Archive for the ‘US Attorney & DOJ’ Category

Acting U.S. Attorney announces major law enforcement initiative to combat violence, drug distribution by La Nuestra Familia gang

Friday, September 17th, 2021

Map of La Nuestra Familia’s Areas of Criminal Influence. Source: FBI San Francisco

“Operation Quiet Storm was one of the largest gang takedowns in FBI San Francisco division’s history,” charges 55 defendants, some from Antioch

Acting U.S. Attorney Hinds emphasizes focus on community engagement to root out drivers of violent crime

SAN FRANCISCO – Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds held a press conference Thursday to announce the unsealing of federal charges filed against 55 defendants, many of whom were members of, or affiliated with, the Nuestra Familia prison gang and its subservient street gangs.  Acting U.S. Attorney Hinds was joined in making the announcement by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Chief Office of Correctional Safety Derrick Marion, Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith, and San Jose Deputy Chief of Police Elle Washburn.

The focus of the press conference was the unsealing of 17 charging documents, including 14 indictments and 7 criminal complaints, setting out a broad array of charges against the defendants.

According to an FBI San Francisco tweet on Thursday, “Operation Quiet Storm was the culmination of more than 5 years of complex investigative work. The gangs targeted in this case are responsible for much of the illicit drug distribution and violent crime that has plagued areas throughout CA.”

“No single defendant is responsible for all the conduct I am describing,” said Hinds. “The charges against each defendant are described in a charging document that is unique to each defendant. By disrupting gang leadership, we reduce violence on our streets.  By removing violent actors and crime drivers from the streets, we make our neighborhoods safer.”

According to the documents unsealed today, La Nuestra Familia – Spanish for “Our Family”– was a prison gang operating in the California state prison system. Falling under the gang’s supervision are Norteño street gangs established in numerous cities and counties, and in jails and prisons, throughout Northern California and elsewhere. Several of the charging documents unsealed Thursday describe various aspects of the gang.  For example, one indictment (here (Leadership)) describes the largely-incarcerated leadership, while another (here (SJG)) describes the activities of a street gang called the San Jose Grande and yet another (here (EHP)) describes a group referred to as El Hoyo Palmas Street Gang. The picture that emerges is one of a violent and structured organization that finances its activities through crime and encourages its members to visit violence upon anyone who threatens the gang’s existence, including members who break gang rules, members who attempt to leave the gang, and rival gang members.

According to the documents unsealed Thursday, of the 55 defendants, 28 individuals were charged with racketeering crimes, while the remaining individuals were charged with drug trafficking and firearms offenses. Conspiracies alleged in the indictments include agreements to distribute drugs including heroine, methamphetamine, and cocaine; to commit armed robberies; and to commit murder.  Additional defendants were charged with other related crimes ranging from drug distribution to armed robbery.

According to a San Diego Union-Tribune report, “Prosecutors said 36 of the defendants were already in state prison and have been moved to federal holding facilities. Authorities have not said how many of the 19 remaining defendants were arrested in law-enforcement sweeps this week.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Hinds emphasized the goal to “fish with a spear, not a net.”

“Working with our federal and state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, as well as impacted communities, our law enforcement efforts have focused on addressing violent crime-driven by gangs,” said Hinds.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, as well as members of our community, to identify and address the drivers of crime in our neighborhoods.  We intend to continue to deliver results by focusing on the needs of our communities.”

“Operation Quiet Storm was one of the largest gang takedowns in FBI San Francisco division’s history,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Fair.  “The coordinated efforts of this operation were done with one goal in mind: to disrupt the communications and organizational structure of a criminal network who has terrorized our neighborhoods for far too long.”

“Today’s operation strikes a substantial blow to Nuestra Familia leadership. This investigation revealed the wide-ranging influence of the gang that extends far beyond prison walls. It is clear they have hard and fast rules, and those who run afoul are met with intimidation and violence that spills into our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shannon. “We will continue to look at these organizations structurally to disrupt and dismantle them.”

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Strike Force of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI (San Francisco, Sacramento, and Phoenix Divisions) and the DEA, with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, and the San Jose Police Department, as well as the support of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Antioch Police Department, Campbell Police Department, Fremont Police Department, King’s County Sheriff’s Office, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain View Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, Salinas Police Department, Menlo Park Police Department, Santa Clara County Parole Department, Santa Clara County Probation Department, Santa Clara Police Department, Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Modesto Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, and Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

This investigation and prosecution are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Mexican prison gang Nuestra Familia’s leaders, members, associates charged with racketeering

Friday, September 17th, 2021

Description of indictment by USDOJ against Nuestra Familia leaders, members and associates on Aug. 25, 2021.

Indictment describes the gang’s nexus of power overseeing thousands of members throughout California including Contra Costa County; Antioch Police Department assist in investigation

Involved in plots to murder 14 victims, plus robbery, drug trafficking and money laundering

SAN JOSE – A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging 17 defendants with racketeering conspiracy, including acts involving murder, robbery, drug trafficking, and money laundering, and charging five others with drug trafficking-related crimes.  The indictment handed down on August 25, 2021, and unsealed Thursday, September 16, 2021 catalogues a litany of crimes allegedly directed by the Nuestra Familia’s command structure incarcerated in California prisons.  The charging announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Hinds, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Crag D. Fair, and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon at a press conference this morning. Also appearing at the press conference were Chief of the Office of Correctional Safety for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Derrick Marion, Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith, and San Jose Deputy Chief of Police Elle Washburn. DOJ NF indictment 082521

“The indictment charges all seven of the members who make up the Nuestra Familia’s ruling body: the General Council,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Hinds. “While the physical movement of this leadership was restricted by prison walls, the indictment alleges their power and influence were not so constrained. By disrupting gang leadership, we reduce violence on our streets.  By removing violent actors and crime drivers from the streets, we make our neighborhoods safer.”

“The arrests made yesterday, most significantly the arrests of the Nuestra Familia leadership, will severely cripple the ability of this criminal enterprise to continue to facilitate crimes in communities throughout the state and help break a decades-old cycle of violence,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Fair.

“Today’s operation strikes a substantial blow to Nuestra Familia leadership. This investigation revealed the wide-ranging influence of the gang that extends far beyond prison walls. It is clear they have hard and fast rules, and those who run afoul are met with intimidation and violence that spills into our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. “We will continue to look at these organizations structurally to disrupt and dismantle them.”

According to the indictment, the 17 racketeering defendants were members and associates of the Nuestra Familia (“NF”) prison gang, a violent and lucrative organization formed in the 1960s.  The NF is alleged in the indictment to be a criminal enterprise that was created to organize, protect, discipline, profit from, and maintain the allegiance of gang members on the streets of and within custodial facilities in California.  As outlined in the indictment, membership in the NF involved a process of sponsorship, approval, and indoctrination.  The perpetration of violence and other crimes was ordinarily a prerequisite to entrance, continued membership, and advancement in the organization.  Once membership was achieved, this membership was for life.  The indictment alleges an NF oath provides: “If I lead, follow. If I stumble, push me. If I fall, avenge me. If I betray you, kill me.”

The indictment also describes the NF’s organizational structure and, in particular, the gang’s governing body: a seven-member “General Council,” made up of three Generals and a four-member Inner Council, which makes significant decisions and oversees the activities of the NF and its subservient gangs.  The indictment outlines each position according to the NF Constitution.  According to the NF Constitution, the Street Regiment General oversees the NF’s “overall street operations.”  The General of the Prisons is responsible for the NF’s “overall pinta [prison] functions,” and the General Advocates Office is the NF’s “justice department.”  Tiered just below these three NF Generals was the Inner Council, which consisted of four senior NF members who served as “advisors” to the Generals and provided a system of checks and balances.  All seven members of the NF’s General Council led the NF organization while incarcerated in the California prison system.  Each is charged in this indictment.

Further, the indictment describes the appointment by these leaders of NF members to positions of power over hierarchical and paramilitary structures called “regiments,” imposed on its gang members operating on the streets in California.  While the NF was composed of a relative few, it exercised control and wielded influence over thousands of subordinate gang members in counties and prisons throughout Northern California using such regiments.  These regiments primarily guaranteed the NF’s vast influence and control over its own and its street gang members, ensured avenues to direct violence and other illicit activity, and secured means for the NF to make money through the commission of criminal activity.

The NF oversaw such regiments in Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Alameda County, Solano County, San Joaquin County, Fresno County, Kings County, Tulare County, Madera County, Merced County, Kern County, Sacramento County, Yolo County, Humboldt County, Shasta County, Lassen County, Tehama County, Butte County, Yuba County, Sutter County, Lake County, Placer County, and Sonoma County, as well as in Salinas Valley State Prison, Pelican Bay State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison, California State Prison – Solano, California State Prison – Sacramento, and High Desert State Prison.

According to the indictment, NF members and associates were involved in plots to kill 14 victims between April 2013 and July 2019 as part of the charged racketeering conspiracy.  The defendants charged in the alleged racketeering conspiracy include the following:

Defendant Age Charges Maximum Statutory Penalty
DAVID CERVANTES aka “DC” 73 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
ANTONIO GUILLEN aka “Chuco” 55 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
JAMES PEREZ aka “Conejo”

 

67 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
SAMUEL LUNA aka “Sammy”

 

46 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
GUILLERMO SOLORIO aka “Capone”

 

42 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
TRINIDAD MARTINEZ aka “Trino”

 

41 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
GEORGE FRANCO aka “Puppet”

 

56 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
STEVEN TRUJILLO aka “Esteban”

 

56 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
SALVADOR CASTRO aka “Gangster”

 

51 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
BRYAN ROBLEDO aka “Turtle” 48 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
ALEX YRIGOLLEN aka “Sleepy”

 

52 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
JUAN SOTO aka “Drifter”

 

38 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
EDGARDO RODRIGUEZ aka “Big Evil”

 

41 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
ROBERT MALDONADO aka “KJ”

 

46 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
ERIC ZARATE aka “Baby G”

 

43 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
ROCKY BRACAMONTE aka “Fox”

 

37 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy Life
JOSHUA CORTEZ aka “Buddah”

 

28 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) – Racketeering Conspiracy 20 years

Also charged in the indictment are defendants who allegedly participated in two conspiracies to possess and distribute methamphetamine, one in May of 2019 and the other in September 2020 to March 2021.  The charges pending against these defendants are as follows:

Defendant Age Charges Maximum Statutory Penalty
WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ aka “Negro” 34 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine At least 5 years, up to 40 years
MARVIN RODRIGUEZ 34 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine

 

At least 5 years, up to 40 years
CRISTIAN MORA aka “C-Fresh” 28 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine

 

At least 5 years, up to 40 years
MARTIN JOSEPH RUPPEL JR. 42 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine

 

At least 5 years, up to 40 years
ANAELISA CUEVAS 35 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine At least 5 years, up to 40 years

The court also may order additional terms of supervised release, fines, and restitution.  Nevertheless, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendants are scheduled to make initial federal court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Nathanael Cousins and U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Sallie Kim today.

This case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Strike Force of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI (San Francisco, Sacramento, and Phoenix Divisions), the DEA, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshal Service, with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, and the San Jose Police Department, and with support from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Antioch Police Department, Campbell Police Department, Fremont Police Department, King’s County Sheriff’s Office, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain View Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, Salinas Police Department, Menlo Park Police Department, Santa Clara County Parole Department, Santa Clara County Probation Department, Santa Clara Police Department, Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Modesto Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, and Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

This investigation and prosecution are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Feds charge Antioch nurse with possession of child pornography

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

In addition to charges filed by Contra Costa DA

Shawn Jamison Prichard. Photo: CCDA

OAKLAND –Shawn Jamison Prichard was charged in a criminal complaint with possession of child pornography announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.

That’s in addition to the charges filed against him by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on December 10th. (See related article) (See related article)

According to the complaint filed December 22, 2020, and unsealed this morning, Prichard, 41, of Antioch, allegedly possessed at least one image of child pornography involving the use of a prepubescent minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Prichard is a licensed nurse in California.  The criminal investigation in this case began with a tip from a social media company based on defendant’s use of a messaging service to send images of child pornography. Prichard is charged with possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252.

Prichard made his initial federal court appearance in federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen.  His next appearance is a detention hearing scheduled for December 29, 2020, at 10:30 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

A criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years (20 years if the images depict pre-pubescent children), and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, if appropriate.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan U. Lee is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Rodriguez Gonzalez and Kathleen Turner.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and HSI.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Texas man charged with defrauding Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 of $4.5 million

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Scheme allegedly involved kickbacks paid in bricks of cash wrapped in silver bags

OAKLAND – Scott A. Wilson was arrested today in connection with a complaint unsealed in Oakland alleging that he defrauded the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, based in Alameda, California, of approximately $4.5 million, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John L. Bennett, and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Quentin Heiden.

According to the complaint, Wilson, 52, of Corsicana, Texas, was the director of the union’s information technology department, where he had authority to purchase goods and services.  While working for the union, Wilson allegedly set up a front company called OST.  Using the alias, “John Lasson,” Wilson allegedly used OST to receive funds from the union, at first directly and then through two other front companies set up by a friend and a relative under Wilson’s direction.  Between 2011 and 2017, Wilson allegedly used these front companies to fraudulently invoice the union for IT-related goods and services that were never to be delivered, taking some funds directly through OST, and others through kickbacks paid by his friend and relative.  Wilson also allegedly used the front companies to conceal payments made with union funds to his own family members, primarily for work that was never done.  At one point, according to the complaint, Wilson arranged for the union funds to be withdrawn from the front companies’ accounts and delivered to him at various restaurants around the Bay Area in the form of cash, wrapped in the shape of bricks and placed in silver bags.

The complaint alleges that over the course of six years, in total Wilson fraudulently directed approximately $4.5 million to the front companies, of which $2.5 million was kicked directly back to Wilson in various ways.  The complaint further alleges that Wilson used the allegedly embezzled funds to, among other things, purchase land in Corsicana, Texas, and build himself a house there.

According to the complaint, the scheme was discovered when the union’s finance department learned that Wilson had concealed that he was the principal behind one of the front companies with which his IT department was conducting business.

Wilson was arrested on June 26, 2020, in Corsicana, Texas, and made an appearance in federal court in Dallas this afternoon.   He was ordered to appear in federal court in Oakland on July 13, 2020.

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, along with potential restitution and forfeiture.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Labor Management Standards.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Supervisors, protesters overlook Grand Jury report calling for increased Sheriff, police staffing in Contra Costa

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Supes close to forming Office on Racial Justice and Equity; hear from County Clerk-Registrar of Voters urging vote-by-mail for November Election

By Daniel Borsuk

While critics of Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston and his department again blasted the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors with complaints over the $2.8 million in proposed increased funding for the 2020-2021 fiscal year at their meeting Tuesday, no one paid any attention to an important Grand Jury report on “Police Department Staffing” that supervisors unanimously approved as a consent item during the same meeting.

In other action, Supervisors Federal Glover of Pittsburg and John Gioia of Richmond announced the potential formation of a County Office of Racial Justice and Equity for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year. The board also received a progress report on the 2020 November election from Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Debi Cooper that heavily endorsed voters to mail ballots.

Grand Jury Report on Police Staffing

“The Grand Jury found that relatively low authorized sworn officer levels and ongoing unfilled officer positions contribute to mandatory officer overtime, reduced level of police services such as traffic enforcement and school resource officers, and longer response times,” the Grand Jury report stated.

The Grand Jury report found that the Sheriff’s Office and 15 municipal police departments have difficulty recruiting, hiring and retaining officers. “Fewer applicants than in the past are applying to law enforcement due to different career expectations, the availability of less dangerous jobs, and negative perceptions of policing,” the report stated.

The Contra Costa Herald contacted Sheriff Livingston’s office for comment about the Grand Jury’s findings, but there was no comment from the Sheriff’s Office by deadline

“Accountability is needed,” demanded Pittsburg resident Don Hernandez. “You guys (i.e., the Board of Supervisors) need to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”

Hernandez was one of more than 18 speakers opposing increased funding for the Sheriff’s Office, but one unidentified caller supported extra funding for the sheriff saying without extra resources sheriff deputies will not be able to properly respond to emergencies when they arise.

County worker Christopher Brown said “Racism is systemic. Something needs to change. Mental health is a huge issue. Mental health deserves to be a bigger part of the budget, not the sheriff.”

“We need a criminal justice system that does not go backwards. We need a system that solves problems.” said Walnut Creek resident Karen Perkins. “I urge you to drive away funds from the Sheriff’s Office and form a racial justice commission.”

Based on 2019-2020 data, the Sheriff’s Office and 15 cities are below the state ratio of 1.48 patrol officers per 1,000 residents. Only the cities of El Cerrito with a 1.77 ratio and San Pablo with a 1.85 ratio were above the state average. The Sheriff’s Office had a 1.06 ratio.

The report also found that every police department except Clayton, Moraga, Oakley and Walnut Creek had unfilled positions mainly as a result of retirements, officers on leave, lateral transfers of the department and resignations.

The Sheriff’s Office had the most number of unfilled positions due to resignations at 65, with Richmond having 15 unfilled positions, Antioch 10 unfilled positions, Martinez and Concord each six unfilled positions, El Cerrito 5 unfilled positions, Brentwood and San Ramon each 4 unfilled positions, Pleasant Hill 3 unfilled positions, San Pablo 2 unfilled positions, and Pinole, Pittsburg, Lafayette and Danville with 1 unfilled position each.

Even then, supervisors received a number of complaints from citizens that the sheriff does not deserve a proposed $2.8 million increase in 2020-21 funding, even though later on during the meeting County Administrator David Twa forecast that the Sheriff’s Office might lose $13 million in state Proposition 72 funds later this year.

“The sheriff will have less money next year,” said Twa, who gave a gloomy fiscal forecast. The District Attorney Office’s budget might be down $6.2 million, he predicted. The county hospital is losing $60 million in revenue and earlier this month the county laid off 30 library workers.

Yet, with all this gloomy financial news, Twa announced that after two years of labor negotiations, the county and the 9,000 members of the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority and SEIU Local 2015 have agreed to a new labor pact that ends in 2022.

Proposed Office of Racial Justice and Equity Moves Forward

After listening an hour-long presentation from supporters for the formation of a County Office of Racial Justice and Equity, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg and John Gioia of Richmond said they plan to soon present to the full Board a new Office on Racial Justice and Equity.

Both supervisors serve on the Public Protection Committee where the proposal to form an Office on Racial Justice and Equity Is taking shape.

“One thing we will bring is the discussion of the formation of an Office of Racial Justice and Equity. Your voice has been heard. We plan to bring this proposal before the Board in the near future,” said Glover.

Gioia said it is possible supervisors can consider a proposed office at its next board meeting on July 14. “It’s a matter of listening to the community in Contra Costa County. There should be a community process on how it should be done. There will be a lot more community input.”

In what is shaping up to be a difficult fiscal year, proponents of an Office of Racial Justice and Equity called on Supervisors to defund the Sheriff’s Office and transfer those funds to the new office to assist residents of color with a 14.5 percent unemployment rate in Contra Costa County on April 2020 compared to 3.1 percent on February 2020.

Additionally, 45 percent of African Americans, 57 percent of Latinx, 26 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders, 29 percent Native Americans and 20 percent White households were financially precarious before the pandemic, according to an Insight Center study.

County Recorder-Registrar of Voters Urges Vote by Mail

Contra Costa County Recorder-Registrar of Voters Debi Cooper informed supervisors it is untrue that voting by mail promotes fraud. “Despite what you hear, voting my mail does not increase fraud, she said. Outreach and education to vote by mail has been increased. The postage is free.”

Cooper described how the department she leads that will have 45 drop boxes and six polling locations throughout the County on Nov. 3. She said voting by mail will be the safest way to vote because COVID-19 will still be present.

Cooper expected to mail 700,000 ballots and more than 500,000 ballots will be returned by voters.

“I find it unacceptable to have six polling locations in the county,” said supervisor Gioia of Richmond. “I would reevaluate churches. Churches would be willing to be polling locations and to have equipment on locations for four days.

County elections officials expect about 150,000 voters will show up at the polls to cast ballots. There were 85,000 voters at the polls in the March election.

Bowling Alleys, Bars, Hotels to Open July 1 – Possibly

With word that the Contra Costa County Department of Public Health reported 34 new COVID-19 cases last week, department director Anna Roth said the county is still moving ahead to open hotels, bowling alleys and bars on July 1 and starting on July 15 movie theaters, card rooms and banks will open.

But the news was not all that great. The county is on the state watch list because of a spike in cases. Last week the county reported 34 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s grand total to 2,454 cases. There have been 52 deaths in the county. “Clearly there’s been an increase,” said Roth, who attributed the rise to persons in low income communities and living in long term care facilities.

Deputy County Health Director Dr. Sarah Levine said there has been an increase in the number of young patients being diagnosed positive with COVID-19 mainly because they do not practice the main hygiene principles – constantly washing hands, covering mouths, social distance, and staying home.

However, based on the announcement by the Contra Costa Health Services on Friday, that date for those activities is in doubt. (Please see related article).

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Two from Antioch, Pittsburg among five Bay Area residents indicted for stealing over 70 guns from Vacaville store

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Theft occurred during height of recent civil unrest; arrested following high-speed police pursuit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Five individuals were indicted Thursday for the burglary of a Vacaville gun shop, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, on June 1, police responded to reports of suspicious activity at Guns, Fishing and Other Stuff, a two-story gun and outdoor recreation store in Vacaville. Guns, Fishing and Other Stuff is a federally licensed firearms dealer. When officers responded, four vehicles fled the scene. After a high-speed chase on Interstate 80 during which vehicles reached over 100 miles per hour, one vehicle, a rented minivan, was stopped, and its five passengers were arrested after a foot pursuit. In total, the gun store reported that over 70 firearms had been stolen.

According to the criminal complaint, inside the minivan were bolt cutters, a power saw, and 13 handguns with price tags from Guns, Fishing and Other Stuff still attached. Donte Marcel Anderson, 31, of Antioch; Desteny Estrella Leilani Salazar, 22, of San Francisco; Donley Thompson, 27, of Pinole; Tracy Whitfield, 31, of Pittsburg; and Adrian Oscar Duran, 23, of San Francisco, were arrested. They are charged with possession of a stolen firearm and burglary of a federally licensed firearms dealer.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Vacaville Police Department, Fairfield Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Vallejo Police Department, and California Department of Justice – Bureau of Firearms. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin L. Lee and Brian A. Fogerty are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for both counts. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch to receive Department of Justice grant to address COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO – U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson today announced that counties and cities throughout the Northern District of California have been allocated a total or more than $7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to respond to the public safety challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Justice awarded the grants through the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, which was authorized by recent federal stimulus legislation. Antioch will receive $161,353. 

“First responders continue to work hard to keep the public safe at this time,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “They deserve not just our admiration and appreciation, but also our support. We are pleased to announce this funding to assist law enforcement and public safety efforts throughout our district.”

“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the public health emergency it created are sobering reminders that even the most routine duties performed by our nation’s public safety officials carry potentially grave risks,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These funds will provide hard-hit communities with critical resources to help mitigate the impact of this crisis and give added protection to the brave professionals charged with keeping citizens safe.”

The law gives jurisdictions considerable latitude in the use of these funds for dealing with COVID-19. Potential uses include hiring personnel, paying overtime, purchasing protective equipment, distributing resources to hard-hit areas and addressing inmates’ medical needs.

Agencies that were eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for the emergency funding. Local units of government and tribes will receive direct awards separately according to their jurisdictions’ allocations. Information on how to apply for grants is available at https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/bja-2020-18553.

California counties and municipalities throughout the Northern District received grants through the program:

Jurisdiction Name Grant Allocation
ALAMEDA CITY $41,660
ALAMEDA COUNTY $133,882
ANTIOCH CITY $161,353
BERKELEY CITY $135,693
CONCORD CITY $105,655
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY $82,337
DALY CITY $56,072
EAST PALO ALTO CITY $32,226
EMERYVILLE CITY $32,903
EUREKA CITY $50,185
FREMONT CITY $89,657
GILROY CITY $43,922
HAYWARD CITY $132,068
HUMBOLDT COUNTY $60,602
LAKE COUNTY $45,281
LIVERMORE CITY $43,242
MARIN COUNTY $58,008
MENDOCINO COUNTY $69,733
MONTEREY COUNTY $58,337
MOUNTAIN VIEW CITY $33,660
NAPA CITY $65,354
NAPA COUNTY $58,008
OAKLAND CITY $1,330,582
PETALUMA CITY $51,091
PITTSBURG CITY $63,695
REDWOOD CITY $42,488
RICHMOND CITY $221,800
ROHNERT PARK CITY $47,469
SALINAS CITY $235,764
SAN FRANCISCO CITY AND COUNTY $1,449,067
SAN JOSE CITY $865,998
SAN LEANDRO CITY $107,391
SAN MATEO CITY $58,562
SAN MATEO COUNTY $70,864
SAN PABLO CITY $46,867
SAN RAFAEL CITY $51,242
SANTA CLARA CITY $39,923
SANTA CLARA COUNTY $70,261
SANTA CRUZ CITY $107,845
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY $65,506
SANTA ROSA CITY $149,879
SONOMA COUNTY $140,146
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO CITY $40,751
SUNNYVALE CITY $37,584
UNION CITY $60,450
WATSONVILLE CITY $63,318

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

California federal prosecutors and FBI to hold telephone Town Hall Monday on COVID-19 scams

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

Seniors, public invited to listen – must register, first

SAN FRANCISCO – Prosecutors from the four United States Attorney’s Offices in California, along with representatives from the FBI, will participate in a telephonic town hall to help California residents identify and avoid fraudulent schemes related to Coronavirus and COVID-19.  The event is being coordinated by the American Association of Retired Persons (“AARP”).

The telephonic town hall will happen on Monday, April 20 from 10 to 11 a.m. PDT. During the event, a special agent from the FBI and a federal prosecutor will make presentations, and participants from across California will be allowed to ask questions to a panel of Assistant United States Attorneys from the four offices that serve California.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is providing the infrastructure for the event. Approximately 100,000 AARP members will receive a phone call Monday morning inviting them to participate in the town hall. Those who wish to receive an invitation may sign up here (https://vekeo.com/aarpcalifornia/).

During the current health crisis, federal investigators and prosecutors continue to fulfill their critical mission of protecting public safety. Federal officials have prioritized the disruption, investigation and prosecution of crimes related to Coronavirus and COVID-19, including fraudulent schemes, unapproved treatments, and scams related to stimulus money. During the town hall, federal officials will discuss the types of schemes currently being seen, along with tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Soon after the town hall event, a recording will be available at https://vekeo.com/aarpcalifornia/.

REPORT COVID-19 CRIME.  Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline: 866-720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter