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March 2, 2017

Fifty-Five Defendants Charged in Massive Crackdown on California Heroin, Methamphetamine and Firearms Traffickers

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

Ten federal indictments unsealed today charge 55 defendants with crimes ranging from money laundering to heroin, methamphetamine and firearms trafficking in what officials have described as one of the most significant crackdowns in recent memory.

The defendants, including prominent drug dealers and documented gang members, were responsible for supplying a substantial portion of the heroin and methamphetamine distributed in North County, California.

Early this morning, more than 150 members of the North County Regional Gang Task Force plus other law enforcement agencies made numerous arrests and during the course of the investigation searched more than 20 locations in Oceanside, Vista and elsewhere in North County in California as well as Kingman, Arizona.

As of today at noon, 46 of the 55 defendants are either in federal or state custody. Fourteen were arrested this morning; the rest were arrested earlier in the week or were already in custody. Authorities are continuing to search for seven defendants; two are in Mexico. Many of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford at 2:00 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The yearlong investigation was led by the North County Regional Gang Task Force. It involved months of federal wiretaps, dozens of undercover drug and gun buys and extensive surveillance. Many of the defendants are documented members or associates of violent North County street gangs, including the Vista Home Boys, Varrio Fallbrook Locos, Varrio Carlsbad Locos, Encinitas Tortilla Flats, Varrio San Marcos and Escondido Viejo Diablos.

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WASHINGTON FELON CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING WOMAN AND PIMPING HER BY USING FIREARM TO FORCE HER TO SOLICIT COMMERCIAL SEX

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Washington felon was convicted yesterday of trafficking a woman and pimping her by using a firearm to force her to solicit commercial sex. Timogen Anthony Simpson, 27, Kent, Washington, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts each of pimping and pandering; one felony count each of human trafficking, criminal threats, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, possession of a firearm by felon, convicted felon having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and felon carrying a loaded firearm in public, one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment, and a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm while committing criminal threats. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of over 40 years in state prison. The court will hear a bifurcated trial on Simpson’s prior felony strike convictions for second degree robbery in 2009 in King County, Washington, and a prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2012 from the United States District Court, Western Division, in Washingtonat his sentencing on June 9, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Simpson is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. Victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food, sleep, and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

Prior to this case, Simpson met Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in Washington. The defendant tricked Jane Doe 1 into traveling with him and Jane Doe 2 to California. Once arriving to California, Simpson forced the victims to solicit commercial sex on the street in areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Simpson threatened Jane Doe 1 by telling her she would not be able to eat or sleep until she made enough money for the defendant. On one occasion, the defendant choked Jane Doe 1 when she mentioned contacting the police. On another occasion while driving, Simpson pulled out a firearm and aimed it at Jane Doe 1 and threatened to shoot the victim and her family if she left him.

On June 9, 2016, Jane Doe 1 escaped from the defendant and contacted law enforcement. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) located Simpson and arrested him.

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Ex-Lynwood City Employee Pleads to Embezzling Employee Union Funds

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

A former Lynwood city employee pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $27,000 from an employees’ union, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Eric Gonzalez, 35, entered his plea to one count of felony grand theft. He was immediately sentenced to two days in county jail, placed on formal probation for three years and ordered to complete 240 days of community service.

He also must pay $27,735 in restitution and can no longer be employed by the city of Lynwood. Gonzalez paid $20,000 today toward the restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

Between 2011 and 2012, Gonzalez served as president of the Lynwood Employees Association, a nonprofit union representing all city employees. During that period, the civil engineering technician made four unauthorized cash withdrawals totaling $27,735.

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March 1, 2017

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ASSAULT AND INSURANCE FRAUD AFTER ATTACKING CO-WORKER AND FALSELY REPORTING BEING HIT BY FORKLIFT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for assault and insurance fraud after attacking a co-worker and falsely reporting being hit by a forklift. Randal Brown McKay, 65, Lake Forest, is charged with one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, three felony counts of insurance fraud, and one felony count of perjury under oath. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 11 years in state prison. McKay is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, March 1, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55 Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On June 6, 2014, McKay is accused of reporting to one of his managers that the victim, John Doe, tried to hit the defendant with a forklift. While management was investigating the claim, the defendant is accused of attacking Doe and striking the victim over the head with a closed fist in front of several witnesses. The victim was taken to a medical clinic where he received eight stitches and suffered from a mild concussion and blurred vision as a result of the assault. The defendant is accused of returning home to change clothes. Later the same day, McKay is accused of going to the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and reporting that he had been deliberately hit by John Doe with a forklift. IPD investigated the case and determined that the victim did not hit the defendant with a forklift.

On June 11, 2014, McKay is accused of filing a claim with CompWest Insurance Company alleging work related injuries for being struck by a forklift. On July 14, 2015, McKay is accused of committing perjury by testifying under oath during the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board trial that he was struck by a forklift and was injured. An Administrative Law Judge determined that the defendant was not struck by a forklift and did not sustain any injuries. CompWest Insurance Company reported the fraud to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pamela Leitao of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF2752 / February 28, 2017

COURT OF APPEAL UPHOLDS OCDA’S PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO DISQUALIFY JUDGE THOMAS GOETHALS AND ORDERS CASES TO BE ASSIGNED TO DIFFERENT JUDGE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three (DCA), granted the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) three writ petitions filed with the DCA to disqualify Judge Thomas Goethals and ordered the cases be assigned to a different judge. This is in response to the orders issued in December 2015, by the Honorable Richard M. King, “Order Denying Motion to Disqualify Judge.” The respondent, Orange County Superior Court, filed its response to those writ petitions by the Jan. 15, 2016, deadline. The OCDA’s writ litigation was handled by by Senior Deputy District Attorneys Stephan Sauer and Brian Fitzpatrick of the Appellate & Training Unit.

Procedural Facts

On Dec. 17, 2015, the OCDA filed five writ petitions with the DCA, challenging the five rulings by Judge King denying prosecutors from utilizing their right to file a peremptory challenge. The five cases include: People v. Jesus Montes and Ismael Zacaula (Case # 12CF2292), People v. Rito Tejeda (case # 14ZF0338), People v. Ismael Avalos and George Galvan (case # 12NF1681), People v. Thomas Wilhelm (case # 12ZF0154), and People v. Aleksandar Apostolovic (case # 15ZF0002).

On Jan. 22, 2016, the OCDA filed its reply with the DCA on the five writ petitions.

On July 25, 2016, DCA ordered Orange County Superior Court to vacate its order denying OCDA’s 170.6 motion and to assign People v. Rito Tejeda to a new judge.

People v. Thomas Wilhelm went to trial in front of Judge Goethals, who did not assign the case to a different judge despite the Tejeda ruling. On Nov. 9, 2016, Wilhelm was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder. On Feb. 3, 2017, Wilhelm was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison.

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Hacienda Heights Man Sentenced to Prison for Killing Mother

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

A 47-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years to life in state prison for killing his mother and placing her body in the trunk of her car, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At Monday’s court appearance, Clifton Huang of Hacienda Heights pleaded no contest to second degree murder in case KA103010. The defendant was immediately sentenced after his plea.

Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said Huang was the son of victim, Vilma Chau, 63

In August 2013, Chau’s family members went to her home after she failed to show up at a gathering, the prosecutor said. The family members encountered Huang, who said he had not seen his mother for a few days. As a result, the family members left the home, according to the prosecutor.

The next day, the family members returned to the home and discovered the victim’s body in the trunk of her Mercedes-Benz. Chau was bound and tied, the prosecutor added.

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February 28, 2017

Orange County Man Sentenced to 190 Years in Federal Prison for Traveling to Philippines to Molest Young Girls and Filming the Abuse

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:29 am

SANTA ANA, California – A onetime school teacher who traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with two girls and produced videos of the abuse was ordered today to serve 190 years in federal prison.

Robert Ruben Ornelas, 66, of Santa Ana, who has a long history of abusing children, received the 2,280-month sentence from United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

During today’s hearing, Judge Carney said Ornelas molested children in a “cruel manner” and the defendant demonstrated a complete disregard for his victims’ humanity.

Ornelas was found guilty in November by a federal jury of seven counts – two counts of engaging in sexual conduct in a foreign place, three counts of producing child pornography, and two counts of possessing child pornography.

The evidence presented during a six-day trial showed that Ornelas traveled to the Philippines on multiple occasions. He was convicted in relation to three specific trips – in 2006, 2008 and 2012 – where he sexually assaulted two girls who were as young as approximately eight. During all three trips, Ornelas took videos of the molestation and brought the images with him when he returned the U.S.

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Man Sentenced to Prison for Killing Girlfriend, Dumping Body in Canyon

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:26 am

A 40-year-old man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting his girlfriend and dumping her body in Hacienda Heights six years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Feb. 24, a jury found Francisco Nila Rojas guilty of first-degree murder in case KA094021. Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a gun, which caused great bodily injury and death.

Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said on Feb. 18, 2011, Rojas shot his girlfriend, Claudia Tecuautzin, 41, in the head.

The defendant then dumped Tecuautzin’s body near Turnbull Canyon Road and Skyline Drive in Hacienda Heights. The victim’s body was discovered less than a month after she was killed, the prosecutor added.

Five days after the killing, Rojas fled from the United States and went to Mexico. In October 2015, Rojas was located and extradited to Los Angeles County to face criminal prosecution for the killing.

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Man Convicted of Killing Sister in San Gabriel

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:24 am

A 32-year-old man was convicted yesterday afternoon of fatally shooting his sister in 2015, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for a day before finding Johnny Goins of Pasadena guilty of four counts in case GA095841: one count of first-degree murder, one count of willful, premeditated and deliberate attempted murder two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling.

Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused death during the commission of the murder.

Goins is scheduled to be sentenced April 6 in Department T of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 77 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Presciliano Duran of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said at the time of the crime Johnny Goins was angry with his sister, Tanaya Goins, 32.

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February 27, 2017

NEPHEW CONVICTED OF SHOOTING-MURDER OF UNCLE AFTER ARGUMENT AT BIRTHDAY PARTY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A nephew was convicted yesterday of shooting and murdering his uncle after an argument at a birthday party. Daniel Lee Duvall, 39, Westminster, was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 23, 2017, of one felony count of first degree murder, and a sentencing enhancement for personal discharge of a firearm causing death was found true. Duvall faces a maximum sentence of 80 years to life in state prison. The court will hear a bifurcated trial on Duvall’s prior felony conviction for transportation of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a felon for the benefit of a criminal street gang in 2002 at his sentencing on April 14, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-38, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Tina Pauline Arbogast, 49, Westminster, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. Arbogast is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 14, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On the evening of March 8, 2015, Daniel Duvall attended a birthday party being held for Arbogast at her home in Westminster. Approximately 15 to 20 people were in attendance at the party.

At approximately 10:00 p.m., Daniel Duvall got into a verbal argument with his uncle, 56-year-old Frank Duvall, inside the home. At some point during the argument, Daniel Duvall brandished a loaded firearm.

Daniel Duvall then followed his uncle out of the party as the victim was attempting to leave in his van. Daniel Duvall shot Frank Duvall once in the torso as the victim sat in the driver’s side of his van. The victim died as a result of the gunshot wound.

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