the bottom that was bent at the corner. In the storage locker, they found items bearing Brooks' name, marijuana grow lights, two separately wrapped one-pound packages of methamphetamine, an SKS rifle, a loaded banana clip with additional ammunition, and two bullet-proof vests.

The methamphetamine was analyzed by the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory and found to be 100 percent pure, the news release states.

When Wimmer was arrested, prosecutors said, she gave officers a false name and presented a California drivers license bearing her photo and the false name.

Brooks and Wimmer are to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on March 26 and April 16, respectively. The maximum penalty is a lifetime term in prison, the news release states.

Justice Department officials said the case resulted from a joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration; San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force; Stockton Police Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Western El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Task Force; Elk Grove Police Department; and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Bee Staff

A 38-year-old man has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to illegal drug distribution and cash smuggling, according to a news release.

Robert James Fox, 38, of British Columbia, Canada, entered the plea Tuesday and will be sentenced March 23, according to the joint release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Dan Lane, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement assistant special agent-in-charge.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas, who is prosecuting the case, Fox was a tow truck driver for a Canadian truck company.

On May 16, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped Fox for a traffic violation as he was traveling through Woodland on Interstate 5. The officer spotted irregularities under the bed of the truck and suspected the truck had a hidden compartment, the release states.

A police dog indicated the presence of illegal drugs in the truck and a subsequent search turned up a hidden compartment containing drugs and cash, the release states.

Fox admitted to carrying more than 225 pounds of Ecstasy pills and $435,000 in cash, the release states. Another $2,670 was found in the cab of the truck.

Bee Staff

Amtrak was not the way to go for a suspected drug courier, the Placer County Sheriff's Department said today in a news release.

A Colorado man was arrested last week after a Placer County Sheriff's K-9 found a large stash of marijuana aboard an Amtrak train in Colfax, according to the release.

The release gives this account:

Sheriff's deputies were called to assist Amtrak police officers while the train was stopped in Colfax on Jan. 12.

K-9 Okar (photo bottom right with what deputies say are the seized drugs), who is trained in finding drugs, pointed officers to the luggage of Daniel Ray Vialpando (photo bottom left), 27, of Colorado. Inside the luggage, deputies found five pounds of packaged marijuana.

Vialpando, who was traveling alone from Sacramento to Colorado, was arrested and booked into the Placer County Jail on suspicion of marijuana sales and transportation, the release states.

His bail was set at $110,000. He was also wanted on a warrant from Mariposa County.

Online jail records indicate he is no longer in jail.

vialpando daniel ray.jpg

okar colfax jan 2010.JPG

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A Sacramento County sheriff's deputy and a suspect each were injured Saturday night after a pursuit in which a sheriff's vehicle was rammed, the Twin Rivers Police Department reported today.

The chase began after officers, in the process of locking gates at Hamilton Street Park, approached a man in a vehicle in the park at Hamilton Street and Myrtle Avenue in Sacramento at 8:45 p.m. The occupant fled in his car.

The California Highway Patrol and the county Sheriff's Department joined the pursuit. At one point during the chase, the fleeing suspect rammed a sheriff's vehicle, Twin Rivers officials reported.

At the 4200 block of Main Street in Fair Oaks the suspect, identified as 40-year-old Jaime Santos, attempted to ram a second sheriff's vehicle and then crashed into a fence, suffering a cut to his head, Officer William Cho of the Twin Rivers department said.

During the struggle to apprehend Santos, a deputy injured his elbow. Officers used a Taser to subdue the suspect, according to Cho's report.

Santos' injuries were not life threatening, the report said. He was taken to a local hospital.

After his release from the hospital, he was going to be booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of felony evasion of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, resisting arrest, illegal possession of prescription drugs, possession of a loaded firearm and violation of probation.

The Twin Rivers Police Department is under contract with the Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District to provide law enforcement services.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

It shouldn't come as a surprise that jail staff members open mail sent to and from inmates - except the legal kind - but it proved to be one nevertheless for one giving girlfriend.

Jennifer Beals, 37, was arrested Monday night for allegedly sending some pot to her boyfriend, an inmate at the Rio Cosumnes Correction Center, via mail, said Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

She was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on two charges of giving a controlled substance to a person in custody, according to booking records. As of Tuesday, she remained in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail.

A warrant was issued for her arrest after deputies first discovered the postal pot Dec. 1, Curran said. Beals allegedly tried to send "several grams" of marijuana on two different occasions, Curran said.

A friendly reminder: Deputies running the RCCC and the Main Jail open and review all mail sent to and from inmates in their custody, Curran said. The only mail that isn't opened is correspondence with attorneys, he said.

Bee Staff

Dr. David Allen, a Sacramento medical doctor, has been arrested in Mississippi on multiple felony counts accusing him of bribery and tampering with witnesses, according to a newspaper.

Allen already had been charged with possession of marijuana and hashish in Mississippi authorities seized his home and ranch this year.

In Sacramento, where he now lives, Allen is a licensed physician.

He recently opened a cannabis evaluations clinic on Auburn.

To see the Sun Herald story, click here.

From Hudson Sangree:

Authorities announced Thursday they had discovered a methamphetamine laboratory and made three arrests at an apartment complex in north Davis.

According to a news release, the operation began as an investigation of a parolee selling drugs by the Yolo Narcotics Enforcement Team, a multi-agency task force.

About 6 p.m. Wednesday, officers arrested Brandon Lee Whitmore, 34, of Davis, as he tried to flee in his vehicle.

Officers searching Whitmore's apartment on Alvarado Avenue found loaded guns and a meth lab, according to the release. Teams were called in to safely remove it, and the apartment was deemed uninhabitable.

They arrested two other suspects: Carrissa Nicolay, 28, of West Sacramento and Carrissa Dawson, 24, of Woodland, the release said.

From Cathy Locke:

A report of an open front door at an El Dorado Hills residence led to the discovery of a large indoor marijuana-growing operation.

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies responded about 8 a.m. Saturday to a report that the front door of a house in the 300 block of Arches Avenue was open and nobody appeared to be home. The caller also reported a trail of potting soil and marijuana leaves extending from the house into the driveway, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Deputies reported that the front door appeared to have been kicked open. Inside they found a marijuana-growing operation and summoned detectives. Approximately 260 marijuana plants were found along with a sophisticated growing system, including grow lights and room ventilation, according to the news release.

Sheriffs officials said the plants seized had an estimated street value of $250,000.

The people responsible for the operation are believed to have illegally bypassed the residence's power meter, avoiding an estimated $6,000 in monthly utility charges.

An investigation is under way to identify the growers. No arrests have been made.

Bee Staff

Roseville Police Department Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team officers have uncovered a marijuana growing operation inside an unoccupied house in the 1800 block of Blue Skies Drive in west Roseville, according to a Police Department news release.

Officers served a search warrant at the house on Wednesday and seized 33 mature marijuana plants, cash, and other evidence of marijuana cultivation and sales, the release states. City of Roseville building and code inspectors posted the house as uninhabitable due to electrical work that had been done without permits.

Robert Clive Cooper, 40, of Roseville was renting but not living in the Blue Skies Drive house, the release states.

He was arrested without incident on suspicion of possession and cultivation of marijuana, and released from the Roseville City Jail after he posted a $5,000 bail bond, the release states.

From Joe Davidson:

Onterrio Smith, a former Grant High School football star whose National Football League career was derailed by off-field issues, was jailed overnight by Nevada County Sheriff's Office on a drug charge warrant.

According to the Truckee Police Department, Smith, 28, was a passenger in a Pontiac GT that was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 80 in Truckee at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday

The driver, John Payne-Johnson Sr., was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, Truckee police Capt. Randy Fenn confirmed to The Bee today. Smith was arrested after a routine check revealed that he had an outstanding warrant from Sacramento for possession of a controlled substance. Smith was booked at 12:26 a.m., Penn said, and bail was set at $15,000.

Smith set regional and Northern California rushing records in 1998 at Grant in becoming the most heavily recruited player in the program's storied history. Smith has admitted in Bee stories in recent years, including last December, that his football career had rough stretches due to his own mistakes.

From Bill Lindelof:

Four men were arrested on marijuana growing charges after Elk Grove police served warrants at six residences in the city and found more than 1,400 plants.

Detectives arrested Robert Le, 37, Tri Quang Trinh, 24, Tuan Tran, 25, and Son Le, 42, on charges that included suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possession for sale.

Detectives found indoor marijuana-growing operations at several of the residences and recovered a half-pound of processed marijuana.

Search warrants were obtained for homes on the 6700 block of Eskridge Way, 9000 block of Four Seasons Drive, 10300 block of Stathos Drive, 6000 block of Jefjen Way, 8500 block of Purcell Way, and 9500 block of Clarke Farms Drive.

From Kim Minugh:

Lincoln police arrested a 26-year-old man Friday morning after investigators found a marijuana processing plant inside his Lincoln home, according to authorities.

Clinton Hooper, a Lincoln resident, was booked into the Placer County Jail on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sales, possessing concentrated cannabis, being a convicted felon in possession of live ammunition and committing a felony while out on bail, said Lincoln police Lt. David Ibarra.

On Friday morning, a Lincoln police officer responded to Green Ravine Drive and Fielding Lane after neighbors reported the strong odor of marijuana coming from a U-Haul truck parked in the area, Ibarra said.

As the officer began to drive away from the truck, the officer noticed a man walk up to the truck, Ibarra said. The officer confronted the man and learned he was on probation out of Sacramento County for marijuana possession, Ibarra said.

That led police to the man's residence in the 300 block of Falkirk Court, where they found more than 100 pounds of marijuana in various stages of processing, concentrated cannabis, live ammunition, narcotic paraphernalia and more than $11,000 in cash, Ibarra said.

Hopper is being held without bail, according to jail booking records.

From Kim Minugh

Persistence did not pay off for this alleged criminal.

On Wednesday, Rocklin police arrested 21-year-old Brandon Lee Welsh of Rocklin for allegedly trying to pass a forged prescription for OxyContin - for the second time that day, according to a police news release.

Welsh reportedly first went to the Bel Air Market pharmacy on Sunset Boulevard. He handed over what later proved to be a forged prescription, but left after a suspicious pharmacist peppered him with questions, the release states.

Police allege that about an hour and a half later, Welsh went to the nearby Safeway pharmacy and gave the pharmacist another forged prescription, according to the release. But he didn't get there before the Bel Air pharmacist had a chance to call police and surrounding pharmacies with a description of the man, the release states.

Thanks to that description, the Safeway employee recognized Welsh and called police. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary, passing an altered prescription and forgery, according to the release. Police say he is being held on $17,500 bail.

From Bill Lindelof:

Federal and El Dorado County law enforcement officials announced today the arrest of three people suspected of being connected to a steroid manufacturing ring.

09J12069.JPG09J12060.JPG09J12061.JPGThe 10-month undercover investigation resulted in the arrest of Jason Glavin (far left), 37, of El Dorado Hills, and Erin O'Neil (middle left), 40, and his wife, Amy O'Neil (left), 32, both of Fair Oaks.

The investigation also resulted in closure of a suspected steroid lab in Elverta and seizure of 500 vials and 1,850 capsules of anabolic steroids.

"In terms of underground steroid labs, this was a huge seizure for this area," said Gordon Taylor, federal Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge.

The investigation began in January when an undercover officer allegedly bought two vials of steroids from Glavin in an El Dorado Hills parking lot. Between February and September, the undercover officer allegedly bought steroids from Glavin multiple times at a Citrus Heights grocery store parking lot.

Authorities said that on those occasions Glavin drove to the residence of Amy and and Erin O'Neil before and after the purchases. According to a search warrant affidavit, Glavin's supplier received raw product, manufactured the steroid and labeled it for distribution.

The case ended Wednesday when authorities said Glavin was arrested, suspected of delivering 100 vials of anabolic steroids to an undercover officer in a Citrus Heights parking lot.

Later, authorities searched Glavin's residence, the O'Neil's residence and the location of the alleged lab.

From Bill Lindelof:

Two men suspected of identifying themselves as police and then stealing marijuana have been arrested in Nevada County.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Department said about 4 a.m. Saturday they responded to a home on Keenan Way between Lake of the Pines and Grass Valley near Highway 49 to investigate a reported home invasion robbery.

Deputies said Tuesday that three men knocked on the front door of the residence and said they were law enforcement officers. The suspects then entered the home, took marijuana and hit a resident of the home on the head with a blunt object.

Detectives later arrested two of the three men suspected in the robbery, Christopher Lee Brooks, 26, and Robert Madsen, 30, at a home in the 100 block of King Court in Grass Valley. They are suspected of robbery, burglary, assault and false imprisonment.

Detectives are still looking for a third suspect.

Bee Staff

The Rocklin Police Department and the Coalition for Placer Youth are hosting an open Town Hall to help parents fight drug use among children.

The forum, "What Kids Think Parents Should Know About Drugs and Alcohol," will be 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Rocklin Sunset Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin, according to a news release.

This forum is designed to educate parents about drug trends and to empower them to take an active role in identification, prevention, and intervention, the release states.

The event is open to the public.

The featured presenters include Rocklin Police Chief Mark Siemens, Jeff Cameron supervisor of the State Justice Department Drug Task Force, Rocklin Police School Resource Officer Chris Osborne, Emergency Room Physician Robert Royer and several youth panelists, the release states.

Questions and discussion topics will include:

- How prevalent is illegal drug use in Rocklin?

- What's being done about this problem?

- Is teenage prescription drug use on the rise?

- Where are teens getting the drugs?

- How can parents detect the signs, symptoms, and behaviors of drug/alcohol use?

- Should parents drug-test their children?

- What are some preventative measures parents can take?

- Where can people obtain assistance and substance abuse treatment?

Attendees will be able to ask questions, purchase drug test kits, talk with Rocklin Police Department School Resource Officers, and meet with representatives of organizations that provide drug-related information, counseling and treatment, the release states.

For more information, contact Michael Nottoli at Michael.Nottoli@rocklin.ca.us or call (916) 625-5416.

From Andy Furillo

The former medical director of the Sacramento County jail system is unlikely to do any time behind bars as a result of his no-contest plea last week to writing unauthorized OxyContin prescriptions, according to a prosecutor's memo.

Dr. Peter Dietrich's plea Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court included a guarantee that he would not serve any state prison time, and the memo by Deputy District Attorney Dean Archibald strongly indicated that the physician will not have to serve the 365 days in county jail that is facing as a result of his negotiated agreement.

"If the court was so inclined as to sentence the defendant to community service, as opposed to incarceration, the People - in view of Dr. Dietrich's service to society in the past, his on-going efforts to rehabilitate himself, his current participation in the development of programs that will benefit the community at large as well as other medical providers, along with his recognized potential for future good works - would submit on the issue," said Archibald's Aug. 6 memo contained in Dietrich's court file.

Dietrich, who enrolled in a drug treatment program less than two weeks after his Jan. 14 arrest, is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 6 by Judge Gary E. Ransom.

State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agents arrested the 52-year-old Dietrich after finding that he had been writing an unusually high number of prescriptions for OxyContin, a powerful, highly-addictive pain killer. BNE agents suspected that Dietrich had been writing the illegal prescriptions for himself.

At the time, Dietrich had been in charge of medical operations at the downtown jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center for a year and a half. Before that, he had been the medical director in charge of university health services at UC Berkeley for 14 years.

Under the plea deal, Dietrich will likely be placed on probation for four years. Archibald's memo also said he would be required to complete a Proposition 36 drug treatment program.

Although Dietrich's license has been suspended by the California Medical Board, Archibald's memo said that the DA's office has discussed with the state Department of Justice the effect of the plea on his ability to regain his ability to practice medicine again.

Archibald said in the memo that "it is our understanding that the felony convictions on the charges that comprise the offer will not, of themselves, preclude Dr. Dietrich from regaining his privilege to practice medicine." The memo also said that if Dietrich complies with all Department of Justice and Medical Board requirements and receives the proper recommendations for reinstatement, the DA's office would not object.

Neither Archibald nor Dietrich's attorney, Clyde Blackmon, were available for comment earlier today.

From Bill Lindelof:

Acting on a tip, sheriff's deputies in Nevada County discovered 4,000 marijuana plants in a rural location northeast of Lake Wildwood.

The large garden found Thursday off Starduster Drive near Bitney Springs Road had plants from 2 to 7 feet tall. The plants were irrigated with drip lines.

Officials with the Nevada County Sheriff's Narcotic's Task Force say they believe the people tending the garden had abandoned the plants within the past few weeks. Deputies found three campsites where food, clothing, cooking gear and tools were abandoned.

The garden was about 200 yards from a residence. Deputies said the owners of the property were not aware of the plants.

From Bill Lindelof:

An arrest was made and 458 marijuana plants were confiscated in law enforcement raids across three counties last week.

The raids resulted in the arrest of Jonathan Farrell, 39, of the North San Juan area, a Nevada County Sheriff's Office news release states. Farrell was arrested on suspicion of growing, selling or transporting marijuana.

Search warrants were executed at nine locations in Nevada, Yuba and Sierra counties after a nine-month collaboration by the sheriff's Narcotic's Task Force with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Aircraft surveillance had spotted marijuana gardens on nearly every parcel where the search warrants were executed, according to officers.

Farrell was named as owner of most of the properties. A total of $10,000 was also recovered in the raids.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story included an incorrect street for the home where police say they found marijuana. C Street is the correct location.

From Bill Lindelof:

A pot garden first spotted in an east Sacramento back yard by airborne police was busted this morning.

Residents of the home on the 4200 block of C Street told Sacramento police they have medicinal marijuana cards and that the plants were being raised for health reasons.

Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said that a report will be submitted to the Sacramento District Attorney's Office for review of the resident's claim that the marijuana was for medicinal use.

One person was taken into custody on suspicion of having a deadly weapon -- brass knuckles -- Leong said.

The house was boarded up because of concern by authorities that electrical wiring and chemicals used in the growing process created a dangerous building.

Leong said the officers in the department helicopter spotted the marijuana growing in the back yard, leading to officers this morning using a search warrant to enter the location, where they found marijuana in the back yard, the garage and the home.

Leong said much of the marijuana appeared to have been harvested.

Bee Staff

San Diego County authorities announced today that they have arrested 23 people, seized $70,000 in cash and shut down 14 marijuana dispensaries that were "operating under the guise of selling marijuana and marijuana-laced products for medicinal purposes."

"Like most San Diegans, I support the use of legitimate and legal medical marijuana use," said San Diego District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis. "However, it appears these so-called marijuana dispensaries are nothing more than for-profit storefront drug dealing operations run by drug dealers hiding behind the state's medical marijuana law."

She said 23 people were arrested as the result of a four-month undercover investigation, involving multiple law enforcement agencies. More arrests are possible, she said.

More than $70,000 in cash and six firearms also were seized, she said.

The 14 dispensaries and six residences that were searched are in San Diego and the surrounding area, she said.

Possible charges include the sale and possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and firearms offenses, she said. Those charges carry a maximum of penalty of up to four years in prison.

She said for-profit marijuana dispensaries are not legal according to state law and the State Attorney General's published guidelines. The AG's guidelines on medical marijuana allow non-profit collectives and cooperatives that cultivate marijuana to serve their legitimate patients if they follow rules, which include acquiring marijuana only from their members and reimbursing only reasonable costs like out-of-pocket expenses, she said.

(For a recent Bee story about pot dispensaries, click here.)

"We have not, and will not prosecute people who are legitimately and legally using medical marijuana," Dumanis said. "It's a shame that a few illegal drug dealers are trampling on the compassion shown by voters in passing California's medical marijuana law."

An initial review of the records at one dispensary reveals that more than $700,000 in income was generated in the past six months through the selling of marijuana and marijuana-laced products, she said.

Other law enforcement involved in the operation are the U.S. Attorney's Office for San Diego, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the San Diego Sheriff's Department, the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Narcotics Task Force, according to a news release.

Photo below was taken at one of the dispensaries, according to the news release.

Dispensary33.jpg

From Bill Lindleof

Three large marijuana plants were found in a Rocklin home after firefighters extinguished a blaze at the residence Wednesday morning.

During an investigation of the early morning fire in the 2900 block of Twin Creeks Lane, a Rocklin Fire Department Arson investigator found the plants, according to a Police Department news release.

A resident of the home, Joel Klingenberg, 24, told officers he was responsible for the marijuana, police said. Police said it appears that the marijuana was for personal use and not for sale.

A small amount of dried marijuana was allegedly found in Klingenberg's vehicle, police said. Klingenberg was arrested on suspicion of cultivation and transportation of marijuana, the release states.

From Chelsea Phua

A Sacramento County licensed vocational nurse faces felony charges for allegedly stealing medication from the county jail's dispensary.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said Erika Youngs was arrested in July. She was on a list of nurses that the jail would use whenever the facility had a shortage of nurses, Curran said.

Curran said the inmates never went without their medication.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

From Loretta Kalb

Woodland police arrested a 22-year-old man after finding a homemade explosive device in his car near a public park, authorities said today.

Police questioned Woodland resident Christopher Lee Garcia at Harris Park, 100 Imperial St., on Friday night and found that he had been smoking marijuana in the park restroom.

Garcia, on probation, was searched and found to possess a small amount of marijuana, police said. A search of his car parked nearby also revealed an illegal knife and the explosive device.

Members of the Yolo County Bomb Squad were summoned. They found that the device was capable of exploding if the attached fuse had been lit, authorities said.

Garcia was booked at the Yolo County Jail on charges of possessing an explosive device, possession of a switchblade knife, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and violation of probation.

From Bill Lindelof:

Deputies from Minnesota have delivered a registered sex offender wanted on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a child to Sacramento authorities.

Michael Clouse, 38, was booked into Sacramento County Jail on multiple sex charges involving a child, failure to register as a sex offender and possession of narcotics. He is being held without bail.

Deputies from Otter Tail County, Minn., turned Clouse over to members of Sacramento County's Sexual Asault Felony Enforcement team on Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport.

Clouse was arrested in Otter Tail County by state troopers for a vehicle code violation. When troopers discovered Clouse had outstanding warrants for his arrest from Sacramento County, he was booked into Otter Tail County Jail and extradition proceedings were began.

From Bill Lindelof:

Galt police have arrested two people at a home where authorities say they found chemicals used for making methamphetamine.

METHBOY.jpgMETHGIRL.jpgJohn Franklin Beathard (far left), 44, and Katherine Ann Culbertson (left), 32, were arrested on suspicion of possession of chemicals to make drugs, unlawfully making methamphetamine and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.

Police served a search warrant at the residence in the 600 block of E Street on Monday afternoon. It was during the search that detectives say they found components and chemicals commonly used in a clandestine methamphetamine lab.

From Bill Lindelof:

Shasta County's crackdown on marijuana gardens has topped last year's eradication effort.

Early today deputies from the Shasta County Sheriff's Department's Marijuana Eradication Team destroyed 8,444 marijuana plants. The marijuana was believed to have been planted by growers from Mexico, although no arrests were made.

The plants found and destroyed in the Backbone Creek area at Shasta Lake brings the total number of marijuana plants eradicated this gowing season to 474,596. Last year, 472,000 were eradicated.

From Ed Fletcher

The March robbery of the prescription painkiller OxyContin from Roseville Walgreens and an assault led to a three-year sentence after a 21-year-old man pleaded no contest to the charges.

Pierre Jovan Williams, pleaded no contest to the theft of $5,000 worth of the painkiller and battery of a correctional officer, according to the release from the Placer County District Attorney's office.

Williams received a three-year sentence for the robbery and a two-year sentence for the battery, which will run concurrently.

During the robbery, Williams wore a hooded sweatshirt and while holding something in his pocket twice whispered to the pharmacist "I have a gun," according to the release.

From Chelsea Phua

Authorities seized 96 marijuana plants worth more than $76,000 after a California Highway Patrol helicopter pilot spotted them growing along a popular bicycle and walking trail in Folsom.

In a Thursday news release, Folsom police said the plants were found along the trail in the Sibley Street and Glenn Drive area. (See photo below supplied by the Folsom Police Department.)

Authorities said the plants might have been growing the hidden location for about six to seven months. Police said they do not know who planted the marijuana and are looking for suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jon Lasater at (916) 355-7343.

The CHP helicopter pilot, Kevin Vinatieri, has spotted two other crops in Folsom in four years, Folsom police said.

Marijuana Grow.pdf - Adobe Reader.JPG

Bee Staff

Teamwork involving two police departments, a fire department and a joint task force recently resulted in the arrest of three men and a woman on assorted drug, gun and assault charges, according to a Roseville Police Department news release.

The release gives this chain of events:

At about 4:30 p.m. on July 21, members of the Roseville Police Vice & Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Placer Regional Auto-Theft Taskforce observed a drug transaction in a parking lot near Auburn Boulevard. and Whyte Avenue.

Two vehicles were involved in the transaction, an Acura sedan and a Lincoln sedan. Officers stopped the Acura and arrested the driver, Brent Wilson, without a problem, but the driver of the Lincoln drove onto Auburn Boulevard, ramming two police vehicles in the process and then sped away, the release states.

He led officers on a short pursuit southbound on Auburn Boulevard into Citrus Heights. Citrus Heights Police officers responded to assist.

The driver stopped the Lincoln on Auburn Boulevard. at Rollingwood, in Citrus Heights, and he and two passengers fled on foot.

Roseville and Citrus Heights officers searched the area and eventually detained all three of the suspects. A loaded handgun was seized.

Acting on a tip, officers returned to the area later to search for discarded cocaine. With the help of member of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, they searched the roof of a business in the 8100 block of Auburn Boulevard, near Rollingwood Boulevard, and found a baggie containing approximately three ounces of cocaine.

The release states the following were arrested:

-Brent Thomas Wilson, 19, of Loomis, on suspicion of attempted drug sales, possession and conspiracy.

-Nicholas Eric Rice, 24, of Fair Oaks, the alleged driver of the Lincoln, on suspicion charges that include assault with a deadly weapon (ramming the officer's vehicles), conspiracy, weapons charges, attempted drug sales, recklessly evading a police officer and parole violation

-Joshua Phillip Andrew Gartrell, 25, of Sacramento, who police say was a passenger in the Lincoln, on suspicion of attempted drug sales, weapons charges, conspiracy and resisting arrest.

-Charity Lynn Hicks, 23, of Citrus Heights, who police say also was a passenger in the Lincoln, on suspicion of attempted drug sales, conspiracy and resisting arrest.

From Bill Lindelof:

The man officials say led a nationwide drug-sales operation and two others have been arrested in El Dorado Hills.

michael klaisle.jpgdana marie allen.jpgsamuel perez.jpgSacramento County drug task force detectives also seized 47 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $300,000.

Investigators confiscated $6,000 and impounded two vehicles, said Tim Curran, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities arrested Michael Francis Klaisle (far left), 26, Dana Marie Allen (left), 22, and Samuel Alex Perez, 30, at a home on the 4700 block of Concordia Drive.

Curran said Klaisle was head of a drug-sales network that stretches across the country.

"We do believe that Klaisle, the ringleader, was distributing marijuana locally and nationwide," said Curran.

The investigation began several months ago in Sacramento County, Curran said.

From Bill Lindelof:

Drug enforcement officers arrested one man and found hundreds of marijuana plants Wednesday after serving search warrants at three Nevada County sites.

The first warrant resulted in the arrest of Robert Furnas, 50, of Nevada City on suspicion of growing and possessing marijuana. Nevada County Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force officers found and destroyed 354 marijuana plants in a large garden on federal land off Lower Greenhorn Road.

Later in the day, deputies served a search warrant in the 14000 block of Chalk Bluff Road. There, deputies seized 758 marijuana plants growing outdoors.

They also found an underground growing facility in a large metal portable storage container. The container had ventilation and grow lights.

The third search warrant was served on the 15000 block of McQuiston Lane in Grass Valley, where 301 marijuana plants were found.

No arrests were made at either of the two later searches.

From Bill Lindelof:

Drug enforcement officers arrested one man and found hundreds of marijuana plants Wednesday after serving search warrants at three Nevada County sites.

The first warrant resulted in the arrest of Robert Furnas, 50, of Nevada City on suspicion of growing and possessing marijuana. Nevada County Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force officers found and destroyed 354 marijuana plants in a large garden on federal land off Lower Greenhorn Road.

Later in the day, deputies served a search warrant in the 14000 block of Chalk Bluff Road. There, deputies seized 758 marijuana plants growing outdoors.

They also found an underground growing facility in a large metal portable storage container. The container had ventilation and grow lights.

The third search warrant was served on the 15000 block of McQuiston Lane in Grass Valley, where 301 marijuana plants were found.

No arrests were made at either of the two later searches.

From Nicole Williams:

A Sacramento man suffered second-degree burns on half of his body after an explosion erupted when he attempted to light a marijuana pipe in his bathroom earlier today, fire officials said.

The man, who is in his earlier 30s and a medical marijuana patient, had mixed butane with his pot and the chemical is likely the cause of the explosion, which knocked the bathroom wall off its foundation, said Jim Doucette, spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department.

"It's not for sure that's what happened ... but whatever he was doing went wrong," Doucette said.

A second-level hazmat alarm was called because the Fire Department was initially unaware of the source of the blast, he said.

No one else was in the house at the time of the explosion, and the man was transported to a nearby hospital but is expected to recover, Doucette said.

From Bill Lindelof:

Teens and adults are invited to meetings later this month to develop information on alcohol and drug abuse in the Rocklin area.

The meeting on July 22 sponsored by the Rocklin Police Department and the Coalition for Placer Youth will seek answers to a variety of questions including:

-Is underage drinking and drug use a problem in Rocklin?

-What are the teen attitudes toward the abuse?

-Where are teens drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs?

-How are teens getting alcohol and drugs?

-Are parents allowing their children to take illegal drugs and drink alcohol?

-What are the root causes of such abuse?

The teen focus group meeting occurs 5 to 6 p.m. July 22. The adult focus group occurs 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. the same evening.

Both are at the Rocklin Police Department, 4080 Rocklin Road. Both focus meetings will be held in a large community meeting room.

The information on abuse trends and issues will be used to prepare an agenda for a later large-scale community drug forum in the fall.

Those planning to attend either forum July 22 are urged to call (916) 625-5416.

Bee Staff

Sacramento police officers took down a drug-dealer suspect - complete with body armor and handgun near Del Paso Boulevard late Saturday night, according to a crime summary.

The report gives this sequence of events:

Sacramento Police Department officers were targeting the Del Paso Boulevard area. Near the intersection of two nearby streets - Boxwood Street and El Camino Avenue - the POP team encountered "a subject suspected of selling narcotics."

The suspect tried to flee and officers reported they saw him discard on eighth of an ounce of rock cocaine. A subsequent probation search of the suspect turned up the body armor, a handgun "more ammunition at a nearby location." The 26-year-old suspect was arrested.

From Jane Braxton Little:

Six men charged with multiple felonies in a marijuana farm raid last week have been transferred to federal custody to face arraignment in the Eastern District of the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

Lassen County District Attorney Robert M. Burns dismissed all state charges Thursday, when the suspects appeared for a scheduling hearing in Lassen County Superior Court.

Acting U.S. Attorney Larry Brown will prosecute the case under federal law, Burns said.

The six suspects were arrested June 16 after a team of county and federal investigators stumbled on the marijuana garden near Little Valley in northern Lassen County.

A seventh suspect began firing on the officers. He was shot and killed in the ensuing gun battle, which also injured two Lassen County Sheriff's deputies.

Facing federal charges are Clemente Arroyo, Jose Zepeda, Norman Mike, Jose Mendoza-Garcia, Miguel Mosquedo and Alex Zavala.

From Bill Lindelof

Thousands of pot plants worth what authorities say was $58 million were found and pulled from the ground in El Dorado County.

The sheriff's department said the marijuana-growing operation off Salmon Falls Road near the Dorado Ridge Trail and Salmon Valley Lane was taken apart last week.

A department news release said authorities found and destroyed 32,000 plants, some as tall as 6 feet, that were growing over a three-mile area covering private, state and federal land and watered with a mile of irrigation lines fed by dammed creeks.

No suspects were found at the site and no arrests in connection with the operation have been made.

No other information was available.

From Kim Minugh:

Three men -- including a father and son -- were arrested last week in connection with a Sacramento-Bay Area cocaine distribution ring busted by authorities, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Wrapping up a two-month investigation by two multi-agency drug task forces, authorities arrested the three men at a home in the 6000 block of Belleau Wood Lane in Sacramento and seized five kilos of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $750,000; 223 grams of marijuana; a semi-automatic handgun; and nearly $9,000 in cash, according to a news release issued by sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran.

Arrested were Sacramento residents Fidel Raymundo, 64, and his son, Abel Raymundo, 30; and Bay Area resident Martin Campos, 35, the release said.

Fidel Raymundo was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on a charge of transportation, sale or distribution of a controlled substance, booking records show. Abel Raymundo was booked on a charge of possessing a controlled substance for sale. Martin Campos was booked on a charge of transportation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance.

All three are being held without bail.

The investigation was conducted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) task force and the California Multijurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team (CAL-METT). Participating were the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Sacramento County Probation Department, Folsom police, Sacramento police, Citrus Heights police and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Bee Staff

Elk Grove detectives arrested a 20-year-old man after investigators said they found evidence of marijuana and LSD sales at a residence.

Michael Wayne Sickels was arrested on suspicion of drug violations after a search of a residence in the 9200 block of Trenholm Way, according to an Elk Grove Police Department crime summary.

The search also turned up a stole firearm, the summary states.

From Bill Lindelof:

Shasta County Sheriff's deputies faced a potentially dangerous situation when they arrested two men for suspicion of growing marijuana, according to a press release.

When members of the Shasta County Marijuana Eradication team found 569 marijuana plants Wednesday on property in the "Small Farms" area, they also recovered assault rifles and a sawed-off shotgun. Deputies said there were also three pit bulls on the property.

Tanen Joe Munoz, 22, and Russell Andrew Judson, 21, were arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and being armed during the commission of a felony.

From Chelsea Phua:

A Lodi elementary school teacher has been arrested after police found heroin in his car during a traffic stop, authorities said.

Lt. Steven Price said Michael Phillips, 37, was arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin about 11:45 a.m. last Friday. He was taking a lunch break from Beckam Elementary School, where he teaches third grade, Price said.

A patrol officer spotted Phillips talking to a bicyclist before stopping him for a broken windshield at South Cherokee and Kettleman lanes. Price said drug-dealers in the area are known for operating on bicycles.

Phillips gave permission to the officer to search his vehicle. Police found several syringes, including one with a usable amount of heroin in it, Price said.

Phillips told police he started using heroin about three years ago to ease his pain from a surgical procedure, but has been clean for a while. He also said he has diabetes, and uses the needles for his insulin, Price said.

Detective Eric Bradley said that Phillips has posted a $10,000 bail. Morphine pills were also found in plain sight on his teacher's desk in school, Bradley said. Further investigation might lead to more charges, Bradley said.

Bee Staff

The theme was bad driving earlier this week as Elk Grove police busted a suspected car thief and a juvenile driving without a license but with illegal drugs, police records show.

The first arrested occurred about noon Thursday when an officer spotted stolen vehicle. The suspect fled in the vehicle but the quickly abandoned the vehicle. However, he could hide from a K-9 unit.

William Donovan, 18, was booked in jail on suspicion of various charges.

About 9:45 p.m. that same day, an officer pulled a car over for a traffic violation. The driver's problems escalated from there.

The officer found the driver, a 17-year-old male, was driving without a license. As he was being arrested, officers found illegal drugs.

The suspect was transported to juvenile hall.

From Bill Lindelof:

A routine traffic stop in Lincoln has resulted in the arrest of a Sacramento man and woman on drug and other charges.

After the vehicle stop Thursday night, Lincoln Police discovered the woman in the car had an outstanding traffic warrant and the man was on parole. Officers searched the vehicle and found a small bag of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and "shaved" keys, commonly used in the theft of cars.

The suspects, both booked into Placer County Jail, were identified as Christopher Amant, 41, and Carolyn Anderson, 36.

Amant is being held on suspicion of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools and parole violation. Anderson was booked on a $20,000 warrant, suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia.

From Chelsea Phua:

A 50-year-old Sacramento man and his 73-year-old mother were arrested on Wednesday after the man allegedly pulled gun on his brother and his mother tried to hide the gun for him, police said.

Adeline Rodriguez helped her son, Carlos Arias, by hiding the gun in a bag she was carrying. Police also found a pound of heroin and $8,000 in cash inside the bag, department spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said.

Police said they also impounded a new Harley Davidson motorcycle belonging to Arias.

Arias' brother called police about 5 p.m. on Wednesday to report that he had been arguing with Arias and Arias threatened him with the gun. When police arrived at the scene in the 3200 block of Santa Cruz Way, Arias had left, Leong said.

Police found him inside a truck at Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard. As they were arresting him, they noticed an elderly woman walking away from the area, looking suspicious, Leong said.

When police later interviewed witnesses at Santa Cruz Way, they learned that the elderly woman was Arias' mother and found her at a Burger King near Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard, Leong said.

Rodriguez and Arias were charged with possession of heroin for sale. Arias was also arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Police said they also found another gun at a residence on Santa Cruz Way.

Bee Staff

Twin brothers found double trouble when the Roseville Police Department came calling.

Adam Peter Ralli and Alex Walter Ralli, both 20, were at an apartment in the 2000 block of Sebastian Way when officer arrived to serve a search warrant on Thursday, a police spokeswoman said.

They were arrested on suspicion of a variety of drug charges.


guns_coke.jpgFrom Kim Minugh:

Sacramento police announced today a major bust that netted more than $800,000 in drugs from south Sacramento.

In February, detectives concluded an investigation that led to the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of cocaine and three-quarters of a pound of crystal methamphetamine, said Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong. Detectives also recovered a stolen gun and more than $10,000 in cash.

Five people from Sacramento were arrested in the bust, but police are not releasing their names.

The investigation began in January, when police received information about an organization trafficking large amounts of cocaine into the Sacramento area, Leong said. Police seized the drugs after serving search warrants in the 6600 block of Carnation Avenue, the 3500 block of La Grande Boulevard, the 8100 block of Torrente Way, and the 7100 block of South Land Park Drive, Leong said.

The cocaine was seized in powder form. Sold by the gram on the streets, the total package would have gone for about $835,000, Leong said. If the cocaine had been processed into crack cocaine, the total package would have sold for more than $2 million.

The methamphetamine, sold in grams, would have been worth almost $35,000, Leong said.

Detectives believe the suspects were local drug dealers who would have sold the drugs in the Sacramento area, Leong said.

The bust also resulted in two other arrests - two people who fired at an undercover detective as he carried out part of the investigation, Leong said.

The detective was on Carnation Avenue when he was approached by two neighbors of one of the drug suspects, Leong said. When the detective declined their offer to sell him marijuana, the neighbors went into their house, got a handgun and came outside, firing at the detective as he drove away, Leong said.

Police arrested 22-year-old Albert Vargas and 25-year-old Seggran Pillal in connection with that incident, Leong said. Vargas is being held in the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of attempted murder, cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale, according to booking records.

Pillal is being held at the jail on a charge of attempted murder, booking records show. Both men are ineligible for bail.

From Sandy Louey:

Redding police said officers arrested two people Wednesday night, one of whom had a loaded handgun and methamphetamine.

At 11:30 p.m., officers responded to a business at 3050 C Street about a person sitting in the bushes with a handgun. Two people were located walking away from the business southbound on C Street, according to a press release from the Redding Police Department.

Souchiem Saeteurn, 21, of Redding was holding a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in his hand, police said. Methamphetamine was found in his pocket during a search, police said.

A 17-year-old boy was under the influence of a controlled substance and had possession of narcotic paraphernalia, police said.

Saeteurn was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a loaded firearm and possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into the Shasta County jail.

The boy was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and taken to juvenile hall.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Roseville police arrested a 17-year-old Sacramento boy after he allegedly tried to run down a police officer and rammed into another person's car Friday night while escaping arrest after a drug deal, a Police Department spokeswoman said.

At about 6:41 p.m. on March 6, Roseville police detectives said they saw a drug transaction going down in the parking lot of the Walgreen's store at the corner of Foothills and Junction boulevards, according to a press release.

When they approached the group, the 17-year-old, who was at the wheel of a Lincoln sedan, gunned the engine and drove at one of the officers, who had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit, according to a police spokeswoman.

The officer suffered minor injuries. He was treated and released at a local hospital, she said.

As the boy drove through the parking lot, he hit another car that was also trying to exit the lot and rammed it repeatedly until he'd moved it out of his way, she said. The driver of the rammed car complained of back pain and was treated by paramedics at the scene. He declined transport to a hospital, the spokeswoman said.

The Lincoln sped through a nearby neighborhood until its passengers bailed out at the corner of Springfield Drive and Sawtell Road, police said. The driver was arrested a few blocks away on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

A 16-year old passenger was arrested on nearby Kingswood Drive, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and possession of ecstasy for sale.

Two others were arrested in the parking lot of the Walgreen's. They were Timothy Alan Scanlon (photo left), 18, of Sacramento and Cody Allen Youngblood (photo right), 18, of Roseville, police said. Both were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to sell ecstasy. Youngblood was also arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, police said.

scanlon_timothy_allen.jpg

youngblood_cody_allen.jpg

DSC_0002.jpgFrom Bee Staff:

A pharmacist has been arrested for allegedly stealing prescription painkiller medicine from a Sacramento County-operated pharmacy, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Friday.

Marvin G. Gibson, 61, of Folsom (photo left) allegedly stole the medication while he was employed as a pharmacist at a the county's Primary Care Center Pharmacy in the 4600 block Broadway in Sacramento, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor said in a press release. Gibson surrendered at the DEA office on Friday, Taylor said.

"We are seeing an increasing trend of prescription drug abuse take hold across the country," Taylor said. "This case is a perfect example of how addiction to pain medications can affect people in all walks of life, even those working in the medical industry."

The DEA started the investigation in June 2008 with an audit of the pharmacy, Taylor said.

Investigators determined between August 2007 and January 2008, Gibson allegedly stole Hydrocodone on three occasions, Taylor said.

He said court documents show Gibson admitted to stealing approximately 60 Hydrocodone pills for his own personal use while working at the pharmacy.

Hydrocodone is commonly prescribed for moderate pain, Taylor said. Hydrocodone is one of the most frequently prescribed opiates, and the number one abused pharmaceutical drug in the United States, he said.

Hydrocodone is marketed, in its varying forms, under a number of trademarks, including Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab and Norco, Taylor said.

The DEA's Sacramento office conducted the investigation with assistance from the Folsom Police Department and the California Board of Pharmacy, Taylor said.

eldo suspect.JPGFrom Bill Lindelof:

A traffic stop in Shingle Springs led to some unexpected discoveries and the arrest of a Mariposa County woman Friday in El Dorado County, investigators said.

Sheriff's deputies said they stopped Kimber Thompson of Coulterville on Red Hawk Parkway about 1:30 a.m. Friday for a vehicle code violation and discovered she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest. It was also determined that she was driving without a license, the deputies said.

A search of her vehicle allegedly turned up marijuana and methamphetamine, deputies said. But what really got their attention was a gas canister that had been modified into a small pipe bomb, deputies said.

The bomb squad closed access to the Red Hawk casino for a short time and the device was destroyed at the scene due to the danger of moving the item, which could have had lethal consequences, according to an El Dorado County Sheriff's department press release.

From Bee Staff:

Fast work by the Auburn Police Department apparently caught an armed robbery suspect before he could act, according to Police Chief Valerie Harris.

Michael Francis Brown, 25, of Sacramento was arrested while in line Wednesday night at a pharmacy at a Longs Drug store in a shopping center at 388 Elm Ave. in Auburn, a news release said. Officers found in Brown's possession a loaded .38-caliber handgun and a note demanding Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller, the release said.

Brown did not possess a prescription for Oxycontin, officers said.

Harris detailed how the arrest transpired:

Brown was in and out of the store several times and asked about Oxycontin.

Brown's actions made a store employee suspicious. The employee called the Placer County Sheriff's Department, and the information was relayed to the Auburn Police Department.

Officers also found on Brown "controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, illegal drugs and a switchblade knife," Harris said in the release.

Officer found Brown's vehicle in the parking lot.

Brown was booked into the Placer County Jail. He is being held on $100,000 bail, the release said.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Editor's note: Notebook is an occasional series on slices of life found by The Bee's police reporters.

Should drugs be legal?

It's a debate that's lasted years on Capitol Hill, funded a ballot initiative in California and even filled five seasons of "The Wire" series on HBO television.

And recently the topic came up again in a dingy parking lot in Del Paso Heights.

On one side was Sgt. Scott Hays, a 16-year-veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department whose spent the last two years of his career at the helm of the Sheriff's Department's street drugs task force.

On the other was Percy Spence, a 51-year-old parolee who'd just been arrested along with his girlfriend on suspicion of helping sell a $20 crack rock to an undercover cop.

Hays had been bristling over the subject all night after seeing reader comments in a Bee news story about an arrest his team had made the day before, (). Drugs, he says, are behind a lot of the crime and almost all of the violence we see in our society.

So he put the question to Spence, a confessed crack-addict who had just come out of prison a couple of months ago. Killing time before they took him and his girlfriend into jail, Spence had laid his story.

He'd just lost a job three months ago as a woodworker, he said. A week before, he'd lost his place and had been sleeping in his van. Clean for "near a year," he'd started smoking rock again three days before, he said.

"Let me ask you," said Hays, "should drugs be legal?"

Spence shook his head.

"I don't think they should legalize it," he said.

Hays asked whether he thought more cops should be going after drugs.

"They should be going after more serious crimes," Spence said. "Murder, rape, robbery...I could go on and on... sick people out there, desperate people with this economy like it is. The (biggest) priority should be (people) out there killing."

"But you know what some rock heads are willing to do for a rock?" Hays asked.

Spence paused for a second.

"Some people are bottomless," he said.

"You know what," said Hays. "I wish cocaine had never been invented."

"Me too," said Spence. "It makes people do stupid (expletive deleted) like I just did here."

untitled1.jpgFrom Sandy Louey:

A 79-year-old Sacramento man was arrested for allegedly dealing heroin.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's street team arrested Donaciano Rivera (photo left) on Tuesday. The arrest was the result of a month-long investigation of Rivera, who was identified by a confidential source as a heroin dealer, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department.

When arrested at his home, Rivera was found to have more than a pound of tar heroin with a street value of more than $36,000, a loaded handgun and $7,100 in U.S. currency, the Sheriff's Department said.

Rivera was arrested on suspicion of possession for sale of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed firearm not registered to owner, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and violating probation.

Rivera, who is ineligible for bail, is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail. He is scheduled to be in court Thursday, according to online jail records.

Since Jan. 1, the street team has arrested 61 people for selling narcotics and other narcotics-related activities, the department said. The team has also seized more than $30,000 in drug money, 26.57 pounds of marijuana, 50 grams of methamphetamine and taken six guns off the streets.

From The Times-Standard in Eureka:

An explosion at a Eureka residence Wednesday morning sent three burn victims to the hospital and a fourth was arrested on charges of allegedly maintaining a residence for the production of a controlled substance, the Eureka Police Department reported.

After a preliminary investigation, EPD officers suspect the laboratory was probably used for hashish production, which is manufactured in highly flammable environments.

At just before 7:30 a.m., a citizen reported a possible explosion at the 1900 block of Hilfiker Avenue. While police and fire personnel responded to the scene, a police dispatcher learned a burn victim had driven himself to the emergency room for treatment.

Click here for the full Times-Standard story.


From the Associated Press:

A Gridley couple has been arrested after being caught on tape smoking marijuana in front of their two children.

Luke Abraham Duran, 23, and Angie Lynn Gerst, 25, face charges of marijuana possession and child endangerment.

Police in Butte County say their two sons, ages 7 and 1, tested positive for marijuana after their parents were arrested Jan. 30. The children have been placed in protective custody.

Police say a visitor caught Duran and Gerst on camera, taking turns smoking from a glass marijuana pipe. The older boy was reportedly seen standing with the couple, while the younger child was in his mother's arms.

Gerst and Duran were booked at the county jail and released.

benson david d.JPGFrom Sandy Louey:

Rocklin police arrested a 48-year-old man Thursday after finding methamphetamine during a probation search.

Police went to the home of David Douglas Benson (photo left) in the 3000 block of Westwood Drive for a probation search.

A search found two ounces of methamphetamine hidden in a bathroom. Cash and other items indicating drug sales were also found in the home, Lt. Lon Milka said in a news release.

The drugs had a street value of $5,000. Benson was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession for sales of methamphetamine and violating probation, police said.

He was booked into the Placer County Jail with bail set at $35,000.

From Niesha Lofing:

Woodland woman was arrested on suspicion of drug possession after she crashed into a pole late Wednesday.

Woodland police officers were called at 10:30 p.m. to North East Street just north of Kentucky Avenue on a report of a single vehicle crash and found Danielle Deal, 38, sitting by her vehicle, Sgt. Anthony Cucchi stated in a news release.

Deal didn't respond to officers and was very upset, he said.

She complained of minor pain and was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated and released.

Officers also allegedly found Deal in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

She was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Woodland police at (530) 661-7800. Callers may remain anonymous.

From Sandy Louey:

During a weekend traffic stop, a Butte County sheriff's deputy discovered 81 pounds of marijuana, according to a news release.

The deputy was on patrol on Highway 99 about 8 a.m. Saturday when he spotted a southbound Ford F-150 pickup truck in which the GPS unit was mounted on the windshield and obstructing the driver's view, according the Sheriff's Department news release.

During the stop, the deputy's K-9 partner walked around the truck and alerted the deputy to the rear license plate area, where bags of processed marijuana were hidden, the release said. The Sheriff's Department estimated the street value of the 81 pounds of marijuana at $324,000.

The driver of the truck, Leland Lapham, 58, of Lititz, Pa., was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana. Lapham was booked in the Butte County Jail with bail set at $100,000, authorities said.

Anyone with information about this case can call the sheriff's department at (530) 538-7389.

From Sandy Louey:

Sacramento police Thursday are looking for a woman who left after dropping a dead man's body at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center in south Sacramento.

The incident occurred at 11:06 a.m. Wednesday at 6600 Bruceville Road.

The man, who was in his 50s, appeared to have died from a drug overdose, but the Sacramento County Coroner's Office will be determining the cause of death, said Sgt. Norm Leong, a spokesman with the Sacramento Police Department.

While it is not believed to be a homicide, police would like to talk to the woman to find out the details behind the man's death, Leong said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP.

From Andy Furillo:

The prosecutor today moved into the heart of his cross-examination of accused murderer Jonathan Andrew Hampton, voicing incredulity at the defendant's account of the shooting death of Jonathan Paul Giurbino two years ago.

Deputy District Attorney Kevin Greene wound up to central issues of the case by playing a video of Hampton's statements to police and attacking his description of the events that led up to the homicide that the defendant said resulted from his own efforts to ward off a robbery attempt.

On the tape, Hampton told police that he thought Giurbino was trying to "get me lost" by driving into South Land Park, on their way to make a connection to buy the psychedelic drug Ecstasy, on the day of the killing. Hampton also said on the tape he was flustered by the fast-talking Giurbino.

In his questioning, however, Greene suggested that Hampton's actions did not portray those of someone who might have been scared.

"Aren't red flags going through your head?" Greene asked. "He's talking, talking, talking - trying to get you lost. Why not cut it off right there? It's fishy, right? Something doesn't seen right, right? Why go through with it?"

Hampton, who was driving, said that the thought of terminating the trip to the Ecstasy dealer "didn't cross my mind."

Hampton testified earlier in the trial that Giurbino had tried to rob him at gunpoint inside the defendant's car when they pulled into a driveway on Fordham Way.

Then Hampton said Giurbino lost control of the weapon, that it fell into the defendant's lap and that he shot the victim when Giurbino reached for the gun.

Greene sought to unravel Hampton's story on the details of the shooting by pointing to inconsistencies between what he told police the day after the Feb. 15, 2007, homicide and his trial testimony.

One such detail that did not come out on the police tape was Hampton's trial testimony account of how he had used his left hand to grab at Giurbino's gun and knock it loose.

"My mind was distracted," Hampton testified today. "It was so intense (in the police interview room). I left out part of the story."

From Sandy Louey:

Redding police have arrested a 34-year-old man on counterfeiting and drug charges.

At 10:54 p.m. Monday, an officer stopped a vehicle driven by Benjamin Eric Tillery of Redding near the intersection of Chestnut and Placer streets.

Methamphetamine and marijuana were found during a search of Tillery's vehicle. Several counterfeit $100 bills, numerous pages of computer paper printed with images of $100 bills and a computer printer were also in the vehicle, according to a press release.

Tillery was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of counterfeit U.S. currency with the intent to distribute, police said.

Investigators searched his home and confiscated four computers associated with the investigation.

The U.S. Secret Service office in Sacramento was advised about the case, which was submitted to the Shasta County District Attorney's Office.


From Chelsea Phua:

Roseville police officers arrested a Fair Oaks woman on Monday on several possible charges, including allegedly obtaining prescription drugs using different names in various locations in Yolo and Sacramento counties.

Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said Sheri Renee Marotte, 44, failed to appear on an earlier charge of writing checks with insufficient funds, which she allegedly committed in Roseville.

Officers went to her residence at 10:15 a.m. to serve her a Placer County bench warrant and discovered prescription bottles and receipts for prescriptions she fraudulently obtained in the other counties, Gunther said.

Marotte was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of prescription narcotics, burglary, writing insufficient funded checks, obtaining controlled substances fraudulently, counterfeiting blank prescription forms, probation violation and committing a felony while out on bail for another felony, Gunther said.

The burglary charge stems from entering a pharmacy with the intention to commit prescription fraud, Gunther said.

She is being held without bail in the Placer County Jail.

From Sandy Louey:

A 28-year-old Sacramento man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for trafficking in drugs.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. sentenced on Thursday David Brown Jr. for a conviction of possession with intent to distribute at least five grams of crack cocaine after a prior felony drug conviction, according to a release from the Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown.

David Brown also must serve eight years of supervised release.

The case came from an investigation from the Sacramento Police Department's problem oriented police officers, the release said.

Federal prosecutors said police officers knew Brown was a drug dealer in Oak Park.

On Jan. 7, 2008, Oak Park POP officers were patrolling at 8th Avenue and San Jose Way. Brown threw away a bag containing more than 40 grams of crack cocaine when he saw the officers, the release said.

When he was arrested, he was on parole and had been convicted three times of possession/purchase of cocaine base for sale - in San Mateo County in 1998 and in Sacramento County in 1998 and 2003. He also was convicted in 2006 in Sacramento County for the felony of possession of a controlled substance, authorities said.

1peter scott dietrich.jpg

From Andy Furillo, Sam Stanton, Chelsea Phua and Sheila A. Kern

The medical director of the Sacramento County jail system was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of writing unauthorized OxyContin prescriptions, possibly for his own use, authorities said.

Dr. Peter Dietrich has been in charge of the Sacramento sheriff's medical operation at the downtown jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center since July 2007. He had previously been medical director of university health services at UC Berkeley for 14 years.

State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agents arrested Dietrich at 10 a.m. Wednesday at sheriff's headquarters in downtown Sacramento. He posted $5,000 bail and was released a few hours later.

BNE Special Agent Michelle Gregory said the investigation into Dietrich began in July when his name "popped up" in the state and federal tracking system that monitors prescriptions for widely abused painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, and other controlled substances.

"It appeared he was writing high amounts of prescriptions at high dosages for OxyContin," Gregory said. "There is no indication of trafficking. Right now, they believe he may have been using it."

A woman who answered the door at Dietrich's residence declined comment.

OxyContin is a highly addictive painkiller that's gained a huge black market following since it was developed in 1996, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

State drug agents booked Dietrich, 51, on 21 counts - seven for writing unauthorized prescriptions, seven for fraudulently obtaining controlled substances and seven for illegal possession of them.

Gregory said agents searched Dietrich's residence and that the investigation is continuing.

Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said BNE officials informed his department "several weeks ago" that Dietrich was under suspicion. He said the Sheriff's Department took no action other than to ensure that he did not have any contact with jail inmates.

As medical director, Dietrich worked in an office at a location away from the jail and would not regularly have such contact anyway, the sheriff said.

His primary duties were overseeing all medical staff and decisions at the jail, and his annual salary is $198,966.

"We have cooperated with them (BNE)," he said. "We did not want to do anything to interfere."

BNE officials informed the Sheriff's Department on Wednesday that they were prepared to arrest Dietrich, and sheriff's officials asked him to come down to headquarters for a meeting.

When he arrived, he was arrested inside the office of Capt. Jamie Lewis, down the hall from the sheriff's office.

McGinness said Dietrich was always professional and helpful. When the sheriff contracted an ear infection two summers ago, Dietrich asked after him several times, McGinness said.

The sheriff said that Dietrich also cared about maintaining the health of jail inmates.

"He's an extremely bright guy and always a pleasant guy," McGinness said.

"It's a huge loss. It's a sad day."

At Berkeley, Dietrich oversaw university health services before he left the campus in May 2007 to take the job in Sacramento.

"He was very highly regarded by his professional colleagues here," campus spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said.

Gregory, the state drug agent and spokeswoman for the BNE, said investigators do not know how many illegitimate prescriptions Dietrich may have written or the amounts of drugs involved. She said some of the prescriptions were legitimate and that agents have to sort them out.

She said both the BNE and the DEA monitor the tracking system "so people don't doctor shop and abuse prescriptions" and "so they can make sure doctors are not writing too many of them."

"When you start seeing the same name pop up multiple times for the same thing over ... time, investigators are going to look at it and say something's not right," Gregory said.

From Niesha Lofing:

A Vallejo man will spend more than 11 years in federal prison after he offered to sell crystal meth to an informant and authorities found drugs and a pistol hidden his vehicle's airbag compartment.

David Michael Capenhurst, 26, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento to 11 years and three months in prison and five years of federal supervised release for his crimes, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown.

Capenhurst pled guilty to distributing methamphetamine in October.

According to prosecutors, Capenhurst admitted that he offered to sell a highly pure form of crystal methamphetamine to a confidential informant. Shortly after the drug deal was arranged, Vallejo police detectives stopped the man's car for a series of vehicle code violations and searched the vehicle.

They found a small amount of marijuana and $1,050 in the center compartment of the car, prosecutors said.

A police dog trained to find drugs alerted officers to additional narcotics. When detectives pried open an area designed to house an airbag on the passenger's side of the car, they found a hidden compartment containing 9 1/2 ounces of crystal meth in four separate plastic knotted bags, a digital scale and a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol that had been reported stolen, the release states.

The street value of the crystal meth was about $13,500, prosecutors said.

At the sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge John A. Mendez said the sophistication of the drug trafficking and Capenhurst's validated street gang membership factored into the severe sentence, the release states.

From David Richie:

A Rio Linda woman has been arrested by Roseville police for allegedly driving a teenager to the area around Foothills Boulevard and Baseline Road and assisting him with a drug deal.

Gayla Lucille Huey, 45, and the minor were arrested Tuesday afternoon by Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team detectives. Huey is being held in Placer County Jail on suspicion of child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor as well as suspicion of drug sales and criminal conspiracy.

The boy was booked into Placer County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of selling controlled substances and conspiracy.

Detectives said they seized an unspecified amount of cash from the juvenile and found 30 ecstasy pills in Huey's vehicle.

sanchez jesus morales jr.jpgFrom David Richie:

A homeless man with a history of drug offenses was arrested by Placer County sheriff's deputies Tuesday morning after they spotted him driving a car with expired registration stickers.

The arrest occurred at about 10:17 a.m. in an alley behind Quartz Drive in Auburn.

Deputies determined that Jesus Morales Sanchez Jr. (left photo), 39, also was wanted on three local warrants and he was driving on a suspended license. He is on probation and had already violated a requirement that he register as a drug offender.

A search of the vehicle turned up a digital scale and an unspecified amount of suspected methamphetamine, officials said.

Sanchez was booked into Placer County Jail on suspicion of possessing and transporting controlled substances, failure to register as a drug offender driving on a suspended license. He remains in custody with bail set at $102,997.

From Sandy Louey:

Rocklin police arrested a 27-year-old Orangevale man suspected of illegally carrying Oxycontin and Vicodin pills.

At 4:25 p.m. Saturday, an officer stopped Jesse Rayburn in the old town area of Rocklin for a traffic infraction. The officer was conducting a probation search when Rayburn took off running, according to a press release.

Officers pursued him throughout the homes and the backyards in the area until he was found in the backyard of a home on Pacific and Cedar streets. Police said Rayburn was found with Oxycontin and Vicodin pills.

He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of possession of a controlled substance, violating probation and resisting arrest, police said.

From David Richie:

Rocklin police are singing the praises of Diva, their dope-sniffing dog, after the K-9's latest exploit at a local campus where Diva and her human partner rolled in to check cars parked in the student parking lot last week.

Diva's nose led officers to car at a local school, which police did not identify, about 10:30 a.m. Friday. A search turned up about 13 grams of suspected marijuana along with digital scales and an open container of alcohol, police said.

Officers contacted the owner of the car and the Rocklin Unified School District will take "appropriate actions" when the investigation is complete, Lt. Lon Milka, police department spokesman, said in a press release.

The owner of the car is not being identified because he or she is a minor.

Random searches at local schools are not new. Police and school district officials have made several similar arrests during the past three years.

Diva is a black Labrador and a three-year police department veteran. During the past year she has been involved in about 100 drug busts throughout the city and helped officers find pot, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, police said.

From David Richie:

A multiple agency drug task force hit nine suspected indoor marijuana growing operations in rural El Dorado County and Nevada County earlier today, seizing pot, guns, cultivation equipment and about $625,000 in cash.

A total of 10 search warrants and five arrest warrants were served.

About 200 law enforcement officers from the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Forest Service and many other agencies participated in the coordinated raids.

"All the locations were hit around 10 a.m. and everything went smoothly," said Sgt. Bryan Golmitz, spokesman for the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

In a press release, Attorney General Jerry Brown noted that armed guards protected the sites and he called the indoor growing operations "a threat to public safety."

Officers confiscated approximately 2,100 plants, 100 pounds of processed marijuana, about $625,000 in cash along with numerous lights and generators used in the growing operations.

They also found two handguns, three rifles, and five shotguns.

Search warrants were served at six locations in El Dorado County. Those homes were located on Silver Ridge Court, Camino, High Twist Lane, and Grizzly Court, Somerset, Fort Jim Road, Placerville, Mosquito Road, Swansboro, and Spring Valley Road in Pollock Pines.

Three warrants also were served Nevada County but Golmitz did not have those locations.

The raids came after a two-month investigation.

State officials said the investigation started with the discovery of an outdoor marijuana growing operation in Pollock Pines. Agents then determined that the same suspects had recently spent millions of dollars to purchase other properties in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Mendocino, Sacramento, Alameda, and San Francisco counties.

That land-buying spree had been going on for four years.

Numerous suspects were detained during the raids but officials were still questioning them late Tuesday afternoon and none had been booked yet into local jails.

From Andy Furillo:

The owners of a crime-wracked North Sacramento apartment complex are going to have to keep living there until next week while the local courts decide whether to shut the place down for good, a judge decided today.

Supervising Deputy City Attorney Matt Ruyak said visiting Superior Court Judge John Anton stayed a pending order to close the Dixieanne Apartments in the 700 block of Dixieanne Avenue until Judge Loren McMaster, who issued the tentative ruling on shutting down the complex known as "The Compound," returns to court on Monday.

In the meantime, at least one of the owners of the complex, William and Blessing Iyasere, must remain on the premises around the clock, Ruyak said.

Police say the apartment complex is one of the worst on the north side in terms of gang and drug activity.

A trial on the city's attempt to shutter the complex also has been delayed due to lack of courtroom space. Ruyak said attorneys hope to get a trial date tomorrow.

From David Richie:

Two men who reportedly identified themselves as gang members were arrested Tuesday by Roseville police on Five Star Boulevard along the Roseville-Rocklin border.

The arrest was the product of work by the department's Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team. VNET officers had made arrangements to pay $700 for 138 hits of valium from Thom Matthew Tyler Littlejohn, 23, of Sacramento and Alejandro Alfredo Castellanos, 19, of Rancho Cordova, officials said.

Officers closed in after the transaction and arrested both men on suspicion of transporting or selling controlled substances and conspiracy.

When the two men were in custody, officers asked them about their tattoos. Littlejohn and Castellanos told them they are members of "Hog Life," a set affiliated with the Nortenos criminal organization. That prompted officers to add an "enhancement" for participating in a criminal street gang.

Littlejohn remains in custody but Castellanos posted bail shortly after his arrest.

From David Richie:

An Auburn pharmacist already facing numerous felonies, including a charge that he replaced OxyContin pills with candy M&Ms, had his license to dispense controlled substances suspended today by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Auburn police and DEA agents handed the suspension notice to Thomas Lee Husak, 71, Monday morning at his Skyridge Pharmacy in the 600 block of Auburn-Folsom Road, said Gordon Taylor, DEA assistant special agent in charge for the Sacramento area.

The immediate suspension order effectively puts Husak out of the business of dispensing Schedule II-V controlled substances such as OxyContin, oxycodone and hydrocodone, which is better known as Vicodin, Taylor said.

"They all can be highly addictive and in some cases, even deadly," Taylor said.

Husak will get the opportunity to appeal the suspension during an administrative hearing.

The Bee contacted Husak at his business and he referred all questions to his attorney, Tim Woodall. The attorney has not yet responded to the Bee's call for comment.

Local and federal authorities started investigating Husak in September after receiving complaints that he was providing medications to people without prescriptions. In October, search warrants were served at Skyridge Pharmacy and at Husak's home.

The search turned up various controlled substance allegedly obtained illegally. Officials also found what they described as numerous expired bottles of OxyContin that were about to be mailed back to a distributor for destruction, Taylor said.

The bottles had been opened and the pills had been removed and replaced with candy M&Ms, The bottles had then been resealed so they would appear to be full of expired pills.

"They are not going to open the bottles so he gets credit for returning the OxyContin," Taylor said.

The gambit could have left Husak with a stash of the highly addictive pain killer. On the street each of those pills might sell for $50 or possibly even more, Taylor said.

Officials also said that an inventory revealed that more than 20,000 doses of hydrocodone were unaccounted for.

Numerous felony drug charges were eventually filed against Husak by the Placer County District Attorney.

From Niesha Lofing:

A Redding man was sentenced this week to nearly 20 years in prison for playing an essential role in a Yuba City drug deal.

Jesus Valencia Ontiveros, 24, was convicted in federal court of conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Ontiveros, one of seven people indicted in the case, had pled guilty earlier this year before some of his co-defendants came to trial, according to a news release by U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office.

The situation began to unfold in December 2006, when the Drug Enforcement Agency used an informant to negotiate a methamphetamine deal with a person in Colusa.

Ontiveros emerged as a central figure in the plan to deliver a large amount of meth to the informant, federal prosecutors said.

On Feb. 24, 2007, Ontiveros and five other people traveled from Corning to Yuba City to deliver four pounds of meth. The six people traveled in three cars and arrived in a Wal-Mart parking lot just before midnight, prosecutors said.

A co-defendant driving with Ontiveros had a loaded .357 caliber handgun and three other co-defendants, who were on security-detail during the drug deal, arrived in a truck carrying an SKS military rifle and ammunition, prosecutors said.

Law enforcement arrested the six people after the drugs were shown to the informant.

The case was investigated by the DEA and Net-5, a drug task force comprised of Yuba and Sutter county law enforcement.

Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. presided over the sentencing and described Ontiveros as an "enthusiastic participant" whose "role was essential" to completing the deal, the release states.

Four other co-defendants have been sentenced as follows: Jose Luis Villanueva Diaz, more than 11 years, Sabas Miramontes, more than 12 years, Margarito Ramirez Caballero, more than 24 years, Ricardo Diaz, more than 24 years.

From Sandy Louey:

A Sacramento gang member was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in federal prison for dealing crack cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England sentenced Nicholas Rapier, 33, to 188 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to distributing crack cocaine on May 15, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Rapier, a validated member of the "G MOBB" street gang, has an extensive criminal history of felonies for drug trafficking and violent crimes.

Judge England said Rapier's sentence reflected the need for him to face to consequences of his poor decisions and his long history of committing serious offenses, according to the release.

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento judge today ordered the owners of a North Sacramento apartment building called "The Compound" that is the hub of neighborhood gang and drug activity to live on the premises until the case goes to trial next month on the city's efforts to shut the place down completely.

Superior Court Judge Loren E. McMaster had issued a tentative ruling granting the city's motion to close down the complex on Dixieanne Avenue. He stayed that order today, however, until the trial scheduled to begin Dec. 9 - with the caveat that either William or Blessing Iyasere be on the property 24 hours a day until then.

McMaster allowed provisions for the owners to attend to jobs or transporting their children to school, but he insisted that either one or the other remain at the complex around the clock.

The judge said he took the action because the Iyaseres have failed to comply with the terms of an injunction that they stop renting to parolees and probationers.

City of Sacramento officials, who last year sought and received court sanctions to eliminate criminal activity at the apartment building, said that nothing has changed at The Compound in spite of the legal action taken against it.

From Sandy Louey:

Authorities have dismantled a methamphetamine drug trafficking organization in Winters, leading to 12 arrests last week, according to a press release.

The arrests, which took place Monday and Tuesday, were the culmination of a two-month investigation, according to the release from the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team.

On Monday, task force members from YONET and officers from the West Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol arrested Jesus Miranda, 33, Samuel Medina, 21, Martin Cardenas, 22, and Jose Torres, 18 after they allegedly sold 1/2 pound of methamphetamine to an undercover operator at a location in Sacramento, according to the release.

All four were arrested on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and conspiracy. Miranda, Cardenas, and Torres were also arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm while committing drug-related sales. Miranda was arrested on two additional counts of selling methamphetamine, while Cardenas and Torres had one additional count of selling methamphetamine, according to the release.

On Tuesday, YONET task force members and representatives from the Yolo County Sheriff's Department served search warrants at five locations in Winters and ended up arresting eight people.

Joyce Creamer, 40, David Martin, 49, Lupe Escarsega, 34, Alfredo Valencia, 40, Myra Guerrero, 25, Juan Chavez, 27, and Adeline Deleon, 44, were arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the release.

Creamer, Martin, Escarsega, Valencia and Chavez were arrested on suspicion of possession for sales of methamphetamine. Deleon was arrested on two counts of selling methamphetamine, according to the release.

Creamer, Martin, Guerrero and Deleon were also arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, according to the release.

Guerrero was also arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, according to the release. Yolo County Child Protective Services placed her child, who was about age 3, into protective custody, according to the release.

Gabriela Garcia, 27, was arrested for being at a location where drugs were sold, according to the release.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected.

Agencies that are part of the YONET include the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, Yolo County Sheriff's Department, CHP and the Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento police departments.

narc.JPGDetective Chris Maher, left, and Deputy Anthony Panonessa arrest Robert Craft of Sacramento, who allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover member of the Narcotics Suppression Unit.

Photo by Autumn Cruz/acruz@sacbee.com

From Stan Oklobdzija:

The vests that Sgt. Scott Hays and his eight-man team wear can stop a bullet but not the budget ax.

Since the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's budget was slashed by $5 million this fiscal year, Hays' team has existed in financial limbo.

The Narcotics Suppression Unit, which conducts operations against street-level drug dealers, was officially disbanded in June, Hays said. He had led the team since it formed in 2007.

"On paper, we're gone," he said.

But thanks to some sympathetic members of the department's command staff, Hays and his team have been able to keep at it.

Sheriff John McGinness and Bill Kelly, the deputy chief of Field Services, saw the benefit of the team and engaged in some creative accounting.

"(Kelly) ID'd some vacant positions in the patrol division and plugged the narcotics street unit into them," said Sgt. Tim Curran, the sheriff's spokesman.

So for now, the team gets to keep going. But as is true for all deputies during these troubled budget times, the uncertainty wears on them, Hays said.

"It's difficult for us to work when we're wondering (what's going to happen next)," Hays said. "Until another hiccup comes, we just get to do our jobs."

A 16-year veteran of the department, Hays said he and the other members of the street unit have not only one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, but one that's most beneficial to the community.

To combat street-level drug sales, Hays' team does periodic sweeps through neighborhoods, works with informants and uses undercover officers to arrest dealers.

The drug trade, he said, has its fingers in everything.

"It's all a big spider web," Hays said. "That's the whole thing about the drug trade, it spirals to all areas of crime."

The arrests that Hays and his detectives make lead to major narcotics busts and arrests in other crimes, he said.

On a recent 10-day sweep through the county conducting undercover drug buys and checking on warrants, the team netted 221 arrests, Hays said.

During that sweep, an undercover drug buy near Lawrence Park in south Sacramento led to a crack house just down the street. Two children, ages 9 and 13, were taken from the house by county Child Protective Services, and their mother was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment.

"That 13-year-old hadn't been in school for a year," Hays said as a patrol car whisked the mother away. "If it wasn't for the drug buy, we wouldn't have been able to track that neglect."

Last year, Hays said, his team made about 1,300 arrests and seized about $150,000 in drug money. Even so, he realizes that in his lifetime, he'll never see the end of the drug trade.

"I'm not naive enough to say we can stop drugs (from being sold)," he said. "But we have to let dealers know that they can't just sell drugs with abandon."

It's why the shake-ups in the department worry him despite his best efforts, he said.

"I can't be (worried)," he said. "We've got to stay focused. But in these financial times, it's hard. ... When you have a budget crisis, even good programs get cut."

Click here to see a slide show of phtos of this unit in action.

childs.jpg croff.jpg lewis.jpg

From Niesha Lofing:

Three men are facing criminal charges after allegedly participating in a drug deal gone awry in Roseville, which ended in one of the alleged drug dealers being hit by a car.

Roseville police received a report of a woman having been struck by a Jeep at 4:48 p.m. Oct. 20 in the 300 block of Gibson Drive, police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said.

After allegedly hitting the woman, the Jeep hit a power transformer box, causing an hour-long power outage on the street.

The people in the Jeep ran away, she said.

The 28-year-old Marysville woman suffered broken bones and other serious injuries and was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. She has since been released.

The police department's Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team investigated the case and discovered that the people involved had met in a parking lot on the street to complete a drug deal and argued over money. The Marysville woman, who is one of the suspected sellers, and another man walked away, Gunther said.

One of the men, Alex Jeffrey Childs, 20, of North Highlands, allegedly got into his Jeep, drove up onto the sidewalk, hit the woman with the vehicle and then hit the transformer box, she said.

On Friday, police arrested Childs (top left photo) on suspicion of attempted murder, attempted drug trafficking, conspiracy and violating probation. He is being held without bail in Placer County Main Jail in Auburn, according to online jail information.

Officers also arrested Thomas Jay Croff (middle photo), 24, of Yuba City, on Thursday. He is being held on $50,000 bail on suspicion of transportation and sales of narcotics, conspiracy and violating parole, according to online jail information.

Officers arrested John Wallace Lewis Jr. (right photo), 36, of Marysville, for a parole violation on Oct. 20. Lewis has been transferred to state custody, Gunther said.

Police have asked the Placer County District Attorney's Office to consider charging the other two people involved in the incident as well, she said.

From Sandy Louey:

Six masked men posing as federal agents are being sought in connection with a Loomis home-invasion robbery Saturday night in which they stole medicinal marijuana, officials said.

The incident took place shortly after 9 p.m. in a home on Swetzer Road when the men went into the unlocked home and ordered the occupants to lie on the floor. At least one of the men, who were wearing bandanas as masks, was armed with a handgun, according to a release from the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

The men ordered the occupants to lie on the floor and bound them with duct tape, the release said.

Between 10 to 20 pounds of marijuana were taken, including some processed marijuana and several marijuana plants, officials said.

The robbers left in a vehicle. The Sheriff's Department investigators have no leads on the identity of the robbers.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call (530) 886-5375.

Chuck Lavado.JPG Jolene Jones.JPG Christopher Hamman.JPG Margaret Brady 2.JPG

From Niesha Lofing and Sandy Louey:

Three young children were taken into protective custody and four people were arrested Tuesday after El Dorado County Sheriff's deputies busted a methamphetamine lab at an El Dorado home.

The children, whose ages ranged from 2 to 7 years old, lived with two adults in the modular home in the 3500 of White Oak Ridge Road where there was access to the drugs, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Bryan Golmitz said.

While serving a search warrant at the property, deputies found glass pipes, methamphetamine, scales and a small amount of marijuana in the house, he said.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

An inactive methamphetamine lab with glassware and chemicals was found in a detached garage on the property, Golmitz said.

A team from the California Justice Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement dismantled the lab, he said.

Chuck Lavado (left photo), 41, and Jolene Jones (second photo from left), 33, are each being held on $100,000 bail in the Placerville Main Jail on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of substances with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Christopher Hamman (third photo from left) , 32, and Margaret Brady (fourth photo from left), 25, are each being held on $119,000 bail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, willful cruelty to a child, manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of substances with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Brady is the mother of the three children.

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Federal officials said a 15-month undercover operation investigating the sale of illegal firearms and drug dealing has led to charges against 23 people in Washoe County, part of an investigation that put federal agents inside a notorious motorcycle gang and led to arrests in six states.

Six suspects, most affiliated with the Mongols Motorcycle Club, were arrested early Tuesday in Reno and 14 other people had been charged with crimes, said Tom Cannon, resident agent in charge of the Reno office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine and 75 weapons had been seized in the Reno area during Operation Domino, a sting that also involved Reno police, Washoe County sheriff's deputies and the district attorney's office.

Here's the full Gazette-Journal story.

From David Richie:

Roseville police ventured into Citrus Heights last week on a probation check, disrupting a suspected drug dealing operation in the 7400 block of Auburn Oaks Court, west of Auburn Boulevard, about a half mile from the city boundary.

The Vice and Narcotics Enforcement Team's main target was Robert Theodore Endres, 52, who is on probation out of Placer County.

When officers arrived at the apartment at about 12:10 a.m. Friday, they found Endres washing suspected methamphetamine down a sink. Officers recovered a small amount of suspected crank from the sink and from several locations in the apartment. They also confiscated a loaded gun, ammunition, drug packaging material and what police officials described as "a large amount of currency."

Endres was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, keeping a place to sell drugs, possessing drugs while armed, attempting to destroy or conceal evidence, and probation violation. He was released from the Placer County Jail the next day after posting a $25,000 bond.

Kenneth Lee Kinyon, 39, of Roseville was arrested on suspicion of possessing a hypodermic needle and visiting a place where controlled substances are illegally used. He was booked into the Roseville Police Department Jail and released on a citation to appear.

Jillian Marie Gedecke, 26, of Citrus Heights was arrested on suspicion of keeping a place to sell drugs, and released from the Placer County Jail on a citation to appear.

October 21, 2008
U.S. drug czar rips Prop. 5

From Andy Furillo:

The national drug czar came to Sacramento today to blast the Proposition 5 drug treatment initiative that he and opponents charge will undermine court-based treatment programs they say have succeeded over the past decade.

National Drug Control Policy director John Walters said at a press conference that Proposition 5 "will weaken our capacity to help people in the criminal justice system" who are being treated for their addiction still remain subject to punishment if they fail.

"We want to help people are addicted, but we also need to punish crime, otherwise addiction becomes an excuse and we encourage drug use and addiction as a way of avoiding the kind of punishment criminals needs," Walters said.

Yes on 5 spokeswoman Margaret Dooley-Sammuli called the initiative a "common sense response" to drug-related crime and blasted Walters as a spokesman for failed criminal justice policies.

"President Bush's drug czar has come to California to insist that we continue with the failed approach that has been so ineffective and crowded our prisons full of non-violent offenders," Dooley-Sammuli said.

The initiative would increase spending on drug programs by hundreds of millions a year and divert a range of offenders incarcerated on drug and property crimes out of prison and into treatment.

Proponents say the measure will lower prison costs by treating offenders as addicts instead of criminals. Opponents say that tack will give addicts more opportunity to commit crimes by reducing the accountability they would face in the criminal justice structure.

From Denny Walsh:

A drug dealer from Corning was sentenced Monday in Sacramento federal court to 24 1/2 years in prison for conspiracy, possession for distribution of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm during a drug transaction.

Ricardo Valencia Diaz, 31, was found guilty by a jury June 10, at the conclusion of a four-week trial.

A confederate, Sabas Miramontes, 27, of Colusa, was sentenced Monday to 12 years and seven months in prison. He pleaded guilty May 9 to a distribution conspiracy.

They are two of seven people charged with a narcotics trafficking conspiracy involving a late night meth deal in early 2007 at a Yuba City Wal-Mart parking lot.

According to prosecutors Philip Ferrari and Todd Pickles, evidence they introduced at trial detailed a negotiation of the deal between Miramontes and an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

On Feb. 24, 2007, six individuals, including Diaz, traveled from Corning to Yuba City with approximately four pounds of meth, the prosecutors said. Diaz and two others were in his pickup truck, along with an SKS military rifle and ammunition, they said.

Trial evidence established the trio was there to provide security for the meeting, and Diaz brought the rifle at the request of the conspiracy's leader, Victor Alvarado, according to Ferrari and Pickles.

Co-conspirators Margarito Caballero and Jose Luis Diaz were previously sentenced to 24 years and four months and 11 years and three months, respectively.

Two others are awaiting sentencing.

From Jennifer K. Morita:

A man armed with a handgun robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy Sunday evening on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville and escaped with a bag of highly addictive, prescription painkillers.

The robber approached the pharmacy counter around 5:15 p.m. and handed the pharmacist a note, demanding the narcotic OxyContin, while showing a handgun that was tucked in his waistband, according to police spokesperson Dee Dee Gunther.

The pharmacist gave him a bag of Oxycontin pills, and he left. No one was injured.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, approximately 5-feet 10-inches tall with a medium build. He had short, blond hair and facial stubble and was wearing a black baseball cap, gray hooded sweatshirt and black, basketball-style shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Roseville Police Investigations Unit at (916) 774-5070.

Editor's note: Notebook is an occasional series on slices of life found by The Bee's police reporters.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

This 9-year old boy dreams of playing pro football someday.

That's what he told Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Massagli as he stood watch over him and his family while other officers tore apart his South Sacramento home late last month looking for drugs.

While most kids his age were at school, he and his 13-year-old sister were caught in the middle of a raid. Someone at the house sold crack-cocaine to an undercover officer that afternoon and officers were inside the house looking for the rest of the stash.

There was no electricity in the house and even though the air stunk heavily of natural gas, several ashtrays were overflowing with cigarette butts. Checking inside the fridge, all one found was the acrid stench of rotten food.

"Is this a good place to stay?" Massagli asked.

The boy shook his head.

Massagli started into a pep talk with the boy, telling him that if he wants to play professional football, he's got to play in high school and college first. That means staying in school, he said.

But later Massagli doubted how much effect his words might have.

"It's such a minor influence," he said. "The greater influence is his mom and grandmother."

Both were arrested that day for felony child endangerment.

A Sacramento County Child Protective Services worker later took him and his sister away. Massagli said it'd be their best chance at a normal life.

"The best is to take him out of this mess and giving him a shot at what he wants to do," Massagli said.

A 10-year veteran of the department, Massagli said he's seen hundreds of kids like this boy in his career.

"This isn't uncommon," he said.

From Niesha Lofing:

Three men face narcotics charges in connection to a $750,000 marijuana growing operation in a south Sacramento County field.

The men were arrested after Shasta County Sheriff's deputies responded at about noon Wednesday to a report of suspicious activity in a field on the 9000 block of Grant Line Road, sheriff's Sgt. R.L. Davis stated in a news release.

Deputies found a large white van with several men inside in the field. As a sheriff's sergeant approached the vehicle, it sped off, Davis said.

The men abandoned the vehicle after a short pursuit. Several deputies and a K-9 team chased then apprehended and arrested the men without incident.

Deputies searching the van and field found several bags of marijuana and about 13,000 marijuana plants. The street value of the marijuana seized is $750,000, narcotics detectives say.

The men, who are 35, 38 and 44, were booked into Sacramento County Main Jail on several narcotics-related counts, Davis said. Their identities are being withheld at the request from investigators who don't want to divulge that information during the initial phase of the investigation, he said.

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police arrested three people Wednesday and took two children into protective custody during a probation search. The arrests occurred about 11:45 a.m. at a house in the 7000 block of Oak Spring Way, north of Antelope Road, between Interstate 80 and Rollingwood Boulevard.

Officers said they found approximately four ounces of suspected marijuana in plain sight and detected the strong odor of marijuana smoke throughout the house.

The children, a 4-year-old girl and 4-month-old boy, were also found during the search.

Officers arrested residents Christopher Michael Tolson, 31, and Stefani Lee Partin, 32, as well as a visitor, Jason Daniel Payton, 20, of Citrus Heights.

Tolson was booked Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and felony child endangerment.

Partin was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment but released from custody later that day.

Payton was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant.

From Niesha Lofing:

Five people were charged Thursday in connection with marijuana growing operations at homes throughout the Sacramento region.

A federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment against Tony Le, of Lincoln; Tien Le, of Sacramento; Hung Le, of Elk Grove; Cuong Le, of Sacramento; and Minh Le, of Sacramento. All were charged with conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants and manufacturing at least 1,000 marijuana plants, according to a news release by U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office.

The indictment alleges that from Nov. 1, 2006 to last week, the defendants conspired and manufactured marijuana plants in Placer and El Dorado counties.

An investigation commenced after Pacific Gas and Electric reported a possible power theft to the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

Federal and state search warrants were served at 10 houses in Foresthill, Auburn, Placerville, Lincoln, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Elk Grove and Sacramento, the release states.

Authorities uncovered active indoor marijuana grow operations in four homes and seized 3,364 marijuana plants. A fifth house contained the components for an indoor growing operation that appeared to have been harvested, the release states.

If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, the release states.

From Art Campos:

Roseville police seized 41 grams of methamphetamine and arrested three people during an undercover drug operation this week.

Department spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said one of the suspects agreed to sell an ounce of the drug and met with an undercover officer at 1:07 p.m. Tuesday.

Derek Alexander Hooks, 37, of Sacramento was taken into custody on suspicion of possession and transportation of the drug for sale and of conspiracy, Gunther said.

Two other people police believe to be working with Hooks were arrested nearby on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale and of conspiracy, she said. They were identified as Giovani Perez, 23, and Sonja Lynn Bailey, 43, both of Sacramento.

Hooks and Perez were held in the Placer County jail in Auburn on $250,000 bail. Bailey was released after posting $15,000 in bail.

Gunther said more than $1,000 in cash and drug paraphernalia also were seized when the arrests were made. The 41 grams of methamphetamine, or 1.4 ounces, had an estimated street value of $1,700, she said.

FL EDH PLANTS.JPGU.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday seized marijuana plants growing in a home in El Dorado Hills.
Florence Low/flow@sacbee.com.

From M.S. Enkoji:

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided three big-dollar marijuana growing operations this week inside some luxury homes in El Dorado Hills and Placerville.

The next day, Elk Grove police found more than 2,000 pot plants growing inside five tract houses in Elk Grove.

How do you know your neighbors are growing pot in their second-story study? A neglected house with painted windows was once a sure sign. Elk Grove Police Officer Chris Trim says rules of the game change as the culprits adapt.

New rules:

Don't assume that your neighborhood of expansive mansions with impeccable landscaping makes you immune to THE TROUBLE NEXT DOOR.

If you don't see the people next door for months at a time, it could mean TROUBLE NEXT DOOR.

If you're awakened by hammering and sawing or other ambitious interior construction activity during the night, TROUBLE NEXT DOOR could be building.

Vans and trucks could be delivering TROUBLE NEXT DOOR if they haul in an unusual amount of lighting equipment, irrigation supplies, air ducts and fans.

If neighbors generate so much trash it's thrown to the curb in stacks of plastic bags, it could be a sign of TROUBLE NEXT DOOR.

The best way to thwart TROUBLE NEXT DOOR is to introduce yourself to new neighbors, "get a read on them," Trim said.

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police have uncovered another network of suburban houses used for growing marijuana.

In the latest raids, which took place Wednesday, police served warrants on 12 houses in Elk Grove and Sacramento. Five of the houses, all in Elk Grove, contained indoor marijuana-growing operations.

More than 2,000 marijuana plants were confiscated from the five houses. The largest numbers of plants were found at 8643 Maranello Drive, which had 560, and 9105 Four Seasons Drive, which had 520.

Twelve arrests were made and four suspects still are at large, said Officer Christopher Trim, spokesman for the Elk Grove Police Department.

The raid came a day after an investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration uncovered pot houses in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and Placerville. More than 1,500 marijuana plants were seized and five people have been charged in that case.

Click here to read Louey's full story and see where the homes are located.

From David Richie:

More than 4,000 marijuana plants were hauled out of an illegal marijuana garden Wednesday morning off Wentworth Springs Road, near Stumpy Meadows Reservoir, El Dorado County sheriff's detectives said today.

The 7:30 a.m. raid also involved state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agents and police officers from a regional drug enforcement task force. The garden was spotted by sheriff's deputies doing aerial surveillance, said Sgt. Phil Chovanec, sheriff's office spokesman.

Two Mexican nationals, armed with loaded guns, were arrested, Chovanec said.

State narcotics enforcement agents took the suspects into custody and transported them to Sacramento.

Pot gardens also have been raided this summer in the Latrobe area and in the Eldorado National Forest near Ice House Reservoir.

Federal agents led a strike force earlier this week that attacked indoor growing operations in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and Placerville.

From David Richie and Sam Stanton:

In a series of raids, federal agents and police targeted three indoor marijuana growing operations in El Dorado Hills and Placerville on Tuesday, serving eight search warrants and arresting six suspects in what was described as a "family-based" operation.

Indoor marijuana raids have become so common in quiet suburban neighborhoods of the region that they hardly merit headlines. But this operation was different, authorities say.

"This is a three-level home and backs up to an elementary school," Gordon Taylor, special agent in charge of the Sacramento office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said outside the home at 349 Arches Ave. "This is the first time we've seen this kind of operation in such a high-end neighborhood."

Here is the full Bee story.

From David Richie:

A Citrus Heights police officer followed his nose from a routine traffic stop to a pot and weapons bust.

A patrol officer stopped a vehicle driven by Amos Lee Howard, 26, on Sylvan Road, north of Greenback Lane about 3:30 p.m. Friday, investigators said. The officer smelled marijuana, searched Howard, and came up with a roll of about $1,600 in cash, police said.

A search of the vehicle turned up an unspecified amount of suspected marijuana in three bags along with a loaded handgun that was not registered to Howard, police said.

Officers then obtained a search warrant for Howard's home in the 4000 block of New York Avenue, Fair Oaks.

They said they found more marijuana, weight scales and the unloaded assault rifle.

Howard remained in Sacramento County Main Jail Monday, facing the possibility of multiple felony charges including suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale and suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

El Dorado County Sheriff's Office deputies, in conjunction with officers from Amador County Sheriff's Department deputies and officers from the California Department of Justice, have seized about 326 pounds of marijuana in the Cameron Park area of El Dorado County, investigators said Friday.

The bust was the result of a two-month investigation, according to a press release from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. Officers served three search warrants on Sacramento area homes and one on a grow-operation in the Ice House area of the Eldorado National Forest, the release said. About 3,000 marijuana plants were cut in the Ice House operation, the release said.

In all, ten people were arrested in the sweep on various charges, the release said. No specific details were given and calls for more information were not immediately answered.

Deputies estimate the value of the seized marijuana to have a street-value of $460,000.

From the Associated Press:

Five suspects were arrested Friday as part of a federal investigation into an illegal prescription drug ring involving civilian workers at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong.

The arrests were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the Lassen County Narcotics Task Force, the FBI, the ATF and the Sierra Army Depot, where three of the suspects were working and a fourth formally worked, the FBI said.

A Susanville couple, Jim Adams, 48, and Tricia Adams, 39, allegedly were at the center of the ring, the FBI said. They have been charged federally with the illegal sale of Schedule II prescription narcotics consisting primarily of Oxycontin, Percocet and Hydrocodone.

Undercover agents made several purchases of the drugs directly from Jim Adams, a former employee of the depot, the FBI said in a statement from its Sacramento bureau. The charges accuse Tricia Adams of serving as the main supplier of the drugs while continuing to work at the depot, where munitions and military equipment have been stored since 1942.

Also arrested were Jacob Lahr, 25, of Doyle, and Markey Walker, 29, and Jerry Goodman, 41, both of Susanville. They face unspecified state charges, the FBI said.

Investigators and police officers from the Sierra Army Depot initially brought the case to the attention of federal authorities after determining that a drug ring was being operated by base employees. Lahr and Walker also work at the base.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, Plumas County Sheriff's Office, Susanville Police Department and Lassen Interagency SWAT team were among a total of 75 who also assisted in serving seven search warrants in connection with the arrests.

From Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento man could be sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to his fifth drug crime.

David Brown Jr., 28, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, a news release from U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office states.

Brown was arrested in January after Sacramento Problem Oriented Policing officers assigned to Oak Park spotted him at Eighth Avenue and San Jose Way.

Brown, known to police as a drug felon, parolee and neighborhood drug dealer, spotted the officers, threw down a bag containing more than 40 grams of crack cocaine before being arrested, prosecutors said.

Brown faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.

Brown is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Nov. 6.

From Denny Walsh:

Federal and local authorities said Thursday they have broken the backs of three dope peddling organizations with five grand jury indictments naming 33 people in the distribution of methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana throughout the Central Valley, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Alaska.

"This string of indictments strikes a serious blow to major methamphetamine trafficking in the Sacramento region and beyond," said U. S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Investigators seized more than four pounds of methamphetamines, 13,000 ecstasy pills, 1,350 marijuana plants, more than $75,000 in cash, body armor and 11 firearms, including a Tech-9 machine pistol.

The amount of meth and number of pot plants hikes the maximum sentence upon conviction to life without parole and a 10-year mandatory minimum.

The charges culminate an extensive investigation by the Sacramento High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, a specialized and federally-funded team comprised of Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, agents from the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Sacramento and Folsom police officers, and Sacramento County Probation Department agents.

The task force worked the cases with the assistance of meth enforcement, gang suppression and SWAT units from the Sheriff's Department, and drug investigators in Milwaukee, Anchorage, Illinois, and the counties of Yuba, Sutter, Nevada and Placer.

"This operation was an excellent example of how the use of narcotics task forces and inter-agency cooperation can be an effective tool in taking down major drug rings," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Capt. Elizabeth Kelly.

Charged in the five indictments are 18 people from Sacramento: Jorge Reyes, 29; Adam Reyes, 37; Juan Alvarez, 30; David Navarro, 37; Majeid Bajmanlo, 28; Steven Lopez, 37; Juan Rizo, 29; Thomas Garcia, 33; Sarah Lancaster, 29; Ashley Rymer, 23; Victor Ceja, 22; Khamsou Sida, 30; Keoudone Phaouthoum, 36; Koutkeo Thi, 32; Zi Lei, 38; De Yang, 24; Komalla Xayadeth, 36, and Loretta Canham, 45.

Five people from Elk Grove are charged: Ruben Olsen, 30; John Li, 36; Son Nguyen, 38; Thanh Nguyen, 33, and Ting Thavisak, 35.

Also charged are Bounthavee Nerasin, 43; Pamouane Pan Phonephackdy, 33; and Vy You, 31, from Michigan; David Forkner, 38; and Steven Talbot, 47, from Nevada County; Juan Abarca-Catalan, 40; and Tuy Nguyen, 23, from Vallejo; Philip Garcia, 29, from West Sacramento; Michael Joseph, 30, from Marysville, and Joshua Like, 20, from Anchorage.

A Sacramento man was one of six men arrested in York, Pa., last week during a drug bust in which 50 pounds of marijuana was confiscated, the York Dispatch reports.

Kevin J. Leary, 26, of Sacramento was arrested along with five others in a raid in which police seized the marijuana, about $15,000 cash, seven high-end vehicles, three guns, a bulletproof vest and suspected steroids, according to state police Cpl. Craig Fenstermacher.

Fenstermacher said when police burst into suspect Joshua S. Lindsey's home about 9:15 p.m. Aug. 21, they found men sorting through 50 separate 1-pound packages of pot. The men were arrested on felony marijuana possession with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy.

Here is the full York Dispatch story.


From Denny Walsh:

A drug peddler from Corning was sentenced Monday in Sacramento federal court to 24 years and four months in prison for conspiracy and possession for distribution of at least 500 grams of methamphetamine.

Margarito Ramirez Caballero, 36, was found guilty by a jury June 10.

The quantity of drugs, the presence of a firearm and Caballero's perjury during the trial were determining factors in the lengthy sentence.

In imposing it, U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said it is "unquestionably the case that the defendant intentionally misled the jury," was "more involved than he was willing to admit" and was "deeply involved in the conspiracy."

According to prosecutors Philip Ferrari and Todd Pickles, six men met in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Yuba City just before midnight Feb. 24, 2007 to sell about 4 pounds of meth to an undercover informant. Once they displayed their product to the informant, federal narcotics agents moved in for the arrests.

Testimony established Caballero was at the scene to provide security and drove a pickup truck carrying two others, a military rifle and ammunition.

Five men are scheduled for sentencing on various dates in September and October.

Charges against a seventh were thrown out by Damrell at the trial.

From David Richie:

Citrus Heights police put the pressure on a suspected marijuana grower and closed down a suspected methamphetamine house during two separate actions late last week.

Patrol deputies went to a duplex in the 7700 block of Pompei Court, south of Antelope Road, Friday to serve a felony arrest warrant on Kevin Allan Radder, 31, officials said. A marijuana cultivation charge had been filed against Radder in late June when officers discovered a large number of plants at that address.

During their visit Friday, officers spotted about 73 more plants - some up to 5 feet tall in the backyard and shorter plants inside, along with lights and other equipment. Radder was booked into Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.

Complaints from neighbors about suspected drug activity led Special Investigations Unit officers to a house in the 7200 block of Geowood Way about 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Officers were armed with a search warrant.

During the search they turned up just more than three grams of suspected methamphetamine, along with weight scales, cash, a shotgun, shotgun shells and other indications of drug sales activity.

Christopher Wendel Torscher, 47, and Paul Michael Kirk, 28, were both arrested on suspicion of maintaining a house where controlled substances are used or sold. Kirk also was booked on suspicion of possession of controlled substances for sale because much of the evidence was found in his room.

Although the amount seized was relatively small, the action is still important, officials said.

"Most of our cases are generated from tips we receive from residents," said Sgt. Doug Fletcher, SIU supervisor. "That kind of illegal activity can really have an impact on the quality of life in a neighborhood."

From the Merced Sun-Star:

A UC Merced graduate student close to earning a Ph.D in chemistry was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Jason West, 36, was arrested at his home in the 100 block of Castle Drive in Atwater, Merced County sheriff's officials said.

Authorities believe West stole more than $10,000 worth of chemicals and equipment from a UC Merced lab, which he used to cook methamphetamine, said deputy Ed Katen.

Here's the full Sun-Star story.

From Chelsea Phua:

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 13 members of a large-scale drug organization that operated in several states along the West Coast, authorities said.

Those indicted are all illegal immigrants from Mexico and operated acres of growth operations on federal and state lands, officials said.

Prosecutors say that one of the men indicted, Hubert Mario Ramirez, 24, of Stockton, financed two large marijuana plots - one on federal Bureau of Land Management land in western El Dorado County and one on Clementine State Park near Auburn in Placer County.

About $5 million to $6 million worth of marijuana and $60,000 to $70,000 worth of methamphetamine were seized when the men were arrested on July 30.

The charges include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture more than 1,000 plants of marijuana, manufacturing more than 1,000 plants of marijuana, conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

One of them, Adrian Ortega-Diaz, 39, of Stockton, was also charged with being a deported alien found in the United States.

From Niesha Lofing:

A Sacramento woman has been arrested in connection with her 2-month-old daughter's death, who died after ingesting a lethal dose of methamphetamines, investigators said Thursday.

Maureen Hoffart, 45, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of endangering a child causing death in January and is being held without bail in Sacramento County Jail, Sgt. Matt Young said.

Sacramento firefighters found the dead baby girl after responding to a medical aid call at the home in the 2500 block of 38th Avenue at 8:20 a.m. Jan. 1, he said.

Nothing suspicious was noted at the time, but the infant's body was turned over the Sacramento County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.

Coroners eventually determined that the baby had a lethal dose of methamphetamines in her system, and homicide investigators assigned to the case believe the baby ingested the drugs as a result of the mother's actions, Young said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Hoffart and she was taken into custody.

Further details were not available.

Check back at www.sacbee.com for details.

From Niesha Lofing:

A longtime Oak Park crack dealer was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in federal prison.

Harvey Lee Sewell, 45, of Sacramento, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to 10 years federal supervised release, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Sewell was found guilty of five counts of conspiracy and distribution of crack cocaine by a federal jury in February.

Evidence introduced during the trial showed that from August 2005 to January 2006, Sewell was the "architect" of a crack cocaine distribution ring responsible for selling thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine each day in south Sacramento, federal prosecutors said.

Sewell ran his crack business from motel rooms along Stockton Boulevard, the release states.

During that time, Sewell traveled to Oakland and Richmond to obtain up to 15 ounces of powder cocaine from his drug suppliers and then took the cocaine to a "stash pad" at a motel near the Arden Fair mall, the release states. Once at the motel, Sewell would convert the powder cocaine into crack cocaine. He then packaged the crack and delivered the large packages to his "crew members" in the Stockton Boulevard motel, the release states.

During the trial, witnesses described Sewell, known as "JR," as a well-known, longtime drug dealer in Oak Park who also distributed large quantities of methamphetamine.

Sewell's criminal history includes three felony convictions for crack cocaine sales and one robbery conviction, the release states.

The case was investigated by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sacramento High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

From Chelsea Phua:

A major cocaine supplier in Sacramento has been sentenced to 16 and a half years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott's office said Monday.

Prosecutors say Eddie Houston Jr., 36, of Sacramento, will also be supervised for 10 years following his release.

Houston pleaded guilty to a three-part conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, to possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine and to manufacture crack cocaine on March 3, authorities said.

Prosecutors say Houston supplied large quantities of crack cocaine to drug dealers and users in the neighborhoods of Del Paso Heights, Oak Park, Meadowview and the Dos Rios Public Housing Complex in downtown Sacramento.

Houston admitted to using a residence in the 3000 block of Cactus Way to cook powder cocaine into crack cocaine, to store the drug and conduct sales.

More than a year ago, a search conducted at Houston's place yielded what authorities called the largest crack cocaine seizure by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Sacramento region, officials said.

DEA agents and Sacramento police officers recovered about seven pounds of crack cocaine worth $250,000, two pounds of power cocaine, cooking instruments and ingredients, digital scales and an electronic money-counting machine.

They also found $12,000 in cash on Houston, a validated gang member, when he was stopped a few blocks away in a Jaguar.

U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said Houston had caused a lot of pain and suffering for a lot of families and deserved a "big-time" sentence.

From Art Campos:

Roseville police said they seized 4.5 ounces of methamphetamine and "a large amount of cash" when they arrested two people Sunday.

The incident unfolded at 12:39 p.m. when an officer contacted a man in a parking lot in the 1000 block of Lead Hill Boulevard and determined he had an outstanding felony warrant out of Sacramento, said police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.

They also talked to the man's wife, who was in the area, and police then searched the couple's vehicle and hotel room, where the drugs and the cash were found, she said.

Booked on suspicion of possession and transportation of illegal drugs and child endangerment were Matthew Strickland, 27, and Tiffany Ann Lebeau, 28, both of Orangevale.

Gunther said the methamphetamine had a street value of about $7,650 and that the cash was in the "thousands."

On the SacPD's "Ask Officer Michelle" blog, Officer Michelle Lazark responds to a citizen who asks who asks how a landlord should report suspected drug dealing by renters anonymously to police.

Lazark responds:

This is such a common problem. I get questions about this all the time. The best thing is to call our narcotics division and give them information about the narcotics activity. Let them know where this is happening, a physical description of the suspect(s), any vehicles including license plates, or any other pertinent information that may be useful for investigators. Additionally, there is a Problem Oriented Policing (POP) team that works in your area. You may want to let them know what is happening. This is a long-term problem. The way to the long-term solution is to work with our specialized units. The number for our narcotic tip line is 264-5796.

If the crime is in progress, you could call dispatch at 264-5471, and have a unit sent out right away. But as I said before, these are usually long term problems and require more investigation. You get more "bang for your buck" this way. You not only want to get the street dealer, you want to get the supplier and shut down the whole operation. I worked narcotics for many years. We investigated citizen complaints such as yours all the time and often times the callers were anonymous. It would be much more helpful to investigators if you gave your name and number just in case they have any follow up questions. The more they know the problems (dogs, kids, guns, type of drugs involved, time of day, etc), in your area, the better.

From Sandy Louey:

Elk Grove police arrested two men Thursday night after a pursuit on Highway 99.

Officers attempted to stop Alex Surita, 21, at 8:21 p.m. on Elk Grove Boulevard for a vehicle code violation. He initially yielded, but sped off as officers approached his vehicle, according to a police report.

Surita then drove onto northbound Highway 99 to evade officers. The passenger in the vehicle, Thomas Patino, 23, was seen throwing marijuana out the vehicle during the pursuit, the report said.

Surita pulled over at Highway 99 and Bond Road. Marijuana was found in the vehicle, the report said.

Both men were arrested on suspicion of transporting marijuana, possession of more than one ounce of marijuana and conspiracy.

Surita also was arrested on suspicion of possession of concentrated cannabis, attempting to evading a pursuing peace officer and a warrant.

Patino was also arrested for violating probation.

Both men, who are ineligible for bail, remained in Sacramento County Main Jail today. Their court appearance is Monday.

Adolfo Baza-Lorenzo (45).jpg Ciro Ortega-Martinez (26).jpg Idalia Nieves (26).jpg Jesus Corrales-Cavillo (25).jpg

Jesus Guzman-Anaya (35).jpg Jose Ortiz-Barrera (25).jpg Manuel Hernandez-Nava (29).jpg Maria Martinez-Reyes (26).jpg

Arrested were, top, from left: Adolfo Baza-Lorenzo, Ciro Ortega-Martinez, Idalia Nieves and Jesus Corrales-Calvill; bottom, from left: Jesus Guzman-Anaya, Jose Ortiz-Barrera, Manuel Hernandez-Nava and Maria Martinez-Reyes

From Niesha Lofing:

Authorities arrested eight people this week in connection to making methamphetamines at a house in the Meadowview area and also placed six children found at the home in protective custody.

During a surveillance operation Tuesday, detectives with the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Taskforce saw the suspects carrying items used to manufacture methamphetamines from a vehicle to the rear-yard of a home in the 2600 block of 65th Avenue, Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran stated in a news release.

Detectives also saw children entering and leaving the home, Curran said.

Fearing for the health and safety of the children, detectives entered the home and detained the residents, Curran said.

Detectives found a shed containing all of the items necessary to produce several pounds of methamphetamine, as well as two firearms and a half-ounce of methamphetamine, he said.

Six children, all under the age of 10, were placed in protective custody.

Jesus Guzman-Anaya, 35, Ciro Ortega-Martinez, 26, Idalia Nieves, 26, Maria Martinez-Reyes, 26, Jesus Corrales-Calvill, 25, Jose Ortiz-Barrera, 25, Adolfo Baza-Lorenzo, 45, and Manuel Hernandez-Nava, 29, were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of precursors of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for sale and child endangerment.

They are all being held without bail in Sacramento County Main Jail.

The California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Taskforce is composed of representatives from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento County Probation Department, Citrus Heights Police Department and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.

A community discussion on drug awareness is scheduled April 2 at Del Oro High School in Loomis.

The Placer County Sheriff's Department provides more information:

Two Yolo County drug suspects involved into a high-speed chase and rollover crash Monday night on Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights might not have known much about the city's layout.

One of them ran from the crash scene and was taken into custody in the city's Fountain Square government complex, just a few doors down from the Citrus Heights police station.

David Richie provides more details:



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