DOJ Agents Take Down Stockton Street Gangs 47 suspects arrested, 35 firearms & 38 pounds of drugs seized
STOCKTON – On December 5, 2017, California Department of Justice special agents, along with local law enforcement and CHP officers, arrested 47 people and seized 35 firearms (10 of them were assault rifles), nearly $44,000 in currency, 34 pounds of marijuana, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, and 2 pounds of cocaine as part of a takedown of gang members in Stockton.
“Families in Stockton can breathe a little easier tonight knowing that gang members, drugs, and deadly weapons are off the streets,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The MOB and Flyboys have used violence to incite fear and intimidation in the south Stockton community for far too long. I want to thank all of the brave men and women who wear the badge for taking this important step in improving safety in south Stockton.”
Suspects were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal weapons possession, and gang enhancements.
The operation was the product of a joint investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation’s Special Operations Unit (SOU), Stockton Police Department Gang Suppression Unit, California Highway Patrol, and San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
“In 2014 the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), which represents DOJ special agents, was extremely assertive and successful in its effort to get several SOU teams funded. These teams take on the worst of the worst criminals, and are necessary to fight crime and improve communities,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “I have to think the residents of south Stockton are very grateful. This is a giant step toward improving their quality of life.”
Calfire ComOps Assist in Mobilizing 4,000 Firefighters to Help with Southern California Fire Siege
By FMESA President Daren Watkins
SACRAMENTO – For CALFIRE Communications Operators another extreme call to duty came in the late hours of December 4, 2017 as reports rushed in that a large fire in Ventura County had ignited. CALFIRE Communications Operators not only answer 911 calls, they assist in mobilizing crews, equipment and aircraft from throughout the state.
As the initial surge of requests started to filter around the state, a second fire ignited in Southern California, followed by a third. These fires are then prioritized in order to ensure the resources are being used in the best manor possible. As the fires grew in size and complexity, three CALFIRE incident management teams were deployed to take command of these incidents, while an additional team was prepositioned in Riverside County in the event a fourth fire ignited.
“Fire activity of this magnitude is not something we normally handle in December. This is the time of year where we typically get to go back to our families and catch up from being gone all summer,” said Daren Watkins, president of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Services Association (FMESA). FMESA represents CALFIRE Communications Operators. “I am very proud of all the ComOps statewide who continue to sacrifice time with their families in order to protect the citizens of California.”
The fires blazing throughout Southern California follow the deadly and devastating fires that broke out in October in Napa and Northern California regions. For a look at the role CALFIRE Communications Opertors had in the North Bay Fires, we invite you to view this video - CAL FIRE Communications Operators Emergency Response Roles in 2017 North Bay Fires
CSLEA Meets New Hospital Police Officers at MSH
NORWALK - On December 4, 2017, representatives from the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), and its affiliate Hospital Police Association of California (HPAC), met with new hospital police officers at Metropolitan State Hospital.
“My thanks to HPAC President Luis Jimenez and his HPAC directors who attended this new employee orientation,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “They greatly assisted our CSLEA Member Services Representative Shelley Bishop in introducing CSLEA and HPAC to these new officers who are now members of CSLEA and HPAC. We welcome them and stand ready to assist them.”
This new employee orientation gave CSLEA and HPAC representatives an opportunity to walk the new officers through member benefits, including a Legal Defense Fund, a basic life insurance benefit, an exclusive discounts program, scholarship opportunities and membership to the Fraternal Order of Police.
DTSC Investigation Finds Excessive Levels of Lead in Jewelry & Accessories Attorney General files suit against distributor
LOS ANGELES – On December 5, 2017, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against Luxy Accessory, Inc. a jewelry distributor based in Los Angeles, and its owner Hyun Sook Kim, for selling jewelry and accessories with excessive levels of lead and cadmium. Much of the jewelry and accessories are intended for children, and some have been mislabeled as “lead free.”
The lawsuit follows an inspection and investigation by the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Office of Criminal Investigations.
Selling jewelry with excessive levels of lead and cadmium is a violation of California’s Metal Containing Jewelry Law and the Unfair Competition Law.
Jewelry and accessories with lead or cadmium pose a danger to children who often put these items in their mouths. Absorption of toxic metals can cause serious illness and chronic health effects including headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle soreness, seizures, kidney damage, coma, and, at high enough levels, death.
“Kudos to the state inspectors who have repeatedly dealt with this business and business owner, for following up and working to put a stop to this unlawful practice that puts both children and adults at risk of health problems,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
“Lead and cadmium are highly toxic metals that can cause a host of physical and behavioral health problems at low levels of exposure, especially for our children,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Luxy has continued to blatantly violate our laws, and in the process, jeopardized the wellbeing of our sons and daughters.”
In 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office sued Luxy and a number of other jewelry distributors for selling jewelry that contained excessive levels of lead. Luxy’s owner and sole employee, Hyun Sook Kim, failed to respond to the lawsuit and ignored repeated attempts that were made to contact her. As a result, in 2014, the Department of Justice obtained a default judgement against Luxy for $145,000 in penalties and injunctive relief. The Department of Justice has since used various judgment enforcement mechanisms to enforce the judgment.
During DTSC’s most recent inspection, which took place on November 7-10, 2017, inspectors found Luxy offering for sale about 110 styles of jewelry that screened high for lead and/or cadmium, according to the Attorney General’s complaint. DTSC inspectors screened the jewelry and accessories using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device. The screened jewelry that tested high in lead or cadmium was collected for further lab testing. Inspectors identified approximately 150 boxes of jewelry that are suspected to contain excessive amounts of lead and cadmium.
According to the complaint: Inspectors also discovered a labeling machine with “LEAD-FREE NICKEL-FREE” labels and observed the same kind of labels on jewelry that screened high for lead. When an inspector asked Kim how she knows if the jewelry is lead free, she claimed that sometimes she receives the jewelry with lead-free labels and other times she uses her own judgement.
Photos provided by DTSC
DMV Investigators Cite 171 for Fraudulent Use of Disabled Person Parking Placards
SACRAMENTO – In their continued effort to combat the misuse of Disabled Person Parking Placards in California, Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) investigators cited 171 people during 27 enforcement operations throughout the state during the month of November.
“We have worked throughout the year to conduct these operations in an effort to educate the public and to crackdown on those who are blatantly using a placard that is simply not issued to them,” said Kenny Ehrman, president of the Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC) “When people truly in need of close and convenient parking are being aced out of parking spaces by able-bodied individuals, there’s something wrong. There are people who need to conduct business or shopping at offices or stores but may have difficulty walking an extended distance. It’s heartbreaking to see those with mobility problems, or even cancer patients in obvious pain, struggling to get inside a place where they’ve had to park far away from the entrance.”
In the past five months, DMV investigators have issued 1,176 citations to people fraudulently using disabled person placards.
Anyone who suspects a person might be misusing a disabled person placard is urged to report it using an online complaint form or by contacting their local DMV Investigations office. Submissions are confidential. It is important to note that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent, and allegations of misuse might be unfounded.
Santa Clara County Brothers and 16 Others Arrested for Staging Accidents 18 staged accidents netting $210,000 in fraudulent claims
SANTA CLARA – On December 4, 2017, The California Department of Insurance announced the arrest of 18 suspects allegedly involved in a staged accident ring in Santa Clara County. Brothers Angel Topete, 36, and Joshua Topete, 34, both of San Martin were arrested on numerous felony charges for allegedly running an organized auto insurance fraud scam involving more than 20 other individuals and 18 staged collisions netting conspirators $210,000 in fraudulent auto insurance claims.
"This large ring of family and friends allegedly conspired to defraud insurers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The cost of insurance fraud is shouldered by consumers who pay higher premiums when insurers pass along their losses. Working with our task force partners is critical in combating the multi-billion dollar problem of insurance fraud."
The arrests are the result of a two-year investigaton by the Silicon Valley Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Fraud Division, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, and the California Highway Patrol.
The investigation revealed the Topete brothers allegedly conspired with family, friends and associates who posed as insurance consumers and filed fraudulent claims with six different insurers for collisions that were either staged or never occurred at all.
Evidence revealed many of the claims involved salvaged vehicles, new insurance policies and variations of a name used on other similar claims. In some cases, suspects purchased insurance policies and then intentionally crashed cars into one or more vehicles owned by co-conspirators. All parties then filed fraudulent claims, which resulted in insurers paying the full value of the vehicles after it was declared a total loss.
“California Department of Insurance investigators often conduct lengthy, complex investigations involving dozens of suspects,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “It angers law-abiding consumers that unlawful individuals scheme and scam, padding their own wallets while the rest of us pay more. My thanks to the investigators who work these cases, make arrests and assist in the prosecution.”
As of December 4, 2017, 18 of the 22 suspects had been arrested and booked.
Suspects named by the California Department of insurance.
- Alma Elisa Aguilar, 39, San Jose
- Blanca Arias-Guerrero, 48, San Jose
- Pedro Ozuna, 33, San Jose
- Pablo Govea-Cabrera, 27, San Jose
- Eric Harrison, 33, Gilroy
- Gregory Carl Harrison, 53, Gilroy
- Guadalupe Cardenas, 32, San Jose
- Maria Cruz, 29, San Jose
- Jairon Escobar, 44, Milpitas
- Ivan Espinoza, 31, San Jose
- Edgar Hernandez, 31, San Jose
- Nora Lopez, 41, San Jose
- Hugo Lua, 39, Hollister
- Daniel Mendoza, 57, Milpitas
- Gabriel Osuna, 24, Gridley
- Carlos Ernesto Recinos, 46, San Jose
- Angel Topete, 36, Martin
- Joshua Topete, 34, Martin
- Rafael Rangel, 35, San Jose
- Samuel Osuna, 27, San Jose
- Claudia Estrada, 22, Gridley
- Altamirano Venancio, 35, San Jose