Archive for the ‘East County’ Category

FBI: Bust of eight East County gang members on murder, conspiracy, pimping and firearms charges

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Eight alleged East County gang members who are suspects in a variety of crimes were arrested on Oct. 27. Photos by FBI Northern CA District

Arrested on Oct. 27th

By Allen Payton

FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the Northern California District office and Interim Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton announced on Wednesday the Oct. 27th arrests of eight East County gang members on murder, conspiracy to commit murder, pimping and firearms charges.

Bennett and Becton were joined by Pittsburg Police Chief Brian Addington and representatives from the Richmond Police Department, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department, San Francisco SWAT, El Cerrito Police Department, Contra Costa County Probation Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, San Pablo Police Department, Concord Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol.

Known as Operation Klap It Out, the joint effort resulted in the arrests of the suspects and the seizure of a variety of firearms during the search warrants, according to FBI Public Information Officer Cameron Polan.

Seven suspects and alleged members of the Klap Sh**/Broad Day gang from Antioch and Pittsburg were identified as Darnell Keyon Lash age 24, D’Vance Jaquez Sumblin age 20, Javelle Cooksey age 19, Lester Gene Curry age 21 (as of Tuesday), Ezell Tommy Jenkins age 19, Dasheid Keyonta Lash age 21, and Larry Darnell Goines, Jr. age 32. An eighth suspect gang member, Giovante Boyd was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for murder, but was not included in the complaint filed by the DA’s office against the other seven.

According to the complaint they were charged with the following eight counts: conspiracy to commit a crime – murder, carrying a loaded firearm/street gang, possession of firearm by a felon – prior(s), dissuading a witness by force or threat, conspiracy to commit a crime – second degree burglary, carrying a loaded firearm/street gang, conspiracy to commit a crime – pimping, and street terrorism.

“All eight are currently in a preliminary hearing which has been ongoing since Monday,” Polan added.

12/21/17 UPDATE: Asked about the delay in announcing the arrests she replied, “The delayed announcement was due to new leads that were presented as a result of the search warrants executed. The investigators did not want to jeopardize the new information with a public announcement.”

See the charges filed against the seven suspects, here: Charges filed vs Operation Klap It Out gang suspects

The firearms seized during Operation Klap It Out.

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Three peformances of “Sing Noel” Christmas musical at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, Sunday, Dec. 24

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

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County CASE Team investigation nets arrests of nine East County suspects

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Guns and drugs seized by the CASE team during a recent investigation in East County. Photo courtesy of CCCSheriff

After a months-long investigation into a gang in East Contra Costa County that was allegedly transferring firearms illegally, law enforcement officers on Wednesday executed eight search warrants in Pittsburg, Antioch, and Bay Point.

The investigation was led by CASE (Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort). During the operation, CASE was assisted by Special Agents from the California Department of Justice (Burea…u of Firearms), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, Pittsburg Police Department, Walnut Creek Police Department, Richmond Police Department and Probation Officers from the Contra Costa County Probation Department.

A total of nine people were arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility. They are being held on numerous charges that include conspiracy, gang and narcotics violations, and weapons’ charges including felon in possession of a firearm, possession of an assault rife, prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and illegal transfer of a firearm.

During searches of the locations, law enforcement officers seized one AK-47 style assault rifle, three handguns, high capacity magazines, cocaine, marijuana, and pills.

The CASE Team is a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Pittsburg Police Department and Walnut Creek Police Department. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.

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East County leaders meet at EC2 Summit to discuss plans for local job creation

Monday, November 13th, 2017

By John Crowder

On Friday, October 20, representatives of four cities and the county came together to discuss economic development for the East County region.  The annual EC2 (EC Squared, which stands for East County Economic Collaborative) Summit, the brainchild of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, is designed to promote job growth and economic opportunity in the region.  The event was held at the Antioch Community Center.

Moderated by Antioch Mayor Sean Wright, attendees heard from representatives from each of four cities; Antioch, Pittsburg, Brentwood, and Oakley, as well as a representative from the Contra Costa County Transportation Agency.

Presenters from each city highlighted resources and programs that are designed to stimulate economic activity.  Antioch’s presentation focused on the development of the waterfront, light industrial space, and the upcoming BART extension to the city.

The City of Pittsburg presentation highlighted a desire to move beyond heavy industry by shifting focus to manufacturing and their involvement in the Bay Area Manufacturing Initiative.  Also mentioned were marketing initiatives for the City, including the use of social media.

Oakley’s talk discussed how residential development is driving growth.  According to their presentation, they have over 5000 entitled residential lots, along with over 300 acres of industrial zoned land.  Emphasizing that as a city they are, “development friendly,” they noted a reduction in commercial impact fees of 40% and a streamlined project approval process.

The City of Brentwood touted their Economic Development Action Plan.  Some of their “game changers” include a business development center, full scale hospital, a Next Generation Technology Business Park, and a Farm to Fork program.

Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Randy Iwasaki discussed the East Bay as a “Corridor of Opportunity,” with a broad overview of how voter approved transportation initiative funds are being used.  The projects he mentioned included work on Highway 4, BART expansion to Antioch, and the Highway 160/Highway 4 Connector Ramps.  He also discussed future projects under consideration.

Antioch Mayor Sean Wright commented on the event, saying, “It was awesome to see all four cities and the County coming together to discuss strategies and work being done to bring jobs to East Contra Costa County.  Too many of our residents are spending too much of their lives commuting and we must double our efforts to bring those good paying jobs here to our region.”

His sentiments were echoed by Richard Pagano, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.  He said the important question is, “How do we work regionally to bring jobs to the entire area? A job in Antioch helps Oakley, and vice-versa.  That’s the paradigm shift we’re trying to effect.”

The television broadcast of EC2 can be seen on the following channels in November: CCTV – Wednesday November 15 at 12 pm and Delta TV – Thursday November 16 at 10 am.

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Antioch woman among three arrested for Thursday armed bank robbery in Brentwood

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Armed robbery of BAC Bank branch; Antioch Police assist in arrests.

From Brentwood Police Facebook page

On November 9, 2017, at approximately 12:57 p.m., Brentwood officers responded to a “hold up” alarm at BAC Community Bank located at 740 First Street. The suspect, described as a light skinned male, in his 30’s, 6-foot, 180 lbs., produced a dark colored handgun and demanded cash, receiving an undisclosed amount. The suspect fled the bank on foot last seen running westbound across First Street towards Diablo Alley. Nobody was injured during the robbery.

During the course of the investigation, Brentwood officers and investigators quickly developed a solid lead that ultimately led to the arrest of three suspects.

Surveillance footage and good witness statements confirmed there was more than one suspect involved. The surveillance footage and statements offered a detailed description of the suspects and their getaway vehicle.

Approximately three hours after the robbery, Antioch patrol officers located the vehicle on a surface street and detained all three suspects without incident. Evidence from the robbery was recovered during the investigation including an amount of cash taken during the robbery.

The suspects were identified as:

  1. Donte Davis, 35-year old, male, Clearlake, CA resident – This suspect entered the bank and committed the robbery.
  2. Eddie Starks, 29-year old, Pittsburg resident.
  3. Maquetta Sanders, 39-year-old, Antioch resident.

Davis, Starks and Sanders were booked into the Martinez Detention Facility charged with First Degree armed robbery and Conspiracy. Starks and Sanders were also charged with being Accessories in the robbery, all felony charges.

The Brentwood Police Department would like to extend a special thanks to the witnesses involved in this case as well as the Antioch officers involved in the apprehension.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Head at 925-809-7734 during regular business hours or 925-809-7911 after 5 p.m. Callers can remain anonymous.

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Danville woman identified as victim in Friday morning Byron homicide

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff are continuing to investigate a homicide in Byron. The victim has been identified as 37-year-old Emily Courchesne of Danville.

On Friday morning, October 6, 2017 at about 10:05, Deputies were dispatched to a “Medical – PD” call at a residence on the 24000 block of Marsh Creek Road in Byron. Deputies found Courchesne deceased inside the home. Detectives later determined it was a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Antioch, San Francisco men arrested for August murder of woman in Byron

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Aleli Avila. From CoCoSheriff

Homicide Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff have arrested two suspects in the killing of 49-year-old Aleli Avila of San Francisco. Her body was found on a roadway on August 22, 2017, at about 3:50 PM, in the area of 500 Camino Diablo Road in Byron. (See related article)

Detectives on Tuesday arrested 44-year-old Alex Estrada of Antioch. He was arrested in Pittsburg. Estrada was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on a murder charge. The D.A.’s Office has since formally charged him. Estrada is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. 

Friday morning Detectives arrested 60-year-old Rodolfo Manalo of San Francisco. He was arrested in Daly City. Manalo was booked on a murder charge. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Detectives worked continuously on the Avila murder investigation. They interviewed numerous people, collected evidence, and followed up on all leads. They were able to obtain arrest warrants for both Estrada and Manalo.

The investigation is ongoing. The motive is still being determined. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or call the anonymous tip lines at (925) 313-1166 or (866) 846-3592. Tips can also be emailed to:tips@so.cccounty.us.

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Contra Costa’s CyberTran awarded U.S. patent for Transportation Internet

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Rendering of a CyberTran transit station. Renderings courtesy of CyberTran International, Inc.

Ultra-Light Rail Transit system vehicles travel throughout connected rail networks at low, medium and high speeds, direct to destination and at much lower capital deployment and maintenance costs

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA – CyberTran International, Inc. (CTI) offers the most innovative approach to solving the world’s traffic congestion problems. The recent patent approval for fixed guideway transportation systems, with lower cost of ownership and optimized benefits, validates what they’re calling the Transportation Internet technology. This system can be thought of as the computer-controlled technology solution to the problems of mass transit cost overruns and inefficiency.

Artist rendering of a CyberTran vehicle and station with overhead solar panels generating the power to operate the system.

CTI’s Ultra-Light Rail Transit (ULRT) is a mass transit system with the ability to build out Urban Circulator systems, Commuter Rail systems and High-Speed Rail systems and connect them to one network where small rail vehicles carrying up to thirty passengers can travel throughout the network Direct-to-Destination (nonstop). This allows ULRT to serve three separate markets, low, medium and high speeds! Until today all three markets have been served by three separate distinct technologies that can only be connected at transfer points where passengers have to disembark one system only to transfer to another to reach their destination.

Currently, CTI is closing in on funding for the purpose of demonstration and deployment. “Everybody wants to be second, nobody wants to be first,” said Dexter Vizinau, President of CTI.

Transit officials are hesitant to take a chance on a small and innovative company. The BART system started out as a demonstration project and the technology was the first of its kind. Today, CTI has approximately ten cities that are willing to be first, he explained.

In every major metropolitan region of the world, people are stuck in traffic. Today’s solutions aren’t working.

“Expanding today’s transit systems are too costly to build and maintain, yet transit officials continue to approach this as a solution, with little result,” said Neil Sinclair, CTI Board Chairman. “There’s a $78 billion backlog in transit systems maintenance in the U.S. and the only way to pay for it is to raise taxes. In the meantime, we’re all stuck in traffic with no end in sight.” That is, until today.

Overview rendering of the offline CyberTran stations.

“Our patent validates everything we’ve already proven,” Vizinau continued. “Two full-scale prototype vehicles have already been built and tested. The test vehicles have achieved speeds of up to 60 mph and have climbed a 10% grade, which means ULRT can go over the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles and also travel up the Grapevine Summit in Southern California. Bullet train systems and L.A. Metro-like systems cannot climb steep grades and therefore either have to tunnel or go around.”

By building out ULRT networks in cities at 35 mph, and then connecting them together throughout a region at 80 mph, ULRT becomes a commuter rail system like BART and Metro in Los Angeles. ULRT can handle the same throughput as BART during rush hour via the Transbay Tube. CTI can then connect regions with a high-speed line. The ULRT System design is flexible and can expand easily. Guideways and civil structures are manufactured offsite and assembled onsite allowing ULRT systems to be constructed more efficiently. CTI can construct long-distance systems in up to a quarter mile per day. The system was designed to reach speeds of up to 150 mph. (See related article)

CyberTran’s ULRT system also operates from solar power. Canopies of solar panels above the guideway can generate more than one megawatt per mile and eight times more energy than the system consumes, and supply renewable energy to surrounding communities resulting in a net gain to CTI.

Rendering of a possible CyberTran station on the second floor of an office building and campus.

Transit officials currently purchase transit systems from foreign companies. CTI plans to manufacture ULRT transit systems for a global market in Contra Costa County. “We’ve been to China five times in as many years. There are six hundred cities in China that can use this,” says Sinclair. Councilmember Rich Kinney of the City of San Pablo states, “West Contra Costa County in particular has to solve the I-80 corridor congestion issue to attract more businesses and jobs to our cities. This is our opportunity to effectively address that issue. May we not continue to kick the proverbial can down the road – it’s time to embrace the full deployment of CyberTran right here at home.”

Earlier this year the city councils of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch each voted unanimously to join the cities of Richmond and San Pablo to support efforts by CTI to obtain the needed funding for systems in both Western and Eastern Contra Costa County. (See related article) In addition, CTI has the support of U.C. Berkeley in their efforts to bring the technology to market. (See related article)

The next steps for CTI are to obtain funding to build two showrooms and a factory. This calls for one low-speed demonstration track up to 35 mph, and one rapid speed demonstration track up to 150 mph – in curves and with left and right banking. Both demo tracks and factory construction are to be done concurrently. There were no funding programs to support transit innovation, such as ULRT, at the federal level until CTI lobbied Congress to create one. Program legislation was created and approved in 2014 under a Republican-controlled Congress and Senate. CTI was hopeful that President Obama would release the program funding but it did not happen. CTI is hopeful about the President Trump’s infrastructure package and is encouraged by their reception in Washington, D.C.

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