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Category: Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

Man allegedly under influence of nitrous oxide in car crash

Lynwood crash was caused by a driver who allegedy used nitrous oxide
A man was allegedly driving under the influence of nitrous oxide when he injured four others and himself in a hit-and-run crash in Lynwood, authorities said Wednesday.

The man was speeding near Atlantic Avenue and Imperial Highway on Monday when he smashed his car into the rear end of a vehicle, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The impact knocked both vehicles into the intersection, where they hit a third vehicle. The suspect fled but was taken into custody on a nearby street, according to the department.

"It is alleged that the suspect was under the influence on nitrous oxide at the time of the collision," department officials said in a statement. They said a cylinder possibly containing the gas was found in the man's vehicle.

The man's name was not released. The victims sustained injuries described by authorities as moderate to serious.

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Photo: Deputies at the site of Monday's vehicle accident. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Hit-and-run driver who injured pedestrian sought in Lancaster

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspected hit-and-run driver they say fled after striking a woman as she crossed a street in Lancaster.

The accident occurred Tuesday about 7:45 p.m. when the driver, who was headed east on Avenue L, ran into a female pedestrian as she crossed the street, according to a statement from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.

The driver did not stop to help the victim, authorities said. The make of the car is unknown. The victim, whose identity has not been released, was taken to a hospital with “serious injuries,” authorities said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station’s Traffic Enforcement Team at (661) 948-8466. Tips can also be reported anonymously to LA Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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Man suspected of killing wife in Montebello turns himself in to authorities

A 29-year-old Tustin man suspected of fatally shooting his estranged wife with a handgun turned himself into the Whittier Police Department early Sunday and was arrested on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

Authorities had been searching for Arthur Andrew Andrade since Saturday about 8:30 a.m., when he allegedly shot Soria Esperanza, 24, multiple times in the parking lot of her place of employment in the 100 block of West Washington Boulevard in Montebello, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Esperanza, who suffered injuries to her upper body, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two, who were separated and had been in the process of getting a divorce, were arguing just before the shooting began.

Andrade turned himself in at 1 a.m. He was taken to the Montebello police station and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. Authorities are still searching for the weapon and the vehicle Andrade allegedly used to flee the scene.

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Officer-involved shooting in Pomona leaves one woman dead

Map shows location of where a woman was killed in Pomona. Source: Google Maps
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Pomona that left one woman dead, authorities said Sunday.

Members of a multi-jurisdictional gang task force were driving through a parking lot in the 900 block of West Holt Avenue about 9:45 p.m. Saturday when they were confronted by a female suspect brandishing a handgun, said Sheriff's Sgt. Rich Pena.

A shooting took place and the suspect was later pronounced dead at the scene, Pena said. No officers were injured. A handgun was recovered at the scene.

Although the Sheriff’s Department is assisting Pomona police in the investigation, it was not clear if it was a Pomona officer who shot the suspect. The gang task force was made up of several agencies.

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Map shows location of where a woman was killed in Pomona. Source: Google Maps

Attorney sentenced for trying to smuggle drugs to client

An attorney who authorities said tried to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine to his client at a jail holding facility in downtown Los Angeles -- and was later caught at another courthouse with rock cocaine -- was sentenced to jail Friday, authorities said.

Kenneth Roger Markman, 49, was sentenced to a year in County Jail and a one-year residential treatment program as part of three years of supervised probation, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Last month, Markman pleaded no contest to conspiracy and drug charges, authorities said.  

Markman was first arrested Oct. 21, 2011, after trying to smuggle 26 balloons containing heroin and methamphetamine into a jail holding facility at the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. The drugs were intended for Markman’s client, Jorge Zaragoza, 36, a suspected gang member scheduled to appear in court that day in connection with an attempted carjacking case, authorities said.

The attorney was arrested a month later at the Antelope Valley Courthouse after a security officer spotted suspicious items as Markman went through security, authorities said. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, who prevented Markman from grabbing his belongings and fleeing the building, discovered “drug paraphernalia and two bindles of rock cocaine” in Markman’s wallet, prosecutors said.

The State Bar of California has suspended Markman. A decision is pending on whether he will be allowed to continue to practice law, authorities said.

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Gavin Smith had relationship with drug dealer's wife, police say

Missing Fox movie executive Gavin Smith had a relationship with the wife of a convicted drug dealer who is now a person of interest in Smith’s disappearance, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say.

Smith, 57, has been missing since May 2012. At a press conference Thursday, Lt. Dave Dolson said Smith had a relationship with Chandrika Creech, the wife of John Creech, who is serving eight years in Los Angeles County’s Men’s Central Jail.

Smith and Chandrika Creech apparently met in rehab. Sheriff’s officials would not comment on the nature of their relationship and said only that Creech’s husband is a person of interest in Smith’s disappearance. John Creech has not spoken with detectives.

Authorities now believe Smith was murdered. Investigators found Smith’s Mercedes-Benz last month in a Simi Valley storage facility. Officials said evidence found inside the car, along with witness statements, lead them to believe Smith is dead.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, a department official said Friday.

Chandrika Creech has spoken to investigations on many occasions, Dolson said. He declined to say what information she provided.

In the months after Smith was last seen, officials insisted the case remained a missing-person investigation, even as Creech’s home and vehicle were searched.

Smith, a former UCLA basketball player who worked in Fox's movie distribution department, left a friend's home in Ventura County's Oak Park neighborhood the night of May 1. Wearing purple athletic pants belonging to one of his sons, Smith drove away in his Mercedes, leaving behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and other items.

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Boot camp counselors face charges of abusing youths

An instructor for a youth boot camp in Los Angeles is due in court this month on charges he beat several kids there and sexually assaulted one of them.

Edgar Alvarado, 36, is charged with three felony counts of causing great bodily injury on a child, one felony count of corporal injury on a child and one felony count of sexual battery. One of the female victims has accused Alvarado of inappropriately touching her.

He is being held in lieu of $480,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court March 28.

According to Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies, Alvarado and a co-worker, Ruben Romero, continuously hit nine boys and two females ages 12 to 17 years old repeatedly while they attended 180 Recon, a camp meant to reform troubled youths. Alvarado lists himself as a retired Marine on the site.

Romero faces three misdemeanor battery charges and is out on bail.

According to the camp’s website, the program begins with “breaking them down in order to build them back up” as model citizens. Kids who go there may have a bad attitude, skip school, use drugs or exhibit violent or criminal behavior. Recon 180 is supposed to give youths a 180-degree turn in their lives and instill some “good old-fashioned morals,” according to the site.

But that’s not what they received, according to sheriff’s deputies. Instead, they were allegedly physically abused at the company’s Camp Coulter in the Angeles Crest Mountains and at its East L.A. headquarters.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department asks if anyone has any information to call its special victims bureau at (877) 710-5273.

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Red Line delayed after man runs onto tracks

A segment of the Metro Red Line was briefly suspended during rush hour Wednesday evening after a man who appeared to be drunk ran into a tunnel at the Wilshire/Vermont Station, officials said.

The man sprinted onto the tracks heading in the direction of MacArthur Park about 6:45 p.m., prompting a power shutdown on the line, said Metro spokesman Luis Inzunza.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies pursued the suspected trespasser but were unable to locate him, authorities said.

Service was suspended between Wilshire/Vermont and the 7th St/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles for about 25 minutes, Inzunza said. Trains were delayed by about 30 minutes but returned to a normal schedule within an hour.

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12-year-old arrested in vandalism of middle school

A 12-year-old boy has been arrested on charges of causing thousands of dollars in damage to a Quartz Hill middle school on New Year’s Day, authorities said.

According to a statement Wednesday from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lancaster station, the boy vandalized Joe Walker Middle School at 5632 West Ave L-8  in Quartz Hill, which borders Lancaster, by spray painting “gang-style graffiti” over the campus. Authorities estimated the destruction at more than $20,000.

Sheriff’s deputies located the boy in Bakersfield. He was arrested March 7 and transported to Lancaster station for booking on felony vandalism charges, authorities said. The boy’s name was withheld because he is a juvenile.

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Authorities search for bank robber dubbed the 'Luger Bandit'

The FBI and local authorities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are searching for a man dubbed “the Luger Bandit” who is believed to have robbed two banks earlier this year and attempted to rob a third Friday while brandishing a pistol that resembles a German-made Luger.

The first robbery took place Jan. 3 at a Wells Fargo branch in the Granada Hills neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley, according to a statement forwarded by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. The same man is believed to have robbed a Wells Fargo in Fontana on Feb. 18 and attempted to rob a Wells Fargo in San Dimas on March 8.

During each robbery, the suspect ordered employees and customers to the ground, pulled out a silver pistol and demanded cash in various denominations. Bank surveillance photos show him wearing a sweat shirt with a hood, jeans, a facemask, sunglasses and black gloves. He has also carried a black bag with a strap. Authorities said he appears to be 30 to 40 years old.

In addition to the FBI and L.A. Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles and Fontana police departments also are investigating.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the FBI at (888) CANT-HIDE. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call (800) 222-TIPS or go to lacrimestoppers.org.

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