Sacto 9-1-1

Despite 42 officers out the door of the Sacramento Police Department, most residents likely won't notice a big difference right away: There are the same number of black-and-whites patrolling the streets today as there were last week.

Where the difference is most likely to be felt, officials say, is in the wake of a crime.

"For the most part, you won't notice any difference in the streets," said police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong. "However, what you'll notice primarily is (the difference in) what we follow up on."

This week, 42 police officers and 66 non-sworn employees - such as forensic investigators and community service officers - turned in their badges and equipment. As a result, significant changes in police services are effective today, the start of the fiscal year.

By Andy Furillo

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Greta Curtis Fall today sentenced reputed street gang member Marcus Scott Jr. to life in prison with no chance of parole for murdering a man two years ago.

Scott, 22, was convicted last month in the Dec. 15, 2009, gang-related shooting death of Perrell Marquis Waters, 19.

The sentences on two co-defendants in the case, Marquel Lamar Dixon, 18, and Ronald Delano Grant, 21, were continued.

Gang graffiti was found sprayed at two Woodland parks on Wednesday.

Police officers were dispatched to City Park, 639 Cleveland St., about 3:40 p.m. There they found the park's restroom and a storage shed had been spray-painted with gang graffiti.

By Andy Furillo

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Juan Carlos Carranco of second-degree murder in the fatal Oct. 31, 2009, shooting of Carlos Cervantes Jr. at a party in the south area.

Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan scheduled the sentencing on the 18-year-old Carranco, a reputed street gang member, for June 24.

Cervantes, 23, died nearly four weeks after the shooting on Clover Manor Way.

A 20-year-old man suspected in gang involvement was booked into the Yolo County Jail early today for investigation of felony auto theft and other charges following a brief police chase through a residential area of the city, Woodland Police said.

The chase started at 11:25 p.m. Saturday and culminated in the injury of the suspect as he was apprehended with the aid of a police K-9 dog. Two other suspects fled the scene, according to police.

The injured suspect, Armando Mendoza of Woodland, was taken to Davis Sutter Hospital for treatment before his booking. An officer, also injured, was taken by ambulance to Woodland Memorial Hospital, treated and later released.

Aviles.jpgNava.jpgThe Sacramento County Sheriff's Department announced that three known gang members were arrested Wednesday in connection with a rash of graffiti incidents in the Arden Arcade area.

Dana Aviles (left), 18, Jesus Nava (right), 19,and a 14-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and participation in criminal street gang activity, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

Nava and Aviles were booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail and the 14-year-old was booked at Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.


The Sacramento Sheriff's Department identified Marvin Barksdale, 22, as the gunman accused of leading the California Highway Patrol on a chase Friday, before holing up in an audio business.

Barksdale is a validated gang member, officials said.

The Sheriff's Department responded at 5:24 p.m. Friday to aid the CHP with a pursuit.

The name of the man killed in a bloody knifing outside a pot dispensary in South Sacramento on Wednesday has been released this morning by the Sacramento County Coroner.

The man was identified as Jesus A. Galvan-Mendoza, 24, of Sacramento.

Galvan-Mendoza was one of three victims stabbed outside the R&R Wellness Center on Quinta Court near Stockton Boulevard. Two of the victims went by private vehicle to a local hospital, including Galvan-Mendoza, who was pronounced dead at 12:04 p.m.

Two men were sentenced today in connection with a 2008 gang-related shooting.

Lue Thao, 22, was sentenced by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raul Thorbourne to 27 years to life in prison after being found guilty by a jury of premeditated attempted murder, shooting into an inhabited motor vehicle and assault with a firearm.

Co-defendant Alex Lee, 20, was sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and firing into an inhabited vehicle.

20090619-131.pdf - Adobe Reader.JPGA Sacramento County jury has found 24-year-old Roy Houston guilty of murder in a Feb. 17, 2005 shooting that prosecutors have described as a gang-retaliation killing.

Slain in the North Sacramento shooting was 21-year-old Donald McCall. Jurors also found Houston guilty of the attempted murder of Randall Hudson and Joseph McCoy, and found to be true the special circumstances of using a firearm, shooting from a car and committing the crime on behalf of a gang.

For a separate March 2005 incident, jurors also convicted Houston of the attempted murder of Kenneth Bell. They found to be true special circumstances of using a firearm and shooting at an occupied vehicle.

By Melody Gutierrez

Hundreds of teens from area high schools are set to stage a peace rally Friday at Cesar Chavez Park on 10th and J streets.

Various campuses throughout Sacramento have hosted peace-related events all week to raise awareness about gang violence and in teen crime victims.

The event is hosted by the Sacramento Youth Commission and will begin at noon on Friday.

Students from Hiram Johnson, McClatchy, Grant, Luther Burbank and St. Francis will be participating with County Supervisor Phil Serna.

Call The Bee's Melody Gutierrez, (916) 326-5521. Follow her on Twitter @MelodyGutierrez.

By Andy Furillo

A Sacramento jury today convicted two members of a North Highlands street gang of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 2008 Halloween Night party host.

Gunman Elijah Rasean Fields, 20, and fellow Monk Mobb gang member Corey Andre Carmicle, 24, also were convicted of three additional counts of attempted murder in the Nov. 1, 2008, shooting that killed Patrick Razaghzadeh, 24.

"Relief," said Trish O'Connor, the mother of the murder victim, after the verdict was announced. "I feel like there was justice and resolution. There is no closure. There is never going to be closure. But there is justice."

By Andy Furillo

An admitted gang member testified today that "I pulled a gun out and shot with my eyes closed" when he killed the host of a 2008 Halloween Night party in the La Riviera-Larchmont Park area.

"I mean it just happened," Elijah Rasean Fields, 20, told a Sacramento Superior Court jury. "I don't really see it in my mind. I know it just happened."

Patrick Razaghzadeh, 24, was hit five times from the bullets fired from Fields' handgun, including once in the forehead. He fell to the pavement and died in the back yard of the house he and some buddies had been renting on Rogue River Drive.

clip_image002.jpgBy Bill Lindelof

A Roseville gang member has been sentenced to 36 years to life in state prison by a Placer County judge who noted the defendant had spent nearly 80 percent of his adult life in custody.

Jose Vincent Rubal Jr. (left), 39, received the sentence Tuesday after Superior Court Judge Jeff Penney denied his motion to dismiss prior serious offenses in hopes of getting a lighter prison term. Rubal is a "three-strikes" offender. (California's three-strikes law allows harsher sentences for repeat felons.)

At least two of his prior crimes involved assaults with a knife. The judge figured that Rubal has spent 6,350 days of his adult life in custody, according to a press release from the Placer County District Attorney's office.

By Andy Furillo

A judge ordered a juror today to allow Facebook to turn over his in-trial postings to the court to determine if the panelist was prejudiced in a recent Sacramento gang-beating trial.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny said in his order that he "must investigate" the postings as a result of the juror's misconduct of discussing the case publicly in violation of a judicial admonition not to do so.

Kenny's order circumvents a constitutional issue that arose in his courtroom. Facebook had contended that it was precluded by the federal Stored Communications Act of releasing the postings without the juror's consent. Attorneys for the defendants in the Killa Mobb gang trial said the company's position ran up against their clients' right to a fair trial.

By Matt Kawahara

Two Sacramento teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after they allegedly ran down a rival gang member in their car Friday night, a Lodi police spokesman said.

Around 6 p.m. Friday, a 19-year-old male and a 16-year-old male were driving in Lodi when they spotted a member of a rival gang, said Lodi Police Department spokesman Sgt. Doug Chinn.

They struck the 16-year-old Lodi teen with their car near the intersection of Garfield and Tokay streets and dragged him about 460 feet, first on top of the car, then under it, Chinn said.

By Andy Furillo

Prosecutors scored their first conviction in a fatal Halloween Night 2008 party shooting when one of three remaining "Monk Mobb" murder defendants pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Carlos "Scarecrow" Allen, 19, entered his plea in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Joseph Orr, in an arrangement worked out between Deputy District Attorney Andrew Solomon and defense lawyer Kevin J. Adamson.

Orr set Allen's sentencing date for March 11. Allen faces 11 years for the manslaughter, plus another eight months in a separate guilty plea to being an accessory to an unrelated drive-by shooting in 2009.

By Cathy Locke

A screening of the youth documentary "Heart of Stone" will be held at Sacramento's Guild Theater on Oct. 27 as part of an effort to reduce gang violence and improve academic success among students at area high schools.

The screening is sponsored by the Youth Development Network, a regional nonprofit organization that provides training and networking support to agencies that work with and advocate for youth.

"This story based on a high school principal in New Jersey who engages the black and Jewish alumni of his school to fight back against an influx of gangs on the campus has important life lessons for Sacramento about the power of using gang leaders to become problem-solvers in our high schools," Adrian Ruiz, Youth Development Network co-director, said in a news release.

"Heart of Stone" documents the efforts of high school principal Ron Stone to engage students and the community to help turn around a school that was overcome by violence.

The film has won numerous honors including the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival, the Jury Award for Best Documentary at Cinequest Film Festival and the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award.

The Oct. 27 screening will begin at 6 p.m. at the Guild Theater, 2828 35th St., Sacramento, with registration at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for youth. Advance online registration is available at A limited number of free tickets are available for youths upon request.

The film's director, Beth Toni Kruvant, will answer questions from the audience following the screening. A panel including Mary Struhs, Healthy Start coordinator at Hiram Johnson High School, and Capt. Daniel Hahn of the Sacramento Police Department, as well as student and alumni representatives from area schools will discuss education and gang issues.

For more information, call the Youth Development Network office at (916) 228-2227.

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

By Andy Furillo

A fourth defendant has been convicted in a North Sacramento gang killing from three years ago.

David Moses Ballesteros, 23, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Friday in the Aug. 19, 2007, shooting death of Stephen Matthew "Bo" Clay, 25, on Eleanor Avenue.

Sacramento Superior court Judge Greta Curtis Fall scheduled the sentencing on Ballesteros for Nov. 5.

A separate jury returned first-degree murder convictions last week on Hector Jaime Garcia, 26, Edward Garcia, 23, and Manuel Alvarez Jr., 25.

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

By Carlos Alcala

Sacramento Police are investigating the events that preceded a strange accident that sent several people to the hospital early today.

A white GMC Yukon eastbound on X Street flipped over near Alhambra Boulevard shortly before 2 a.m., police reported.

Officers found six people outside the vehicle, three with major injuries. They were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Police determined one of the car's occupants also had a gunshot wound in his arm. It was not known whether the gunshot victim was the driver or a passenger.

A gun was found amid debris from the accident, and two of the vehicle's occupants were "validated gang members," said Sgt. Norm Leong.

The cause of the accident is unknown.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcala, (916) 321-1987.

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By Bill Lindelof

A disagreement at a Folsom Boulevard bar ended up with a rock- and bottle-throwing incident on the freeway.

Sacramento police said that a fight at a bar in the 8400 block of Folsom Boulevard spilled onto westbound Highway 50 about 2 a.m.

Rocks and bottles were thrown as the cars made their way down the freeway, police said. Police were also told that two vehicles were stopped on the freeway near the Highway 99 interchange and the occupants of the cars were fighting.

One car was gone when officers arrived, and victims in the other vehicle did not cooperate fully, police said.

Three occupants of the vehicle that remained at the scene when police arrived were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The fight might be gang related, police said.

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

By Andy Furillo

A Sacramento teenager convicted of voluntary manslaughter in a gang-related shooting death two years ago was sentenced today to 26 years in prison.

Marvel Barksdale, 17, received the term from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley for the Aug. 22, 2008, killing of 16-year-old Robert Haynes at a house party in Meadowview.

Barksdale got only six years for the manslaughter, but Frawley sentenced him to 10 years for carrying out the shooting in furtherance of street gang activity and 10 more years for use of the firearm.

Three other teenagers were injured in the shooting on Detroit Avenue, at the party attended by more than 50 youths.

The night of the shooting, Haynes, a projected starter on the Sacramento High School football team, told his mother he was going to the State Fair.

Witnesses said that Barksdale, then a sophomore at Foothill High School, showed up at the party with friends from the Guttah Boys gang.

They gathered in the backyard at the party and then stormed inside after the Fourth Avenue Bloods gang contingent arrived.

One witness testified he saw a gunshot-like flash come from Barksdale's side as the Guttah Boys ran into the house through a sliding glass door. A .32-caliber bullet, meanwhile, struck Haynes in the back of the head and killed him.

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

By Andy Furillo

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Marvel Barksdale of voluntary manslaughter in the gang-related shooting death of Robert Haynes two years ago at a house party in Meadowview.

Barksdale, who is now 17 years old, was 15 at the time of the Aug. 22, 2008, party in which Haynes, 16, was felled by a bullet during a shootout between the Fourth Avenue Bloods of Oak Park and the Guttah Boys from Meadowview.

Prosecutors had charged Barksdale with first-degree murder. But in spite of the manslaughter verdict, the defendant still faces substantial prison time at his scheduled Aug. 12 sentencing in front of Judge Timothy M. Frawley.

In addition to the 11 years Barksdale is facing for the voluntary manslaughter conviction, he is likely to be sentenced to 10 years under an allegation found true by the jury that he shot Haynes for the benefit of a street gang.

Another sentencing enhancement could add three, five or 10 years to Barksdale's term, the result of the jury's additional finding that he personally used a firearm.

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

By Andy Furillo

A Sacramento street gang member convicted of first-degree murder for killing a rival during a shootout two years ago has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, online court records show.

Billy Saechao was sent to the Department of Corrections on Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Laurie M. Earl for the killing of Koua Lee, 20.

An estimated 40 shots were fired in the battle between two street gangs March 21, 2008, on Millroy Way in south Sacramento.

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

By Cathy Locke

A Woodland man, identified as a member of the Norteno Criminal Street Gang, has been sentenced to 38 years and 8 months to life in state prison after being convicted of robbery, assault with a firearm and attempting to dissuade a witness.

Anthony Vasquez, 22, was sentenced by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall on Friday.

On May 5, 2008, Vasquez arranged to buy marijuana from the victim, according to an Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

When the victim arrived to make the sale, Vasquez got into the back of the victim's car. When the victim began to show him the marijuana, Vasquez grabbed the marijuana and shot the victim in the chest from the back seat.

Vasquez then returned to a party he had been attending earlier. The victim underwent hours of surgery to repair damage from the bullet that pierced his lung, the news release says.

Authorities located Vasquez six months later hiding in a local hotel room.

On July 4, 2009, days before a scheduled preliminary hearing in the case, a correctional officer at the jail found a letter written by Vasquez. The letter was smuggled out of jail by an inmate who was being released from custody.

In the letter Vasquez admitted shooting the victim and asked that some of his "homies" let witnesses know that they should not attend his trial and that they should say he was not present at the time of the shooting, the news release says.

The jury found Vasquez guilty of robbery with intentional use and discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury and attempting to dissuade a witness. The jury also found that the crimes we committed for benefit of a criminal street gang.

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

By Andy Furillo

The defendant in a purported gang slaying at a Meadowview house party two years ago took the witness stand today and denied that he had anything to do with it.

"I ain't never went in...I stayed back," Marvel Barksdale testified in Sacramento Superior Court, saying that he remained in the backyard when shooting broke out in the living room of the party house on Detroit Avenue.

Two witnesses at the trial identified the 17-year-old defendant as the shooter and a third said she saw him with a gun at the party on the Aug. 22, 2008, night when Robert Haynes was shot to death.

Police and prosecutors say the fatal shooting resulted from a dispute between the Meadowview-based Guttah Boys and the Fourth Avenue Bloods of Oak Park.

Haynes, 16, had been affiliated with "FAB," but had been more focused on sports and academics at Sacramento High School at the time of his death, school officials said.

Barksdale denied being a member of the Guttah Boys. He said he was affiliated, however, with G-Mobb that serves as a south area umbrella gang that includes elements of the Guttah Boys, law enforcement officials say.

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

Previous coverage:

Fourth reluctant witness jailed in Sacramento gang shooting trial - May 22, 2010

By Robert D. Davila

A team of state and local law enforcement officers fanned out today to arrest as many as 34 gang members in Yuba, Sutter and Sacramento counties in a major bust led by the state Department of Justice.

CT photo 5.jpgguns.jpgThe suspects were named in arrest warrants being served on validated members of the Norteño and Sureño gangs, said Michelle Gregory of the department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and Gang Suppression Team. The warrants charge suspects with homicide, drug possession, drug trafficking and other crimes. (Photo at left is of weapons and ammuniiton seized in the raid. Photo is courtesy of the State DOJ.)

The crackdown followed a series of homicides and retaliatory attacks by the rival gangs that escalated following the killing in the Yuba City area in January, Gregory said. Since then, law enforcement officials discovered gang members were gaining a foothold in Sutter and Yuba counties to distribute methamphetamine from Mexico, she said.

"They're trying to embed themselves in these communities and bring in the drugs and weapons," Gregory said. "We're out here to make sure they don't do that."

Most of those arrested today belonged to the Norteño gang, Gregory said. Participating law enforcement agencies included local police, sheriff's departments and state agencies.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Davila, (916) 321-1077.

By Cathy Locke

The state of California is making $6 million in grants available to expand education, job training and placement programs for young street gang members or youths who may be prone to join gangs as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Initiative, or CalGRIP.

"These grants will offer at-risk youth throughout California a chance to turn their backs on a life of crime and become contributing members of their communities," Gov. Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement today announcing the new funding. "This investment will help young Californians develop the life-long skills needed to succeed and not get caught up in gangs and violence."

As part of the CalGRIP initiative, the Employment Development Department is soliciting grant proposals to implement education, job training, supportive service and job placement programs for youths, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.

Proposals will be accepted from public, private nonprofit and private for-profit organizations through June 14. They should target youths 14 to 24 years of age who are at risk of joining gangs or are already gang members.

The EDD seeks proposals that promote career pathways that place at-risk youth in part-time employment tin after-school programs, while providing post-secondary education that will lead to teaching, community and social service positions, such as licensed social worker, youth worker or counselor.

Proposed strategies should be comprehensive and community-focused, providing a holistic approach to serving youth, according to the news release.

Funding for the grants is drawn from the governor's 15 percent Discretionary Workforce Investment Act funds under the administrative authority of the Employment Development Department.

For more information or to submit a grant application, see the EDD website.

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

By Bill Lindelof

A man shot in the elbow Tuesday night in Lodi told police he was fired upon because he was a member of a particular street gang.

Lodi police were called to the 500 block of East Elm Street about 9 p.m. by citizens who heard several gunshots. While responding to the scene, officers also learned that a man had been shot and was in the street.

Officers found a 21-year-old man in the road in front of 508 East Elm Street who had suffered a gunshot wound in his right elbow. The victim, who was not identified, said he was shot because he is a Sureno street gang member.

Police are following up on leads today. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (209) 333-6873.

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

By Bee Staff

The Sacramento Police Department and other Sacramento area law enforcement agencies participated in a major crackdown on California's largest motorcycle gang, a police spokesman said today.

Officers responded to eighteen locations throughout the region Wednesday, arresting six Vagos associates for gun charges, stolen property, narcotics, counterfeit money, and warrants, said Sgt. Norm Leong.

About 30 members of the Vagos were arrested as part of the crackdown in Riverside and Shasta counties in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah after the attacks on police in Hemet, Calif., according to an Associated Press report.

The sweep was prompted by three booby-trap attacks on an anti-gang task force in Hemet, AP reported.

Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco declined to detail evidence he said links the Vagos to the attacks because the investigation was ongoing.

On Dec. 31, someone drilled a hole in the roof of the gang unit's headquarters and diverted a natural gas line from a heater, filling the space with flammable gas, AP reported. The trap was discovered before anyone was hurt.

Last month, a gun rigged to shoot when a headquarters security gate was opened sent a bullet whizzing past an officer, AP reported. Again, nobody was hurt.

The third incident involved the discovery of a dangerous device near an officer's car, AP reported.

Pacheco said the Vagos specialize in methamphetamine sales, weapons trafficking and violence, particularly toward law enforcement officers.

Sgt. Leong said the following people were arrested in the Sacramento area:

-Eric Privett, 32, on a stolen-car warrant.

-Eugene Privett, 54, on a stolen-car warrant.

-Eugene Privett, 35, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and parole violation (the relationship of the Privetts to each other wasn't available).

-Kari Rawls, 27, on suspicion of possession of stolen property and counterfeiting.

-Joseph Delnero, 28, on suspicion of being a felon with guns, possession of a stolen gun.

-Marilyn Kimbrell, 49, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine.

In the Sacramento area, the Vagos has the largest membership for an outlaw motorcycle gang with over 50 members, Leong said.

Joining Sacramento police in the local sweep were officers or agents from the Sacramento County Probation Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Roseville Police Department, Folsom Police Department, Citrus Heights Police Department, Placer County Sheriff's Department, Galt Police Department, Grass Valley Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Parole and Special Services.

Officials said there are about 600 Vagos in the Western U.S.,

including about 200 in Riverside County, where the gang was started in the late 1960s, AP reported.

By Bill Lindelof

A teenager convicted of attempted murder was sentenced to state prison for 55 years to life in Yolo County Superior Court.

Ramiro Leon Jr., 18, of Woodland, was sentenced Monday by Judge Stephen L. Mock. A jury in February convicted Leon of attempted murder in a gang-related drive-by shooting, the district attorney's office states.

Prosecutors said Leon was involved in a shooting September 2008 in Woodland's Campbell Park. The shooting stemmed from friction between gang members earlier in the day on a school bus,

Leon shot several times from a passenger seat of a car as it drove by the park. One young man was hit and seriously wounded.

Gunfire also struck a parked car, narrowly missing a young woman inside.

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

By Kim Minugh

Sacramento police took advantage of a slow shift Thursday night and saturated Meadowview's Nedra Court, one of the city's notorious gang hangouts, in hopes of suppressing criminal activity there, according to authorities.

The street, flanked by apartment complexes, was the site of a 15-year-old girl's killing in January. A man was shot there a few weeks ago, and the area typically produces a "high volume" of 911 calls, said Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong.

In a recent 30-day period, police were called to Nedra Court 30 times, according to police data.

So a swing-shift patrol team decided to do some proactive police work, Leong said, stopping cars coming in and out of the court.

Officers issued 23 citations; arrested two men for gun possession - and confiscated the gun; validated two gang members; made three misdemeanor warrant arrests, and conducted three probation searches, Leong said.

Part of the effort was intended "to show residents that we do care," Leong said.

The other part: "To minimize both the gang activity and the recent violence that has occurred in that area."

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

Previous coverage:

'Happy-go-lucky' girl killed after party fight - Jan. 4, 2010.

By Denny Walsh

William Murray, a Sacramento accountant who stole more than $13 million from 52 clients between 2001 and 2009, pleaded guilty today in federal court to mail fraud and interference with tax administration.

U. S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia ordered Murray to immediately be taken into custody by deputy U. S. marshals. The judge set sentencing for May 28.

Murray, 55, told clients to write checks to accounts under his control so he could pay taxes or make investments on their behalf. Much of the money went to support his extravagant lifestyle, including the purchase of real property, a classic car, a fleet of limousines, expensive jewelry and rugs, and fine wines.

He changed his clients' addresses to his own so they would not receive the IRS' delinquent tax notices.

As demands for payment arrived from clients and the IRS, Murray's fraud became a Ponzi scheme that he perpetuated by using more than $3.5 million in recent client receipts to pay off demands stemming from earlier theft.

Before the house of cards collapsed, Murray was a man of some prominence. He was a certified public accountant with a solid client base.

He regularly offered tax advice on a local television channel. He was used as an expert witness in courts in five counties.

He served as a federal tax agent between 1976 and 1980, when he moved to Sacramento to join a former IRS colleague in private practice.

Murray's plea agreement calls for the forfeiture of all his remaining assets to the government, victim restitution, and full disclosure of his finances to the victims.

Call The Bee's Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.

Previous coverage:

Alleged victims of disgraced CPA remain angry - Feb. 16, 2010

Accountant's license suspended in case - Jan. 14, 2010

One of Sacramento accountant's alleged victims speaks out - Dec. 20, 2009

Affidavit: Sacramento accountant admits to stealing millions - Dec. 17, 2009

By Andy Furillo

A judge today sentenced Jimmy Navarro to life in prison with no chance of parole for the gang-related shooting death of a man in Max Baer Park nearly three years ago.

Navarro, 27, also received two additional 25-to-life terms for the May 7, 2007, shooting death of Adrian Hutchins, 21, at his sentencing hearing today in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny.

According to evidence at his trial, Navarro, who was the passenger in a car, shot and killed Hutchins after the two exchanged insults at 1:15 in the morning.

clip_image001.jpgmarcusscott.jpgBy Bill Lindelof

Three young men have been arrested on suspicion of homicide for what police say was a gang-related killing.

Sacramento police arrested Marcus Scott (left), 20, Ronald D. Grant (bottom left), 19, and Jumal Gray (bottom right), 20, on suspicion of homicide in the death of Perell Marquise Waters, a 19-year-old father-to-be who was gunned down on Dec. 15.

All of the suspects are Sacramento residents.

Shortly before 10 p.m. that night, Waters and a friend were leaving the parking lot of the Woodbridge apartment complex in the 1900 block of San Juan Road in the victim's car when three men approached on foot and fired numerous gunshots.

Waters was taken to an area hospital, where he died. His friend escaped without injury.

Police said the shooting was part of an ongoing gang dispute.

Scott was arrested after the Career Criminal Apprehension Team stopped him in a vehicle near San Juan Avenue and Truxel Road.

Grant was already in custody and Gray was arrested at police headquarters.



Bee Staff

A Sacramento Superior Court judge today sentenced a gang member to 17 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to the attempted murder of a police officer, according to a news release from District Attorney Jan Scully.

Jose Angel Gallardo's sentence included a robbery charge that he was convicted on earlier, Scully said.

Scully gave this account of events:

On May 22, 2006, Gallardo was a passenger in a car with three others. The driver, Eugene Gallegos, stopped his car at a bus stop near Truxel and San Juan roads Gallardo and another passenger, Saul Rabago, robbed the a 16-year-old boy using a fake gun.

Gallegos drove to the Natomas Marketplace where Sacramento Police Officer Kevin Howland approached the car on foot. At the urging of Gallardo, Gallegos attempted to run over Howland.

Howland ended up on the hood of the car as it sped through the busy parking lot. Howland fired several shots through the windshield ultimately stopping the car and killing Gallegos.

Gallardo, Rabago and Gallegos were all validated members of the Varrio Gardenland gang.

Rabago was previously sentenced to 12 years and 8 months in state prison for his role in the robbery and attempted murder.

"Thanks to the heroic efforts of Officer Kevin Howland, the lives of many bystanders were kept safe that day," said Deputy District Attorney Curtis Fiorini.

From Bill Lindelof:

A series of what authorities say were gang-related fights at Sacramento County Boys Ranch have landed eight youths suspected of starting the trouble in the higher security Juvenile Hall.

A series of fist fights among gang members erupted about 9 p.m. Saturday at the Boys Ranch. One ward was treated for minor cuts that required stitches, but no staff members were injured, officials said.

To quell the disturbances, which ultimately involved 17 wards, staff used pepper spray and summoned help. Additional probation officers, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and officers from the Folsom and Rancho Cordova police departments helped return wards to their dorms.

The fights appeared to gang-related, said county probation department spokeswoman Erin M. Treadwell. About 80 percent of the 94 Boys Ranch residents are affiliated with gangs.

The eight wards suspected of starting the fights were moved to Juvenile Hall in part because they can be isolated in individual rooms there rather than kept in the dorm-style setting featured at the Boys Ranch.

From Bill Lindelof:

A series of what authorities say were gang-related fights at Sacramento County Boys Ranch have landed eight youths suspected of starting the trouble in the higher security Juvenile Hall.

A series of fist fights among gang members erupted about 9 p.m. Saturday at the Boys Ranch. One ward was treated for minor cuts that required stitches, but no staff members were injured, officials said.

To quell the disturbances, which ultimately involved 17 wards, staff used pepper spray and summoned help. Additional probation officers, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and officers from the Folsom and Rancho Cordova police departments helped return wards to their dorms.

The fights appeared to gang-related, said county probation department spokeswoman Erin M. Treadwell. About 80 percent of the 94 Boys Ranch residents are affiliated with gangs.

The eight wards suspected of starting the fights were moved to Juvenile Hall in part because they can be isolated in individual rooms there rather than kept in the dorm-style setting featured at the Boys Ranch.

From Chelsea Phua

Two teenage boys have been arrested after allegedly attacking a group of people who were digging up night crawlers along a bike trail in the Richardson Village neighborhood of north Sacramento, police said.

Sgt. Norm Leong said a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime. A gang enhancement was also added for the boys, who belong to a gang, police said.

The boys were part of a group that attacked another group at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday near the bike trail off of the 3300 block of Altos Avenue.

Leong said one of three victims was a man in his 30s. Another victim was the man's sister, Leong said. It's not clear the relationship between the third victim and the first two.

An online police log reported that three people were digging up night crawlers when four juvenile boys approached them. One of the juveniles punched one of the three victims in the face. The suspects took off and returned with another handful of people. They fired several shots at the victims and a victim's house before fleeing, police said.

No one was hurt and no damage was done to the house.

A few hours later, at about 5:45 a.m., officers received a call reporting that some of the same suspects returned to the area.

Police found five people, who tried to escape. They detained three and arrested two who they found to be gang members, Leong said.

From Andy Furillo:

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick today sentenced Denishio Demmetrius Collins to prison for 58 years to life for the "friendly fire" shooting death of a fellow gang member four years ago.

A jury in February convicted Collins, 27, of first-degree murder in the June 27, 2005, killing of David A. Perkins, 22.

Collins and Perkins were two several members from the Oak Park Bloods' "Ridezilla" subset that had launched an attack on some suspected rival Crips. One of the bullets meant for the rivals, however, killed Perkins.

Jurors found that the fatal bullet came from a TEC 9 assault weapon fired by Collins.

From Kim Minugh:

Sacramento County sheriff's deputies have arrested 19-year-old Alex Eugene Toliver in connection with the Nov. 1 slaying of 24-year-old Patrick Razaghzadeh. That brings to eight the number of men facing a murder charge for Razaghzadeh's death and five attempted murder charges for the shootings of five of the victim's friends.

Toliver also is the eighth arrest in an effort by sheriff's detectives to knock down what they describe as two small but persistently violent gang subsets from North Highlands: Monk Mobb and TNA. The two groups are part of the larger North Highlands Gangster Crips network, according to detectives.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 1, Razaghzadeh was gunned down in the backyard of his Rogue River Drive home. He had been hosting a Halloween party for friends, detectives allege, when members of the Monk Mobb and TNA crashed the party. Razaghzadeh died at the scene; five of Razaghzadeh's friends also were shot, but survived.

Last week, detectives arrested: Carlos Lavance Allen, 18; Corey Andre Carmicle, 22; Charles Steven Ferrell III, 21; Elijah Rasean Fields, 18; Willie Cavil Harris IV, 19; Willie Earl Toliver Jr., 22; and Jarrell Edward Triplett, 16.

The Bee is naming the defendants who were juveniles at the time the alleged crimes occurred - Allen, Fields and Triplett - because the District Attorney's Office has confirmed that they will be tried as adults.

All of them - including the latest suspect, Alex Toliver - face one count or murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Alex Toliver is Willie Toliver's younger brother, according to detectives.

A ninth suspect also has been arrested in connection with the case: Leighni Nikkol Hadl, 23, faces one count of conspiracy.

In making the arrests, detectives say they are optimistic they have broken the back of the two gang subsets. They allege that many of the suspects in the Razaghzadeh homicide have been recurring problems for detectives, and that their names have come up in several previous investigations.

The gangs have been responsible for at least four homicides, more than a dozen shootings and 70-plus robberies in the last year-and-a-half, detectives allege. In the course of the latest homicide investigation, detectives say they gathered valuable information on other violent and unsolved crimes, and that arrests might follow in those cases, though they declined to provide more details.

For a previous story, click here.

From Bill Lindelof:

Three people have pleaded guilty in Yolo Superior Court to assaulting a teenager.

Joshua Osborne, 18, is expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison when he returns to court July 7. The other defendants, Richard Dazo, 23, and Hilario Estrella, 19, were immediately sentenced to eight years in prison.

A news release from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office says that Osborne threatened a 14-year-old girl in a text message on Jan. 6. The girl's parents alerted West Sacramento police who then made contact with Osborne.

The next day, Osborne was driving in his car with Dazo and Estrella when they saw the girl walking home from school. Osborne let Dazo and Estrella out of the car, and they assaulted the girl.

During the assault, prosecutors said that the girl was told she received the beating for contacting police.

Prosecutors say Osborne, Dazo and Estrella are members of the Broderick Boys street gang. The three entered pleas of guilty to assault to cause harm and admitted an enhancement to the charge that the assault was for the benefit of a street gang, prosecutors said.

The three entered their guilty pleas during the second day of jury selection on Thursday.

From Niesha Lofing:

Suspected gang activity disrupted a Galt neighborhood Thursday evening, leading to the arrest of three boys.

Officers were called about 6:42 p.m. to the 200 block of 2nd Street on a report of possible shots fired, a police news release states.

Witnesses provided suspect descriptions, and Galt police searched the area and found three juveniles about a half-mile away on Spruce Avenue. The boys fled when officers approach but were caught and taken into custody.

Two of the boys had no-bail juvenile warrants, and the third allegedly possessed a loaded firearm, the release states. All three were booked into the Sacramento County Juvenile Detention Center.

Police say they believe the incident is gang-related. An investigation continues.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Galt police at (209) 366-7000.

From Kim Minugh:

Six Hiram Johnson High School students were hauled off to juvenile hall Wednesday morning after fighting on campus, police say.

The fight began about 8:30 a.m., said police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong, and involved students who are part of rival gangs that have been feuding in recent days. Wednesday's fight erupted after "words were exchanged," Leong said.

Fight participants suffered minor injuries, Leong said.

All were taken to juvenile hall and booked on battery charges, he said.

Leong said one department police officer is assigned to Hiram Johnson High as a school resource officer, but other SROs came to the campus after the fight to deter further problems.

From Sandy Louey:

A 28-year-old Sacramento gang member pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank fraud.

Charles Barksdale entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr., according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Barksdale, also known as Sho, is a member of the G-Mob gang in Sacramento, the release said.

Prosecutors said the scheme caused $1 million to $2 million in losses to financial institutions in late 2007 and early 2008.

The fraud unfolded as follows, the release said:

The schemers - operating from California - sent runners to places such as Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas to use pre-paid credit cards for cash advances at banks.

The cards had only small amounts of money available, but the runners would convince bank tellers to call a toll-free number controlled by a co-schemer.

The co-schemer, posing as a card services representative, would say there were thousands of dollars available on the card and then tell the teller what buttons to press on the card terminal to make the transaction go through.

The runner would keep a portion of the funds and remit a portion, typically half, to Barksdale and others in the Sacramento area. Runners sent money by Federal Express, by wire or by depositing funds into bank accounts controlled by Barksdale and others.

The case against Barksdale was an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with help from local law enforcement agencies around the nation, the release said.

On July 7, 2008, search warrants were executed at multiple locations in Sacramento. Barksdale was in the Sacramento County Main Jail on unrelated charges, the release said.

Upon learning of the searches, he called a woman he knew and used coded language to instruct her to destroy a computer, withdraw funds from a bank account and remove expensive merchandise from a residence, the release said.

The maximum penalty for a bank fraud violation is 30 years in prison. Barksdale's sentencing is April 27.

From Sandy Louey:

The Sacramento Police Department is working with the California Highway Patrol to lower the gang activity, robbery and burglary rates in the city.

Starting today, 16 CHP officers and two CHP sergeants have been assigned to help the police department's Problem Oriented Police Officers and detectives to deter crimes in south Sacramento, according to a news release.

The partnership is expected to be a long-term effort where CHP officers will be working hand-in-hand with Sacramento police throughout the city, police said.

Areas of deployment will depend on current crime trends or crime series that have been identified, police said.

From Stan Oklobdzija:

Two men, believed to be gang members, were shot in North Highlands this afternoon in what appears to be a gang-related incident, sheriff's officials said.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputies were called to the shooting at the corner of Ramsey Drive and Cortright Way a little after 3 p.m. today, Sgt. Tim Curran, sheriff's spokesman said.

There they found a 17-year-old Hispanic male shot in the neck and face with what appeared to be shotgun pellets, Curran said. Deputies also found an 18-year-old Hispanic male who suffered a shotgun wound to his hand and leg, he said.

Both were transported to a local hospital, Curran said. The 17-year-old's wounds are described as life-threatening, while the 18-year-old has been declared stable, Curran said.

Neighbors said they saw a red Mitsubishi Eclipse with up to five occupants leaving the scene, Curran said.

Both victims were validated gang members, Curran said.

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento jury today convicted an Oak Park gang member for murder in the southside shooting death of one of his friends four years ago.

Denishio Demmetrius Collins, 27, faces a sentence of at least 25 years to life in prison in the June 27, 2005, slaying of David A. Perkins, 22. Judge Kevin J. McCormick scheduled his sentencing for March 20.

Perkins had led a group of eight Oak Park Blood gang members on a retaliatory shooting raid on suspected Crips gang members they believed were living on Della Circle, authorities said. One of the 30 bullets fired by the Oak Park gang members struck and killed Perkins.

Authorities said the Oak Park gang members were attempting to avenge the slayings of two members of their gang, including Perkins' brother.

Witnesses said they saw Collins hide from sheriff's deputies a few blocks from Della Circle a few minutes after 911 calls lit up the sheriff's dispatch center.

Although Collins eluded authorities, detectives recovered an assault weapon a witness said he threw on a roof near his hiding spot.

Forensic experts found his DNA on the magazine of the gun, testimony revealed. Detectives also found a tee shirt in a trash can that contained his DNA.

Some of the 15 or so members of Collins' family who were in the courtroom erupted into anger after the verdict was announced. Nobody was arrested, but sheriff's deputies escorted the jury out of the courthouse.

Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz welcomed the verdict and said the jury "did a good job."

Defense lawyers William R. White said, "We're not happy, but certainly we accept their judgment."

From Andy Furillo:

The Trigga Mobb's self-described "five star general" and a soldier in his north side street gang were sentenced to life terms in prison today for the retaliation shooting of a man they thought to be an informant.

Lerome "L'il Rome" Franklin, 25, was sentenced to 75-years-to life and Floyd "YG" Martin, 22, received a 50-to-life term for the March 15, 2007, shooting that took place outside a motel on El Camino Avenue.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gary S. Mullen denied new trial motions filed by the defendants, who were convicted on Aug. 5.

According to testimony at trial, Franklin, who had just been arrested on robbery charges prior to the shooting, thought a Del Paso Heights gang associate was responsible for his incarceration.

Franklin then engaged in telephone conversations with Martin from the downtown jail that were recorded in which he ordered the shootings, according to police and prosecutors.

The victim in the case recovered from his injuries, testified against Franklin and Martin at trial and was later relocated by the Sacramento District Attorney's office.

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 Andy Furillo:

The judge choked back tears and burly bailiffs bit their lips today in an emotion-wracked sentencing where a Sacramento street gang member was sent to prison for the rest of his life with no chance of parole for shooting and killing an innocent 15-year-old kid last year.

"I hope that in some way justice here gives you some comfort for the loss you suffered," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly, his eyes red and his voice cracking, told the family of Abel Alonso.

More than 30 relatives crowded into the courtroom and another 10 waited outside during the sentencing hearing. Many wore T-shirts with a photo of the slain teenager wearing headphones. A message over the photo read, "Te extranamos," Spanish for "We miss you."

Steven Anthony Duran, a 24-year-old Norteno gang member, chased down a car driven by Alonso's older brother and then shot the victim dead June 8, 2007, in a drug-haze of violence.

Duran had been ingesting methamphetamine and Ecstasy all night long when he came across the Alonso brothers, who were driving to school at 8 o'clock in the morning. They were in a blue car and Duran's lawyer said his client believed they were members of a rival gang that had shot up his mother's house in 2004.

Prosecutors said the Alonsos had nothing to do with the shooting.

"My son was full of life, he was a happy kid," the slain boy's mother, Maria Alonso, said at the sentencing hearing. "He loved life. Since June 8, 2007, it's been a living hell. My son did not deserve this ugly way to die. He was a kid."

Relatives of the victim wept during a 10-minute video that showed a boy growing up. Played to Spanish language music, it showed Abel Alonso from his days as an elementary school student to his days as a teenager.

In his brief comments to the court, Duran said he was sorry.

"I apologize to the victim's family for their loss and my family for the loss of me, because I'm going to be gone for the rest of my life," he said.

Besides the life term with no chance of parole, Connelly also sentenced Duran to two additional life terms for the attempted murder of Abel Alonso's brother, Bernardo, and the use of a gun, plus an additional 20 years for discharging the gun and striking his victim.

From Sandy Louey:

Officials are launching an anti-gang media campaign to help divert Sacramento youth away from gangs.

The effort, which was announced Wednesday, is a partnership between the Sacramento Police Department, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the city of Sacramento's Office of Youth Development.

The campaign consists of billboards through the city, public service announcements on local TV stations and posters.

The campaign, which is based on a similar initiative in Fresno earlier this year, is to direct people to call the city's 311 information line, which provides information about city services.

Twenty-hours a day, seven days a week, callers can get connected to information about existing programs and resources in the community to keep at-risk youth from joining gangs or help those in gangs to get out, said Lyn Corbett, director of the city's Office of Youth Development.

Corbett said there are programs on gang prevention and intervention, academic support, job and life skills development and employment assistance.

The billboard campaign consists of the words "Gangs have a special place for your kids. We can help. Call 311" and a photo of a cemetery.

One billboard is already up at Broadway and La Solidad Way. The remaining four billboards are scheduled to be rolled out in upcoming months, Corbett said.

The majority of funding for the campaign came from a $40,000 grant from the Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal program aimed at curtailing gang and gun violence through education and early intervention efforts.

Those that provided in-kind support were CBS Outdoor, which donated the billboards and the Astone Agency, which designed the public service announcement.

Fresno's Valley Crime Stoppers and the 13 City Gang Network also provided assistance, Corbett said.

From Sandy Louey:

Galt police are investigating two stabbings that are believed to be gang-related.

Both incidents occurred within a two-hour period Monday night.

The first was at 5:34 p.m. at F and Second streets. Several men confronted an 18-year-old man. One of them stabbed him in the lower back. The men then fled on foot, according to a press release.

The second stabbing took place at 7:34 p.m. at First Street and Benner Court. Several men who were around 20 years of age confronted a 16-year-old boy. One of the them stabbed the boy several times in the right side and back. The men then left in a large silver or white SUV-type vehicle, police said.

The victims in both stabbings were taken to the UC Davis Medical Center.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (209) 366-7000.

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 judge today sentenced a Sacramento gang member to life in prison without parole for the June 2006 shooting death of Serge Zubenko.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Helena R. Gweon characterized Jeffrey Deane Ward's murder of the 24-year-old Zubenko as a "cold-blooded, cowardly act" and "so brazen, so senseless."

Ward and some friends had been in a fight with some people at a park in Antelope before they encountered Zubenko, whom the judge described as a "good man" and an innocent victim.

Ward, now 22, killed Zubenko with a blast from a shotgun.

From David Richie:

At least 100 law enforcement officers from a half dozen agencies fanned out over Yuba and Sutter counties today making 25 arrests while seizing large quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana as well as heroin, guns and money in a gang crackdown, the attorney general said.

"Tragically, gang activity is deeply embedded in many communities and is spreading throughout rural California," said California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. as he announced the results of "Operation Showdown."

The 25 suspects under arrest include at least six gang members and eight gang associates - Nortenos and Surenos active in Yuba City, Marysville and the surrounding county areas, Brown said. Investigators confiscated almost six pounds of methamphetamine, 42 pounds of marijuana, 21 guns, an unspecified amount of heroin and about $101,000 in cash.

One of the search warrants yielded what agents described as "186 gigantic marijuana plants capable of producing up to eight pounds of marijuana buds per plant," according to a press release.

Agents said the methamphetamine also was high quality. "A lot of it was Crystal Ice," said Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

Five children also were taken into protective custody during the sweep, Gregory said.

The raids were the culmination of a three-month investigation, Gregory said. During that interval undercover agents made more than 50 drug buys as well as gun purchases. Guns bought during the investigation included assault weapons.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Eighteen people, including a Richmond parks and recreation employee, were arrested today in connection with a crackdown on a violent street gang in the city, authorities said.

Kaisha Hill, 29, who works as a juvenile group counselor with the parks department, was found at a home in the 400 block of Eighth Street with a kilo of cocaine and three guns, one of which was a MAC-11 automatic weapon, investigators said.

Hill is an associate of a Richmond gang called Deep C or Deep Central, authorities said as they announced arrests wrapping up a yearlong investigation.

Some 200 state and local law-enforcement officials conducted raids in two waves, serving 43 arrest warrants in Richmond - predominantly in the city's crime-plagued Iron Triangle neighborhood - as well as elsewhere in Contra Costa County and Alameda, Marin and Sacramento counties.

The 18 people in custody were arrested on suspicion of a variety of crimes, including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at a vehicle and drug possession. About two dozen suspects are outstanding.

Investigators seized more than two pounds of cocaine, a pound of marijuana, $17,000 in cash and eight guns, including a fully automatic weapon, said Sara Simpson, a special agent in charge with the state Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

Members or associates of the gang have been linked to more than half the city's 47 homicides and 350 shootings last year, authorities said. The gang has about 100 members and associates and engages in drug trafficking, robbery, assault and prostitution-related activities, said state drug agent Michael Mattson.

Click here for the complete Chronicle story.

From Andy Furillo:

A Sacramento gang member received a 40-to-life sentence today in the shooting death two years ago of an Elk Grove man who was about to go into the Navy.

Manuel Jose Cervin stared straight ahead when Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet imposed the term for what he characterized as the defendant's "act of cowardice" in the Dec. 22, 2006, murder of 21-year-old Marc Grimes in the driveway of his home.

Cervin, 25, was the driver in a car filled with Norteno gang members that got in a confrontation with Grimes at 11:45 p.m. the night of the shooting. Grimes had just gotten home after a night out with his girlfriend when a minor traffic dispute with Cervin escalated into the killing.

During the confrontation, Cervin rolled down his driver's side window while a passenger shot from inside the car and killed Grimes. The shooter has not been arrested.

Three friends and relatives of Grimes read written, tearful statements to Cervin during the sentencing, expressing their pain and sense of loss in the death of a friend, brother and son.

Grimes' mother, Jody Lawson, told Cervin he could have continued to drive away from the scene of the confrontation but instead backed his vehicle toward the victim to continue the argument in the seconds before the shooting.

"You could have let it go," the tearful Lawson told Cervin.

Police and prosecutors said Cervin's gang affiliation would not allow it.

"You should come up for parole," Lawson continued, "when Marc returns to his family on this earth."

From Sandy Louey:

Ten inmates were involved in a fight that stemmed from gang rivalry at the El Dorado County jail in Placerville last week, a sheriff's spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The incident occurred at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 when the inmates in the D-pod started fighting, the spokesman said.

Correctional staff entered the area and stopped the fighting, he said. A stun gun was used to control one inmate who refused to stop, he said.

The inmates involved received minor injuries and no correctional staff were hurt, he said. The inmates were rehoused and reclassified.

ATT338468.jpgFrom David Richie:

While Citrus Heights officials try to tighten their grip on the Sayonara Drive area, residents and local police continue to be challenged by elusive gang members or wanna-bees who also are trying to claim the long-beleaguered neighborhood.

Residents came out outside Wednesday morning to discover freshly spray-painted gang graffiti on fences (left photo) and vehicles parked in driveways. The tagging occurred at several locations along Sayonara Drive and farther west on San Simeon Drive, where fourplex and duplex rental units give way to single-family homes. The mix of gang references, obscenities and challenges on the fences was still visible Wednesday afternoon. Mothers pushed babies in strollers along the sidewalk and tough-looking young men in loud cars twisted around to view the scrawls.

Lt. Jeff Mackanin, who supervises the police department's community policing efforts, said the tagging appeared to be the work of members of a specific Latino gang (Surenos) or individuals who would like to be associated with that group. No arrests had been made Wednesday afternoon. A problem-oriented policing officer would be investigating the incident. Citrus Heights does not have any large population of gang members, but most of the city's gang-related activity seems to come out of the Sayonara Drive area, Mackanin said.

That is one of the reasons why the city is targeting the area with so many resources.

"We had our first Neighborhood Watch meeting out there recently," Mackanin said, noting that 15 to 20 residents attended that first session.

James Lynch, manager of the city's Community Enhancement Division, said that he was aware of the vandalism. Notices were being sent to property owners requiring them to cover up the graffiti as soon as possible. A city crew would handle clean-up in public areas, Lynch said.

"It is somebody trying to mark turf," Lynch said.

Meanwhile city officials are moving ahead with redevelopment plans for the Sayonara Drive area that are more far-reaching than any can of spray paint, Lynch said.

Today, community development staff members will seek authorization from the City Council to purchase another boarded up fourplex in the 7800 block of Sayonara Drive. The purchase is expected to cost just over $200,000.

The city has already purchased on fourplex on Sayonara Drive. Long-range plans may involve restoration of the properties. They also may be demolished to decrease the overall density along Sayonara Drive.

Demolition could provide space for a playground or similar use in the area, which is considered a community development nightmare, Lynch said. There has never been a play space for the dozens of children who live along Sayonara Drive, so they end up in the street or in the driveways.

The city has already made several improvements in the area, including street repaving, implementation of traffic calming strategies and introduction of streetlights.

"It is now one of the best illuminated streets in the county," Lynch said.

Residents on San Simeon Drive said they are aware of all the improvements going on just a few blocks away. They would like to see more streetlights and similar improvements on their street too but right now they said they feel like "orphans."

From M.S. Enkoji:

Five people have been arrested on drug charges at a Carmichael apartment complex, investigators said.

Sacramento County probation officers on Friday found crystal methamphetamines, body armor, ammunition for assault rifles and $3,000.

Arrested were Alejandro Vuittonet, 25; Theodore Sanchez, 25; Amanda Rangel, 20; Edward Medina, 25; and Jesus Miguel Casas, 26, investigators said. The apartment complex is in the 5300 block of El Camino Ave, near Gunn Road.

All of the suspects face two felony charges: possession with intent to sell and a gang-enhancement charge, investigators said.

A child was present in the apartment at the time of the arrest, which could mean a child endangerment charge could follow, investigators said.

Vuittonet and Rangel were on probation and Casas and Sanchez was on parole, investigators said.

From Andy Furillo:

A judge today delayed sentencing on a gang member convicted of second-degree murder in the December 2006 slaying of an Elk Grove man in front of the victim's house.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet continued the sentencing of Manuel Cervin to Nov. 7 on a motion filed by the defendant's new lawyer, John Feiner.

Feiner said he intends to file a motion for a new trial based on what he viewed as the insufficiency of the evidence the jury used to convict the 25-year-old Cervin.

Cervin was convicted July 31 in the shooting death of Marc Grimes, 21.

Grimes was shot and killed following a traffic dispute with Cervin, who was driving a car with three passengers at the time of the 11:45 p.m. slaying.

According to evidence at the trial, Cervin, following the traffic incident, positioned his car in a manner that blocked a vehicle that was being driven by Grimes' girlfriend. Cervin then rolled down his driver's side window and exchanged words with Grimes. Another passenger in the car then fired a gun that killed Grimes, who was about to leave town to attend Navy boot camp.

From Chelsea Phua:

Authorities on Wednesday indicted nearly 60 people in a nationwide take-down of an Asian gang with operations in Sacramento, the Bay Area and as far as Denver, Colo., and Canada.

Ten of the gang members were arrested in the Sacramento region on suspicion of narcotics trafficking, including the conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute ecstasy, and the conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, federal prosecutors said.

The alleged drug activities took place between November 2007 to July 2008.

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Smoking Dragon," began in March 2007 and involved a phalanx of federal, state and local agencies, including the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Sacramento police and sheriff departments, Elk Grove and Yolo County law enforcement agencies.

The Sacramento County Probation Department and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also participated.

Read Phua's full story

From Bill Lindelof:

A sweep last week of suspected gang members resulted in 115 arrests, the recovery of seven firearms and the confiscation of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine with a street value of $238,000, according to law enforcement authorities.

Dubbed SNAG III: Sacramento Neighborhoods Against Gangs, the sweep was the third of its kind conducted by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the Sacramento Police Department in conjunction with federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.

The operation took place Thursday and Friday with 320 officers from 21 agencies targeting known gang members on parole or probation in the Sacramento region.

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