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February 21, 2017

Man Charged with Long Beach Burglaries, Sexual Assaults

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

A 39-year-old man has been charged with sexually assaulting three women – one of whom was 90 years old – while committing burglaries in Long Beach, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Deputy District Attorney L. Christmas Brookens said Melvin Earl Farmer Jr. (dob 12/28/77) of Lynwood faces 14 felony counts: one count each of sexual battery by restraint; dissuading a witness from reporting a crime; assault to commit a felony during the commission of a first-degree burglary; criminal threats; second-degree robbery and elder abuse, two counts of forcible rape and three counts each of first-degree residential robbery and first-degree burglary, person present.

Case NA105864 also charges Sophia Yim (dob 4/20/85) of Lynwood with one count each of first degree residential robbery and first-degree burglary, person present.

Farmer and Yim both pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to return on March 14 in Department S01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch.

Farmer is charged with going on a burglary crime spree between Feb. 2 and 9, the prosecutor said. During the burglaries, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted two women ages 63 and 90.

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February 20, 2017

Chicago Woman Allegedly Attempted to Smuggle Heroin and Marijuana through LAX after Grammy Weekend in Los Angeles

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

LOS ANGELES – A Chicago woman is facing a federal drug trafficking charge for allegedly trying to smuggle at least a kilogram of heroin and four kilograms of marijuana on a plane leaving Los Angeles International Airport.

Beige White, 34, was arrested Wednesday at LAX by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. White made her initial court appearance yesterday afternoon, at which time she was ordered held without bond and was directed to appear for an arraignment on March 24, 2017.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday in United States District Court specifically alleges that White attempted to smuggle approximately 2.28 pounds of heroin and 9 pounds of marijuana through a security checkpoint at LAX on Monday.

The narcotics were discovered in White’s luggage after she had checked in for a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. After seeing something suspicious in one of the bags during an image scan, the Transportation Security Administration inspected the bag and discovered a clear plastic bag containing a substance later determined to be heroin, as well as multiple sealed plastic bags containing marijuana. Another piece of checked luggage in White’s name also allegedly contained marijuana.

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MAN CONVICTED OF THROWING OBJECT THAT DAMAGED CHP PATROL VEHICLE AND INCITING RIOT AT DONALD TRUMP RALLY

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted today of throwing an object that damaged a patrol vehicle and inciting a group of protesters to riot at a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally in the City of Costa Mesa. Luis Fernando Alarcon, 20, Anaheim, pleaded guilty today to one misdemeanor count of vandalism with damage over $400 and one misdemeanor count of inciting a riot. The court reduced the felony vandalism charge to a misdemeanor. Alarcon was sentenced to one year in county jail suspended, 12 days in county jail, three years of informal probation, and was ordered to pay restitution.

On the night of April 28, 2016, a crowd protesting against the then-presidential candidate was blocking the street as the group moved south toward State Route 55. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was dispatched to Fair Drive and State Route 55. A CHP officer activated their vehicle lights and sirens and was able to gain access to the ramp. The crowd cleared to the east and west sidewalks of Newport Boulevard. Another CHP officer who also responded observed the defendant in the crowd. Alarcon ran toward the second CHP officer’s vehicle, coming within 12 to 15 feet of the CHP officer’s patrol car, and yelled “F*** the police!” at the officer through the vehicle’s open window. The defendant again yelled as he reached into his pocket, took out an object, and hurled the object at the CHP officer’s patrol vehicle. The CHP officer heard a thud and observed an object that looked like a rock or roof tile fall to the ground. As a result, the vehicle sustained damages over $500.

Alarcon immediately turned around and went back into the crowd. The defendant was not taken into custody at that time due to the immediate need to close the ramp. The defendant continued to protest and obstruct traffic. Alarcon remained in front of the crowd of protesters and yelled toward the CHP officers, inciting the crowd of protesters while rocks were thrown at the CHP officers from within the crowd.

Alarcon was subsequently arrested by CHP, who investigated this case.

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WOMAN CHARGED WITH FATAL HIT-AND-RUN AND INSURANCE FRAUD AFTER LEAVING VICTIM AT THE SCENE AND FALSELY REPORTING VANDALISM

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A woman was charged yesterday with fatal hit-and-run and insurance fraud after leaving the victim at the scene and falsely reporting the damage as vandalism to her insurance company and police. Belen Sicairos, 23, Santa Ana, was charged on Feb. 15, 2017, with one felony count of hit-and-run causing death, three felony counts of insurance fraud, one felony count of insurance fraud through a written claim, and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime. If convicted, Sicairos faces a maximum of eight years in state prison. The defendant was arrested today by Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Investigators, and her arraignment date is to be determined.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2015, Sicairos is accused of driving a 2015 Honda Accord traveling westbound on First Street in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of hitting 35-year-old Jorge Luis Lopez-Lobato as he was crossing the street. Sicairos is accused of driving away from the scene without stopping the vehicle to render aid or assistance to the victim. Witnesses at the scene called 911 and officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded to investigate the hit-and-run. Lopez-Lobato was pronounced dead at the scene.

At 10:36 a.m., Sicairos is accused of filing an insurance claim with Alliance United Insurance Company (Alliance United) for vandalism on her vehicle. The defendant is accused of reporting that her vehicle was parked near 17th Street in Santa Ana and that she had found the vehicle with damage to the driver’s side and windshield area at around 2:30 a.m. Sicairos is also accused of filing a police report with SAPD on Dec. 2, 2015, claiming that her vehicle had been vandalized while parked. During Alliance United’s investigation of the insurance claim, Sicairos is accused of submitting a notarized Affidavit of Loss claiming vandalism was the reason for the damage to her vehicle.

After seeing media coverage seeking additional information about the fatal hit-and-run, a witness reported a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle involved was located at an auto body shop in Bloomington.

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February 17, 2017

U.S. Navy Commander Charged as Part of Expanding Navy Bribery Scandal

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

A current U.S. Navy Commander was charged in a complaint unsealed today with accepting luxury travel, elaborate dinners and services of prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis in exchange for classified and internal U.S. Navy information.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson of the Southern District of California, Director Andrew L. Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Dermot F. O’Reilly of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) made the announcement.

Mario Herrera, 48, of Helotes, Texas, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with interactions with Leonard Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore.  Herrera was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, this morning and is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in the Western District of Texas.  The United States will seek removal of Herrera to San Diego to face charges.

According to the complaint, Herrera participated in a bribery scheme with Francis in which he accepted luxury travel and entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes in exchange for helping to steer lucrative U.S. Navy contracts to Francis and GDMA.  Herrera provided Francis with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information and intervened on GDMA’s behalf in contract disputes.  According the complaint, Herrera directed ships to take alternative routes that benefitted GDMA on two separate occasions, costing the U.S. Navy $3.6 million.

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Riverside County Man Arrested on Federal Charges of Advertising, Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

RIVERSIDE, California – Federal authorities this morning arrested a Perris man who was indicted last week by a grand jury on child pornography offenses stemming from a large collection of illicit images found on his home computer and evidence that he was engaged in online trading of child pornography with others, including an undercover law enforcement officer.

Jerry Glen Moran Jr., 63, was taken into custody without incident by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Moran is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court.

A federal grand jury on February 8th named Moran in a four-count indictment that charges the defendant with one count of advertising child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

During the investigation, authorities recovered tens of thousands of images and videos on Moran’s home computer and in emails that he had sent and received. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reviewed many of the computer files and identified thousands of them as being known images and videos of child pornography.

The investigation into Moran began after he was found to be a user of a foreign photo-sharing website identified by law enforcement as a platform used by child pornographers to meet and trade child pornography.

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FORMER COSTA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER CONVICTED OF COMMITTING INSURANCE FRAUD AGAINST CITY OF COSTA MESA

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) officer was convicted today of committing insurance fraud by presenting a false insurance claim and making false material statements related to the claim. Ryan Patrick Natividad, 32, Corona, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of insurance fraud and one felony count of making a fraudulent statement. Natividad faces a maximum sentence of six years in county jail at his sentencing on April 7, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-47, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On Sept. 23, 2014, Natividad, who was employed as a CMPD officer at the time of the crime, reported a work-related injury to CMPD. Natividad falsely claimed that earlier in the day, he struck his hand against a brick wall near the CMPD jail while transporting an arrestee for booking. The defendant claimed that the arrestee stumbled into the wall, prompting him to use his hand to prevent the arrestee from striking the wall. Natividad filed a fraudulent workers’ compensation insurance claim and was subsequently directed by CMPD to seek immediate medical attention.

Natividad listed a jail employee as a witness to the incident in his injury paperwork. The employee reviewed the jail surveillance camera footage, determined that the incident the defendant reported never occurred, and brought the video footage to his supervisor’s attention. The video was submitted with Natividad’s workers’ compensation insurance claim to the City of Costa Mesa.

The City of Costa Mesa, the city’s insurance company AdminSure, and a private investigation firm hired by AdminSure investigated Natividad’s workers’ compensation insurance claim and reported the fraud to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, who investigated this case.

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February 16, 2017

Longtime Fugitive Enters Plea in Federal Hates Crimes Case Alleging Racially Motivated Murders of African Americans

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

LOS ANGELES – A member of the Avenues street gang who was on the run for well over a decade pleaded not guilty this morning to federal hate crimes charges stemming from the racially motivated murders of two African-American men in Highland Park.

Merced Cambero Jr., 38, whose street name was “Shadow,” entered not guilty pleas before United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who scheduled a trial on March 28.

Cambero was repatriated to the United States and turned over to the custody of special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department on February 3 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after he was deported by Mexican immigration authorities. In the weeks leading up to his deportation, Cambero had been detained in Baja California by Mexican law enforcement officers on an unrelated matter and was found to be using a false identification. Further investigation by Mexican authorities and members of the San Diego Police Department verified Cambero’s true identity and the outstanding federal civil rights charges in Los Angeles. At his initial court appearance later that day in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Cambero was ordered held in custody without bond.

Cambero faces three felony counts, including conspiring to violate the civil rights of African Americans who resided in Highland Park. Among the victims of the plot was Kenneth Kurry Wilson, a 38-year-old African-American man who was fatally shot in Highland Park on April 18, 1999. Members of the conspiracy also murdered Christopher Bowser, an African-American man who was shot while waiting at a bus stop in Highland Park on Dec. 11, 2000.

The conspiracy charge specially alleges that Cambero:

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Long Beach Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Illegally Shipping Large Quantity of Ammunition to Philippines

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

LOS ANGELES – A Long Beach woman has pleaded guilty to federal offenses for illegally shipping tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition to the Philippines.

Marlou Mendoz, 61, pleaded guilty on Monday in United States District Court to three counts of failing to provide the required written notice to freight forwarders that she was shipping ammunition to a foreign country.

Marlou Medoza admitted that she sent .22-caliber ammunition and bullets to the Philippines in three shipments in June 2011. The shipments contained 131,300 rounds, the defendant admitted in court.

Marlou Mendoza, who remains free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 20 by United States District Judge George H. Wu. As a result of the three guilty pleas, she faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

In a related case unsealed last year, Mark Louie Mendoza, the 31-year-old son of Marlou Mendoza, was charged with illegally shipping hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of firearms parts and ammunition to the Philippines – munitions that were concealed in shipments falsely claimed to be household goods.

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MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER FOR ASSAULTING AND RUNNING OVER COUSIN OF SHOOTING VICTIM DURING VIGIL AND FLEEING THE SCENE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged today with murder for assaulting and running over the cousin of a shooting victim during a vigil and fleeing the scene with his co-defendant. Sonny Steven Zieres, 26, Orange, is charged with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and a prior serious and violent felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 in Orange County. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 56 years to life in state prison. Zieres is scheduled to be arraigned today, Feb. 15, 2017, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Co-defendant Claudia Alicia Trejo, 29, Orange, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. If convicted, Trejo faces a maximum sentence of three years in county jail. The defendant is out of custody after posting bond, and her arraignment date is to be determined.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at approximately 10:40 p.m., Zieres is accused of driving his Chrysler 300 around the parking lot of a shopping center on Seventeenth Street and Grand Avenue in Santa Ana with passenger Claudia Trejo in the front seat. The day before, a man was shot and murdered in the parking lot, and friends and family of the shooting victim were gathered for a vigil near the scene of that crime.

Zieres is accused of engaging in a verbal altercation with members of the group who were mourning before intentionally driving toward the crowd with his vehicle. Zieres is then accused of running over 27-year-old Trisha Irene Verdugo, the cousin of the shooting victim from the day before, and murdering her. The defendant is accused of driving away from the scene. Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated this case.

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