From the daily archives: Thursday, March 11, 2010

El Centro, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector seized more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana from a vehicle Friday morning.

Agents attempted to conduct a vehicle stop on a sport-utility vehicle that was traveling north on Highway 111 near Ross Avenue. The vehicle failed to yield for the agents and fled toward the international border. Agents continued to follow the vehicle until it stopped once it neared the border. The two occupants jumped from the vehicle and fled into Mexico.

The Border Patrol contacted the Mexican authorities who located and arrested the two occupants near the border.

El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey A. Calhoon praised agents for their continued diligence and commented on the effectiveness of the Border Patrol’s bi-national law enforcement partnerships. “The suspects’ apprehension upon their return to Mexico exemplifies how the United States and Mexican authorities work together to prevent dangerous drugs and criminals from entering our communities,” he said.

Agents discovered 46 packages of marijuana inside the vehicle weighing more than 1,000 pounds with an estimated street value of more than $800,000. The vehicle and contraband were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

Los Angeles-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has filed a lawsuit against an Imperial Valley, Calif., farm labor contractor Juan Munoz for failing to pay minumum wage and overtime, as well as committing “potentially deadly” worker safety violations by neglecting to provide rest breaks, potable drinking water or shade to field workers.

Juan Munoz supplied field workers to onion farms in Kern County and in the Coachella Valley and Mojave Desert.

In 2009, Brown’s office conducted a routine field visit at a Southern California onion farm. During the visit, Brown’s office interviewed more than 10 workers hired by Munoz.

According to the workers, Munoz gathered workers from throughout Southern California and delivered them to an onion field that was often far from their home. Once at the fields, they worked split shifts throughout the day and night, slept in the fields and bathed in a nearby reservoir.

The workers were not given rest breaks or potable drinking water, and the employees were not provided with training on how to recognize and prevent heat exhaustion.

Growers paid Munoz a set price per piece, such as a four-gallon onion sack, and Munoz determined the rate of pay for the field workers. The workers were typically paid $1.23 for each four-gallon sack of onions they harvested.

Employees worked split shifts totaling approximately 70 hours a week, but were not provided premium pay. Under state law, workers are entitled to an additional hour of pay if they have less than an eight-hour break between shifts. Workers were also denied overtime pay. State law requires employers to pay overtime (time and a half) to employees who work more than 10 hours a day.

In addition, many of the workers were paid in cash below the minimum wage without a written statement of hours worked, rate of pay or deductions taken, also a violation of state labor laws. After working long hours in the fields, workers were often forced to wait up to two hours for their paycheck.

The lawsuit alleges that Munoz violated California’s unfair competition laws. The lawsuit seeks:

  • A permanent injunction;
  • Civil penalties;
  • Restitution to the field workers; and,
  • Other legal costs.

Source: AG

 
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12 A.M. to 6 A.M.

For More Information

Contact the City of Holtville

356-2912 during business hours

356-2991 after hours

The

City of Holtville Water Treatment Plant will be temporarily

shut down in order to install apipeline to its new water storage tank on Tuesday March 16th, 2010, from 12 AM until

approximately 6 AM. Every attempt is being made to limit the duration of the shut-down, and

minimize any inconveniences.

Upon restoration of service, there should be no significant change in water quality. However, if

you see a noticeable change in water conditions, the City of Holtville and the California

Department of Public Health recommend the following safety guidelines:

1. If the water looks cloudy or dirty, you should not drink it. Upon return of normal water

service, you should flush the hot and cold water lines until the water appears clear and the

water quality returns to normal.

2. If you are concerned about the water quality or are uncertain of its safety, you may add

eight drops of household bleach to one gallon of water and let it sit for 30 minutes or

alternatively, if you are able, water can be boiled for one minute at a rolling boil to ensure

its safety.

3. Use of home treatment devices does not guarantee the water supply is safe after low

pressure situations.

4. Do not be alarmed if you experience higher than normal chlorine concentrations in your

water supply since the California Department of Health Services is advising public water

utilities to increase chlorine residuals in areas subject to low pressure or outages.

5. The California Department of Health Services has also advised public water systems to

increase the bacteriological water quality monitoring of the distribution system in areas

subject to low pressure. They may be collecting samples in your area to confirm that the

water remains safe. You will be advised if the sampling reveals a water quality problem.

6. Should you have any questions or concerns, please call 356-2991 (after hours), or 356-

2912 (during working hours).

 

 

 
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct exercise flights Mar. 11 in the skies in the vicinity of Peach Springs, Kingman, and Bullhead City of Northwestern Arizona as well as the skies in the vicinity of Needles, Hector, Victorville, Anza-Borrego State Park and the western Salton Sea area of Southern California. The flights will take place in the mid-morning, and people can expect to hear and see NORAD fighter aircraft in close proximity with general aviation aircraft as they practice their intercept and identification procedures.

The exercise has been carefully planned and will be closely controlled to ensure NORAD’s rapid response capability. 

NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. Each exercise flight utilizes a scenario to test NORAD’s response, systems and equipment.  Scenarios could include counter-drug operations, aircraft in distress, aircraft defecting, hijacking, unknown aircraft, Temporary Flight Restriction violation or airborne terrorist.

For more information about NORAD intercept procedures, please refer to this Federal Aviation Administration link: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/ATpubs/AIM/Chap5/aim0506.html

Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 3,300 possible air threats in Canada and the United States.

 

Individuals need to be cautious when posting rental properties and real estate on-line. The IC3 continues to receive numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to scams involving rentals of apartments and houses, as well as postings of real estate on-line.

Rental scams occur when the victim has rental property advertised and is contacted by an interested party. Once the rental price is agreed-upon, the scammer forwards a check for the deposit on the rental property to the victim. The check is to cover housing expenses and is, either written in excess of the amount required, with the scammer asking for the remainder to be remitted back, or the check is written for the correct amount, but the scammer backs out of the rental agreement and asks for a refund. Since the banks do not usually place a hold on the funds, the victim has immediate access to them and believes the check has cleared. In the end, the check is found to be counterfeit and the victim is held responsible by the bank for all losses.

Another type of scam involves real estate that is posted via classified advertisement websites. The scammer duplicates postings from legitimate real estate websites and reposts these ads, after altering them. Often, the scammers use the broker’s real name to create a fake email, which gives the fraud more legitimacy. When the victim sends an email through the classified advertisement website inquiring about the home, they receive a response from someone claiming to be the owner. The “owner” claims he and his wife are currently on missionary work in a foreign country. Therefore, he needs someone to rent their home while they are away. If the victim is interested in renting the home, they are asked to send money to the owner in the foreign country.

If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at http://www.IC3.gov/.

 
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