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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Police find pot-growing operation

orange county bail bondsFOUNTAIN VALLEY – Police uncovered a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in a Fountain Valley home Monday and seized more than 300 plants and about a pound of dried marijuana during a search of the residence.

Investigators discovered the marijuana-cultivation operation while carrying out a search warrant at the home in the 10700 block of El Rubi Circle, a police statement said.

Each room in the home, including four bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room, was dedicated to marijuana cultivation, police said, with “sophisticated” ventilation, lighting, ballasts and irrigation systems and processing equipment throughout the residence.

Southern California Edison officials determined that the electricity that powered the operation was hooked up illegally, police said.

Investigators seized 340 growing plants and about 1 pound of dried marijuana. The estimated street value of the marijuana wasn’t immediately known.

The home was unoccupied when investigators arrived, and police are working to identify who was responsible for the operation.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By SEAN EMERY/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

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Police: Man killed by train in Anaheim

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A man on a bike was killed when a Metrolink train about 4:35 p.m. on the tracks along La Palma Avenue between East and Pauline streets in Anaheim, according to officials.
KEVIN WARN, FOR THE REGISTER

ANAHEIM – A man walking a bicycle along a train track was struck and killed by a Metrolink train Monday in Anaheim, authorities said.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., officers responded to reports of a train striking a bicyclist, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

The man, whom authorities have not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe the man was pushing his bicycle along the tracks south of La Palma Avenue and east of Pauline Street when he was struck by a southbound train.

Authorities are treating the death as an accident, Dunn said, and have seen no initial indications that the man purposely stepped into the path of the train.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the man did not hear the train approaching.

In the hours after the death, trains were slowly moved through that portion of the tracks, causing delays for commuters. La Palma was initially expected to remain closed for hours, but all but one lane was reopened by 6 p.m.

The Anaheim incident marks the second time in recent days that a Metrolink train has fatally struck a person in Orange County.

Andrew Powell, 20, of Fullerton was struck and killed by a Metrolink train near Brookhurst Road and Commonwealth Avenue in Fullerton shortly before 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By SEAN EMERY/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

 

Jose Vargas, who gave voice to Latinos as police officer, dies at 77

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Jose Vargas collected a room full of mementos during his time in Santa Ana, including a giant cutout of himself in uniform. He’s shown here on the last day before he retired.
FILE: JEBB HARRIS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

He’s been thought of as the best police officer ever hired in Orange County.

He came to the United States as a teenager and collected garbage to make ends meet. He learned English and became a U.S. citizen. His drive to succeed in this country defined him as an officer, earning him the title as one of Santa Ana’s most recognizable leaders.

After years of struggling with Parkinson’s disease, Jose Vargas died Friday at the home of his caregiver in Corona. He was 77.

Vargas was born Jan. 25, 1936, in San Martin Hidalgo, Mexico. He emigrated to the United States at 15, drove a Jaycox Disposal trash truck for a living, and 10 years later began night school to improve his English. At 30, Vargas earned his high school diploma and began studying police science at Fullerton College.

In 1969, Vargas, who as a youngster in Mexico dropped out of school to shine shoes and sell newspapers to help his family, became an American citizen and a member of the Stanton Police Department in two swearing-in ceremonies on the same day.

In a Register story, Vargas remembered the years he had spent running from the police and how they had occasionally kicked him or ridiculed him. He thought of the respect commanded by the police uniform.

“I decided to go for the biggest challenge,” Vargas said. “The biggest challenge for someone of my background was to be a police officer.”

Within a few years, he distinguished himself with unique ties to the Spanish-speaking community, said his son Joe Vargas, who followed in his father’s footsteps by going into police work, and in 2010 retired as a captain after 30 years with the Anaheim Police Department.

“So much of what I do, and who I am, is a direct result of his example,” said Joe Vargas in a 2010 Register story on his own retirement.

Jose Vargas became the human relations officer for the Stanton Police Department and worked there until 1975, when then-Chief Ray Davis convinced him that Santa Ana, with its growing Spanish-speaking community, was the place to be, his son recalled.

Vargas joined the Santa Ana Police Department and soon was assigned as the department’s first Hispanic affairs officer. “In his role as the Hispanic affairs officer, Vargas was the cornerstone of the department’s community-policing program,” said Cmdr. Bill Nimmo in a statement regarding Vargas’ passing. With the Santa Ana force, he was named one of the outstanding officers in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

As a veteran officer in Santa Ana, Vargas would often be recognized by residents who would question him in Spanish about how to resolve problems such as a teen drug use or neighborhood gangs. His reach into Orange County’s Latino population was deep.

“He had a tremendous amount of respect from the community,” Joe Vargas said Monday.

Paul Walters, Santa Ana’s former city manager, said Vargas began with the department when community policing was in its infancy.

“He was an instrumental part of that strategy,” said Walters, who joined the Santa Ana police force in 1971 and had been police chief since 1988 before his city manager appointment.

“He had just an incredible network of people who trusted him and believed him,” Walters said. “He was a voice they could always call if they had a problem.

“He was really a great ambassador for the department and the city.”

Vargas retired from the Santa Ana Police Department in December 1997 and shortly after he began a Spanish-language cable show designed to help immigrants seize opportunities in their new country.

The show, “Que Pasa Con Jose Vargas,” gave referrals for abused women, information on high-paying bilingual jobs and a rundown of civil rights. One show depicted the life story of an immigrant who overcame gangs and drugs.

Soon after he retired from the Santa Ana Police Department, Vargas was offered a contract to consult with Anaheim police to build bridges with the immigrant community.

In that post, Vargas said he wanted to educate immigrants on how to avoid negative contacts with police through a tip sheet that included reasons why police can stop motorists, even if they’re driving perfectly, he said, such as driving on bald tires.

In a tense Anaheim City Council meeting in 2001, then-Mayor Tom Daly scolded the audience to keep comments brief as Vargas stood before the council. Around that time, a debate had raged in Anaheim over the policy of having an immigration agent stationed at the city jail.

Vargas spoke of how his sons were police officers and talked about being deported 15 times to Mexico.

“People do not understand that we came to this country to make this country great,” he told the council. “We searched the American dream. We contributed something.”

Joe said his father never forgot his roots.

As a Stanton patrol officer, Joe recalled, his father found a young man locked in a boxcar, dehydrated from recently crossing the border. After being hospitalized, the man was going to be left in the streets.

“He ended up living with us for about three to four months,” Joe Vargas said.

Joe Vargas said the man lived a successful life in the U.S. and said he was one of many his father took in.

“He really felt a strong desire to reach out to people in similar circumstances,” Joe said. “He was a very, very giving man.”

Vargas is survived by seven sons an adopted son and an adopted daughter.

Public viewing

A public viewing is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 E. Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana. Services are set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Waverley Chapel at Fairhaven Memorial.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By ALEJANDRA MOLINA/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

 

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NBA veteran Jason Collins says he is gay

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Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran from Southern California, became the first openly gay, active male player in a major American team sport Monday when he came out in a first-person Sports Illustrated article.

There have been reports recently that some NFL players planned to reveal they are gay, but Collins, who played last season with Boston and Washington but now is a free agent, took the lead.

His story, written with Sports Illustrated’s Franz Lidz, started simply: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

While the existence of gay athletes in American male professional team sports long has been a given, none had stepped forward during his playing career before Collins, who played in high school at Harvard-Westlake and collegiately at Stanford.

Collins said he had not told any NBA players he is gay and only started to come out to his family in the past year or so. He said he did not tell his twin brother, former NBA player Jarron Collins, until last summer.

The only indication Collins said he gave was wearing No. 98 last season because gay student Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered in 1998 in Wyoming.

Collins wrote that he wasn’t sure how he would be received in the NBA, but he did not feel he should remain silent any longer.

“I’m a veteran, and I’ve earned the right to be heard,” he wrote. “I’ll lead by example and show that gay players are no different from straight ones. I’m not the loudest person in the room, but I’ll speak up when something isn’t right.”

NBA commissioner David Stern released a statement after Collins’ news broke:

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who was fined $100,000 for yelling an anti-gay slur at a referee in a 2011 game, issued support for Collins on Twitter: “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU”

Lakers guard Steve Nash added on Twitter: “The time has come. Maximum respect.”

Former President Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea attended Stanford with Collins, tweeted: “I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend.”

Source: www.ocregister.com

By TODD HARMONSON

/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

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Officials identify Chinese tourist killed Friday

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Anaheim investigators document the scene after a female tourist, Wei-Lan Shi, 57, was fatally struck by a pickup truck on Beach Boulevard in Anaheim Friday night.
KEVIN WARN, FOR THE REGISTER

ANAHEIM – Authorities have identified the Chinese tourist killed Friday night while crossing a street in Anaheim.

Wei-Lan Shi, 57, had been crossing the 700 block of Beach Boulevard between West Orange Avenue and Stonybrook Drive at about 8:15 p.m. Friday when she was hit by a pickup truck headed north, officials said.

The woman was reportedly not using the crosswalk, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. Shi was pronounced dead at the scene but her name was not released at the time, pending notification of her family in China.

The driver was not arrested, Dunn said.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By ELYSSE JAMES, ALYSSA DURANTY and SEAN EMERY/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

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Car crashes through apartment building wall

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A driver lost control of his vehicle flipping into an apartment building on Chapman Avenue and Bayport Street around 8:40 p.m. Saturday night in Garden Grove. One occupant of the apartment was transported to the hospital with injuries. Red Cross was called for 15 people who were displaced.
KEVIN WARN, FOR THE REGISTER

GARDEN GROVE – A car crashed into the wall of an apartment building on Saturday night, displacing four families from their residences.

The driver had swerved after being in a hit-and-run with a burgundy SUV at about 8:39 p.m. on Saturday, said Lt. John Keely of the Garden Grove Police Department.

The driver lost control of the car and crashed through the wall of a four-plex in the 13100 block of Chapman Avenue near Haster Street, Keely said. Twenty-four people in four apartments were displaced, he said.

A pregnant woman was taken to a nearby hospital with a possible scrape. No one sustained major injuries, Keely said.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By ELYSSE JAMES/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

 

Police seek assault-weapon thief in July case

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Surveillance video shows a man police believe took a weapon from a gun shop. Westminster police said he walked out of the Stockade, 8061 Westminster Blvd., with a semi-automatic weapon hidden in his pants. The rifle, a black FNH SCAR 16 semi-automatic, .223-caliber weapon, is valued at $4,600.
COURTESY WESTMINSTER POLICE DEPARTMENT

WESTMINSTER – A man in his 20s walked away from a gun shop with an assault weapon stuffed down the front of his pants, and police are asking for the public’s help to identify him, officials confirmed Sunday.

The theft of the black FNH SCAR 16 semi-automatic rifle occurred nine months ago, but police released photos of the man suspected of taking the weapon Thursday hoping someone might be able to identify him.

Surveillance cameras at the Stockade, 8061 Westminster Blvd., captured images of a man on July 8, 2012, walking around the store and lingering near the .223-caliber rifle.

Westminster police Sgt. Richard Mize said the man hid the rifle in his pants when employees were distracted.

The gun is described as having a 16-inch barrel and a black, collapsible stock and was valued at $4,600.

Employees found the gun missing from an unlocked display case about six days later, after completing an inventory, Mize said.

The man was described as in his early 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds.

“We think he is a local,” Mize said. “He told customers that he grew up in Huntington Beach.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Westminster police at 714-898-3315, or Detective B. Marlow at 714-548-3741.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS, 855-847-6227, or occrimestoppers.org.

-Register staff writer Denisse Salazar contributed to this report.

By  SALVADOR HERNANDEZ/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.