CSLEA & COLRE Meet with DMV Executives Discuss issues impacting Licensing Registration Examiners
SACRAMENTO - On February 21, 2018, representatives from the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) and California Organization of Licensing Registration Examiners (COLRE) met with Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) executives to discuss a host of issues which directly impact Licensing Registration Examiners (LREs). Attending from COLRE were President Enrique Razo and Treasurer Karrie Kabat. Attending from CSLEA were Senior Legal Counsels Ryan Navarre and Jim Vitko. Those attending from DMV included executives from Field Operations Division (Babette Williams, Steve Westerman, and Justin Halverson) and the Human Resources Branch (David Keenan and Brian Lin Walsh).
The parties engaged in thorough discussion concerning a number of different topics, however, the overarching desire was to achieve consistency throughout all field offices. CSLEA and COLRE are also looking forward to bargaining in the Spring of 2019 and are working to prime the discussion on a number of items to directly address through the collective bargaining process. The various topics discussed were:
- LRE salary concerns (specifically as it relates to specialized training [SDPE and CDL] and in comparison to the SMVT classification).
- Request for training and guidance for hearing impaired CDL applicants.
- Request that DMV begin reducing Saturday CDL Hours/Location in preparation for total elimination of Saturday CDL appointments.
- Allowance of LREs to wear smart watches.
- Clarification and uniform guidance on vehicles with warning lights activated (i.e. SRS, air bag, check engine, ABS brakes).
- Update policy regarding travel time/reimbursement.
- A uniform process for requesting and ordering rain gear.
- Request more ability to accrue CTO instead of cash payout for overtime.
- Issues impacting micromanagement and inefficient use of LREs.
- Need for vehicle verification training and policy clarification.
- Request that DMV consider converting some permanent intermittent LRES to full time.
- Request that DMV make an effort to focus on LRE specific topics during yearly regional meetings.
- Request that DMV make it a priority to hold monthly LRE specific meeting to discuss LRE related matters.
"We are constantly striving for consistency and fair treatment for all LREs," said COLRE President Enrique Razo. "I look forward to meeting again with DMV executives as we pursue improvements.”
Pilates Instructor Pleads Guilty to Bilking Elderly Couple out of Thousands of Dollars A California Department of Justice investigation
SANTA BARBARA – On February 20, 2018, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney announced that Yvonne Alish Castillo, 34, of Santa Barbara pleaded guilty to one count of felony grand theft after it was discovered that she charged an elderly couple, one of whom was 87 years old at the time, nearly $200,000 for Pilates classes over a three-year time period
“This is an appalling case of theft in which a licensed physical therapist provided in-home Pilates classes for an elderly couple and stole an exorbitant amount of money from them by charging an insane amount for her services,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Thankfully there is a Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse within the California Department of Justice in which cases like this can be investigated.”
Castillo admitted to a special allegation that her theft involved an amount of more than $65,000. Castillo conducted private in-home classes for the couple beginning in February of 2013. In June of 2016, an employee of the victims became suspicious of the amounts of money that Castillo was charging the couple. An attorney for the couple reviewed bank records and discovered that Castillo had charged them nearly $200,000 for Pilates classes. The investigation revealed that Castillo never provided any invoices and always made sure that no one was present in the room when she received her checks from the male victim. At the height of her theft, Castillo was collecting checks in excess of $7,500 a month.
Following the discovery of the theft, the victims stated they felt violated by Castillo and that she “masqueraded as one person and behaved like a criminal. The only difference was her costume. She wore expensive Pilates pants instead of a ski mask.”
The case was investigated by the California Department of Justice and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Castillo is scheduled for sentencing on April 20, 2018. She is expected to serve six months in jail, four years of probation and pay a restitution of $104,000.
DOJ Special Agents Remove Stockpile of Illegal Weapons and Ammunition from Los Angeles Home Arrest father & daughter, seize 28 firearms, 66,000 rounds of ammunition
LOS ANGELES – On the very day a suspect armed with an AR-15-style rifle strolled into a Florida high school and killed 17 people, California Department of Justice (DOJ) special agents removed 28 firearms and 66,000 rounds of ammunition from the home of a Los Angeles man who is legally barred from owning weapons and who is listed in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database.
On February 14, 2018, the DOJ special agents went to the Temple City home of Steven David Ponder, 57, to search for four firearms registered in California that had not been relinquished. During a search of Ponder’s home, agents found and seized 28 firearms and 66,000 rounds of ammunition. Twelve of the firearms were assault style weapons; 13 of the firearms were AR-15-style rifles, similar to the weapon used in the recent Florida mass shooting; and 11 were ghost guns, in which two were also short barrel, AR-15 style, fully automatic machine guns. Ghost guns are firearms that are untraceable by law enforcement due to their lack of serial numbers; they are built by an individual, not a manufacturer.
“California DOJ special agents have the very dangerous job of enforcing a law that protects all of us by banning guns from individuals who have been convicted of felonies, domestic violence or have a history of mental illness,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
Ponder is legally barred from being in the possession of firearms due to two prior felony convictions for counterfeiting money and possessing a machine gun. Ponder was banned from owning firearms immediately after his conviction.
“We must do all we possibly can to remove weapons from individuals who should not be in possession of them,” said Attorney Xavier General Becerra. “At the California Department of Justice, public safety is our number one priority. We should all be proud of the work our Division of Law Enforcement special agents do every day without fanfare. They place themselves in dangerous, difficult situations to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to keep us safe."
Ponder was booked on numerous charges including manufacturing of machine guns, assault weapons, short barreled rifles, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Ponder’s daughter, Riley Elizabeth Ponder, 27, was also arrested and charged with the illegal possession of an assault weapon.
This operation, as well as ongoing and day-to-day investigations, have reduced the number of individuals in the APPS database – those who own illegal firearms – to a historic low. APPS works to identify individuals who previously procured firearms, but later became barred from legally owning them because they were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, placed under a domestic violence restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness.
The State of California is the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking firearm owners who might fall into a prohibited status. To date, California DOJ special agents have removed 18,000 firearms from persons prohibited under California law from possessing them.
CSLEA Endorsement Video for Secretary of State Alex Padilla
Who Funded This Ad?
SACRAMENTO – On February 21, 2018, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) released an endorsement video for the re-election of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in 2018.
“As California’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Alex Padilla is a pillar of integrity,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “He safeguards our votes, has made it easier to register to vote, and oversees campaign disclosures.”
CSLEA Produces Second Endorsement Video for Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert
Who Funded This Ad?
SACRAMENTO – On February 21, 2018, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) released a second video endorsement for Anne Marie Schubert who is running for re-election as Sacramento County District Attorney.
“For decades, Anne Marie Schubert has proven she is top-notch in her pursuit of criminal justice and dedicated to public safety,” said George Tiongson, CSLEA Director and president of the California Association of Food and Drug Investigators (CAFDI).
“We want DAs in office who know what law enforcement officers are up against,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “Who will prosecute people who have committed crimes that threaten our personal safety.”
CSLEA is supporting Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert for re-election in 2018.
California DOJ Special Agents Assist in Humboldt County Drug Bust Six arrested, drugs and firearms seized
EUREKA - On February 15, 2018, California Department of Justice (DOJ) special agents assisted the Humboldt County Drug Task Force with serving six search warrants in a drug trafficking investigation in Eureka and Arcata.
During the course of the operation, law enforcement officers seized:
- approximately five pounds of suspected methamphetamine,
- a butane extraction lab,
- approximately 12 grams of suspected cocaine,
- two grams of suspected heroin,
- seven vicodin,
- 54 xanax,
- 14 hydrocodone,
- and 13 clonazepam.
In addition to the drugs and lab, law enforcement officers seized scales, packaging material and prepackaged narcotics. Additionally, DOJ special agents seized three semi-automatic pistols that were illegally possessed.
“Seizing illegally possessed firearms, illegal drugs and the equipment to traffic drugs goes a long way in protecting the citizens of these communities,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Drug dealers contribute to violence and crime in our neighborhoods and law enforcement officers are the thin line between law abiding citizens and those who threaten their safety.”
Six individuals were arrested in connection with this investigation:
- Vicente Lopez-Garcia, 26, was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a narcotic for sale and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing controlled substances.
- Vicente Lopez-Moreno, 52, was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing controlled substances.
- Isis Maldonado-Salinas, 25, was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing controlled substances.
- Alexis Juarez-Pompa, 23, was arrested and booked for manufacturing concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent without a license, and maintaining a residence for the purposes of distributing a controlled substance.
- Yesenia Hernandez-Pulido, 25, was arrested and booked for manufacturing concentrated cannabis using a volatile substance without a license.
- Christian Castillo, 29, was arrested and booked for possession of a narcotic for sale and possession of a firearm while in possession of a narcotic.
The operation was conducted by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice, Eureka Police Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service.
The investigation is ongoing and future arrests are anticipated.
Six arrested with drugs and firearms - The Times-Standard