Posts Tagged ‘arrested’

Police: 2 Teens Killed In Break-In Attempt

September 6, 2009

From the Associated Press via the pittsburghchannel.com

3rd Teen Seriously Wounded

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Police in Texas said a group of teenagers were trying to break into a home when a resident opened fire and killed two of the youths.

 San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams said the shootings happened shortly before 2 a.m. Friday. He said two 16-year-olds died and a third teenager was seriously wounded. Another teen was unharmed and arrested in the shootings that were about 30 miles south of Austin.

 Authorities declined to release the teenagers’ identities but said the two killed were from Luling, about 20 miles from San Marcos.

 Williams said police responded to a call of a home invasion and shots fired.

 Authorities said the three people who were home at the time were not injured.

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New police leader meeting with NC town’s citizens

August 26, 2009

Submitted by WWAY on 4 June 2009 – 12:10pm.

SPRING LAKE, N.C. — A citizens group that formed after a North Carolina town’s police chief resigned and two officers were arrested is meeting with the department’s new leader.

The group Citizens on the Move is holding a town hall meeting Thursday so citizens can talk to interim Chief Gregg Jarvies. Group member Winford Lee told The Fayetteville Observer the mayor and four of the town of Spring Lake’s aldermen also will attend.

Judicial officials in Cumberland County have said they won’t accept felony cases from the local police. The county sheriff has taken over patrols and investigations in the town near
Fayetteville.

Two senior police supervisors face charges ranging from kidnapping to larceny and embezzlement.

ACLU sues over man’s arrest for videotaping police

August 14, 2009

By Jill King Greenwood
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 13, 2009

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Hill District man who was arrested for recording an incident between his friend and police.

The suit, filed today, stems from an April 29 incident between a friend of Elijah Matheny, 29, and University of Pittsburgh police officers. Matheny and his friend, who isn’t named in the suit, went to Oakalnd to search for furniture and other items discarded by Pitt students leaving for the semester and were picking through a Dumpster outside Bouquet Gardens on Oakland Avenue when the University police approached, according to the suit.

The officers asked Matheny and his female friend for identification. His friend gave police her name but did not have ID and was placed in handcuffs after police could find no record of her in their system, the suit states.

Matheny took out his cell phone and began recording the incident. Police were able to verify his friend’s identity and she was released but Matheny was arrested for violating the state’s Wiretap Act, said Witold Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director and one of the attorneys representing Matheny.

Matheny was also charged with “possession of an instrument of crime” in regards to his cell phone, Walczak said.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office is also named in the lawsuit because Assistant District Attorney Chris Avetta talked to Pitt officers and agreed that Matheny had violated the state statute and authorized the arrest, Walczak said.

In July, a judge dismissed all charges against Matheny.

A message left with University of Pittsburgh police Chief Tim Delaney and with Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. were not immediately returned.

Walczak said the state law is “absolute” in its terms regarding obtaining permission to record people in public but said case law states that public officials — including police officers — are exempt.

“This is a widespread misunderstanding among law enforcement and the staff at the District Attorney’s office,” Walczak said. “If the police are doing something wrong, a citizen has a right to record it. For the same reason the police want cameras on the front of their police cars, citizens should be able to record the behavior and actions of police officers. It’s for everyone’s benefit.”

Walczak said he worries that “dozens of lawsuits” will result in September if police arrest protesters and others recording interactions between them and officers at the Group of 20 summit.

“If there are problems at the G-20 you can bet people will be whipping out their cell phones and recording what is happening,” Walczak said. “The police will have enough going on with people vandalizing and breaking things, and they don’t need to be arresting people who are simply recording them. We need to educate local police before the G-20 or this is going to be a nightmare.”

Feds arrest head of anti-gang group in LA

June 25, 2009
By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer Thomas Watkins, Associated Press Writer Thu Jun 25, 12:04 am ET

LOS ANGELES – A man who said he left a ruthless street gang in Central America and later won praise for his anti-gang work in Los Angeles was arrested Wednesday by authorities who allege he conspired to kill a rival even as he spoke out against gang life.

Alex Sanchez, 37, who heads the local office of the nonprofit Homies Unidos anti-gang group, was taken into custody at his Bellflower home on federal racketeering charges, authorities said.

The indictment names 24 leaders, members and associates of MS-13, part of the Mara Salvatrucha gang affiliated with the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

It alleges crimes that include seven murders, eight conspiracies to commit murder, and gun and narcotics offenses since 1995. Sixteen of those named were already in custody. Four others, including Sanchez, were arrested Wednesday.

The alleged crimes by Sanchez occurred after he returned from El Salvador in 1996 and publicly decried gang life.

The indictment said he went by the nickname Rebelde, or rebel, and was a shot-caller for the Normandie contingent of MS-13. He and three others are accused in the indictment of conspiring to murder a man identified by authorities as Walter Lacinos “for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their position in MS-13.”

In May 2006, Lacinos was killed in El Salvador.

No other details were provided in the indictment. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney George Cardona declined to provide any specifics beyond the court filing.

Shot-callers manage the narcotics operations in certain gang territories, collect extortion payments and resolve disputes, the indictment states.

Mara Salvatrucha was formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s by immigrants fleeing the El Salvador civil war. The gang spread as members were deported to their home country and is now a major international criminal enterprise known for callous killings carried out by its members, many of whom are heavily tattooed with shaved heads.

Five others named in the indictment, not including Sanchez, conspired to murder a veteran gang detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities said.

Known as an anti-gang worker, Sanchez has testified as an expert witness in criminal cases, lobbied for better intervention and prevention programs, spoken to youths about the depressing consequences of gang life and been widely quoted in the media, including by The Associated Press.

Luis Enrique Guzman, a community organizer at the Los Angeles Homies Unidos office, said the group would have no immediate comment.

Luis Romero, director of the Homies Unidos office in El Salvador, said the organization did not accept the allegations against Sanchez.

“We know that Homies Unidos U.S.A. is doing great work in the reinsertion and rehabilitation of young people,” Romero said.

He said he had no details on the charges.

Asked what he thought prompted the allegations, he said, “these are the famous smoke screens, things that they use, things that they have not been able to solve and they take action without previously investigating.”

Sanchez arrived in Los Angeles at age 7 from El Salvador and joined Mara Salvatrucha when he was 14. He was jailed three times for minor offenses and deported to El Salvador in 1994.

He told the AP in a March interview that in his home country he had to live on the streets, fleeing death squads and gangs who threatened to kill him because they believed him a rival.

He returned illegally to Los Angeles in 1995. Authorities tried to deport him a second time, but he was granted political asylum after saying police picked him up because he had testified against officers in the Rampart police corruption scandal.

Several people spoke in his defense, including Tom Hayden, a former student radical and state senator.

In July 2002, Sanchez received political asylum after officials determined his life would be in danger if he returned to El Salvador.

It was the latest instance in which an anti-gang advocate has been arrested. In January, Marlo “Bow Wow” Jones was arrested in the robbing and beating of a rapper with the musical group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in his Universal City hotel room. At the time, Jones was working as a gang intervention worker.

Last year, Hector “Big Weasel” Marroquin, a former gang member in suburban Los Angeles who founded an anti-violence group, was sentenced to eight years in prison for selling assault weapons.

Civil rights lawyer and gang expert Connie Rice said anti-gang workers sometimes struggle to completely leave behind gang affiliations.

“The best ones are the ones who have completely gotten out of the life, but kept the relationships and still are respected,” she said. “But they are the exception and not the rule. Most of these guys are go-betweens, some act as buffers and some are still in the gang.”

Rice said she had wondered about Sanchez because he had been absent from community meetings aimed at reducing MS-13 violence.

“The thing that makes it really complicated is that Alex did really good work,” she said. “He helped a lot of kids, put a lot of kids in school.”

Homies Unidos was founded in 1996 in El Salvador. Sanchez helped establish the Los Angeles office the following year.

The office has helped remove tattoos from more than 240 gang members.

FBI officials said everyone named on the indictment could face up to 25 years to life in prison, while those charged with murder could face the death penalty. No one else from Homies Unidos was named in the indictment.

___

Associated Press Writer Marcos Aleman in El Salvador contributed to this story

Air-conditioned drugs smuggling tunnel discovered on US-Mexico border

April 10, 2009

Mexican police have arrested eight men after discovering a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel complete with air conditioning and a lift being dug close to the US border.

 
1 of 2 Images
The 150 yard-long passageway found in northwest Mexico less than 65 yards from the US border

Officials discovered a clandestine passage after reports of suspicious activity at a house in Mexicali, across the border from Calexico Photo: AP

The 150 yard-long passageway was found in northwest Mexico less than 65 yards from the US border and close to the California town of Calexico.

It was 1.4 yards wide and 5.4 yards below ground with an electric rail for transporting containers, ventilation, lights and air-conditioning, according to Juan Miguel Guillen, director of police in Mexico’s northern Baja California state.

Officials discovered the clandestine passage after reports of suspicious activity, including the presence of armed men, at a house in Mexicali, across the border from Calexico. They moved in and arrested eight suspects, found below ground digging the tunnel.

“The detainees confessed that they were looking after the building where a drug tunnel was being built,” Mr Guillen told Agence France Presse.

Agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration were conducting excavations to discover the planned exit point for the tunnel on US soil.

The tunnel’s lift was operated by a hydraulic pulley. Police also found a gun, digging tools and a truck used to cart away the excavated earth at the scene.

The 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico is the major gateway for much of the cocaine and marijuana that enters the States. The attempted use of tunnels as a means to smuggle in drugs – and also illegal immigrants – is not uncommon. At least 75 have been discovered along America’s border with Mexico since the 1990s, according to Lauren Mack, of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 63 of those since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In 2006, the largest and deepest tunnel ever found was discovered running between the Mexican city of Tijuana and San Diego, in California. Some 787 yards long, it passed under a densely patrolled stretch of the border and ran between two warehouses.

All of the tunnels constructed in the southern US have been found in border areas in California and Arizona, Ms Mack added.

Mexico’s multi-million-dollar drugs trade is controlled by cartels engaged in violent turf wars, particularly in trafficking hotspots near the border. Authorities did not say for whom the arrested men, who are being held in Mexicali, were believed to be working.

Drug-related violence has surged across Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on drug-related brutality nearly two years ago. At least 2,700 people have died so far this year.

Bikers brawl through Australian airport; 1 dead

March 22, 2009

AP  

SYDNEY – Warring bikers brawled through Australia‘s largest airport Sunday, beating one suspected gang member to death and brandishing metal poles “like swords” as they rampaged through the main domestic terminal in front of terrified travelers.

Police said a group of suspected gang members was ambushed as they disembarked from an airplane.

“A fight ensued, the fight moved through various parts of the terminal,” said Police Detective Inspector Peter Williams. He said 15 men were involved in the violence, which rampaged from the ground floor up one level to the departures hall before most of the men fled.

Williams said one man died in a hospital from head injuries after the brawl, which appeared to bear out warnings of an impending biker war in Sydney.

“They came running through picking up the big metal barrier poles and swinging them like swords at each other,” witness Naomi Constantine told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“I saw one of the men lying on the ground and another man came up with a pole and just started smashing it into his head,” she said.

Four men were arrested, Williams said. The others escaped, some of them by hailing taxis, local media reported. No charges were immediately laid.

Police did not identify the gangs suspected in the violence.

Authorities fear a gang war is brewing in Sydney following string of drive-by shootings and an explosion last month outside a fortified Hell’s Angel‘s clubhouse.

 

Suspended Pa. trooper denies killing dentist

March 18, 2009

From the Associated Press via Yahoo! News

March 18, 2009

INDIANA, Pa. – A suspended Pennsylvania state trooper denied killing a dentist who was divorcing the lawman’s live-in girlfriend and testified Wednesday that he was only joking when he told colleagues he wished for the man’s death.

“I never made a threat with the intention of carrying it out,” Kevin Foley said during questioning by the prosecution at his trial.

Foley, 43, has been on unpaid suspension since he was arrested in September 2007 in the slaying of Blairsville dentist Dr. John Yelenic, 39. An Indiana County jury was expected to hear closing arguments and begin deliberating later Wednesday.

Yelenic was found dead on April 13, 2006, a day before he was to sign the final divorce papers from his wife, Michele. The couple’s separation was so rancorous that Yelenic’s attorney asked a judge to issue a posthumous divorced decree — saying Yelenic would have wanted it. The judge refused, saying she couldn’t legally end a marriage that ended with Yelenic’s death.

A pathologist found that Yelenic was sliced with a knife and died of blood loss after his head was forced through a window, causing even more cuts.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek contends Foley killed Yelenic while on his way home from playing in a pickup hockey game.

On Wednesday, Krastek questioned Foley about testimony by other troopers who said he talked about wishing for Yelenic’s death. One trooper testified that Foley asked for his help to kill Yelenic.

Foley acknowledged that he didn’t like Yelenic, but said he was a practical joker and commented in jest.

“Is it funny when you asked … that you wanted help killing John Yelenic?” Krastek said. “What’s so funny about that? Tell me the joke.”

“There isn’t any joke,” Foley replied. “It’s just my personality, my behavior.”

Under earlier questioning by his defense attorney, Richard Galloway, Foley said he was innocent.

Krastek earlier in the trial introduced testimony that DNA found under Yelenic’s fingernails was likely Foley’s and that bloody shoe prints at the scene matched a pair Foley was known to wear at the time.

Foley is charged with criminal homicide, meaning the jury must not only determine his guilt or innocence, but also the underlying murder or manslaughter crime he may have committed.

Prosecutors have said they believe Foley is guilty of first-degree murder — premeditated with malice. The charge carries a mandatory life sentence because prosecutors are not pursuing the death penalty.