From the daily archives: Thursday, July 15, 2010

Congressman Bob Filner announced today that San Diego and Imperial counties have been allocated $11,770,272 for border security measures from the Department of Homeland Security under the Operation Stonegarden program.  San Diego County is set to receive $8,844,033 and $2,926,239 will go to Imperial County.

“We need a border that is effective, efficient and secure,” said Congressman Filner.  “This money will go a long way to move us closer to that goal.”

Operation Stonegarden was created to enhance cooperation and coordination among Federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States borders.

“My goal is to have a smart border that facilitates commerce, protects our communities and makes our ports of entry efficient,” said Congressman Filner.

Congress passed the funding for Operation Stonegarden as part of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010.

 

Pine Valley, Calif. — Two Mexican nationals are being held in federal custody on drug smuggling charges after their failed attempt to smuggle more than 125 pounds of cocaine through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint Wednesday morning near Pine Valley.

Prior to the seizure, U.S. Border Patrol agents came across the suspected smugglers as they arrived to the checkpoint in a Nissan Quest minivan at about 9:45 a.m. As the agents interviewed the male driver and female passenger, both 30 years of age, they became suspicious of their nervous behavior.

The minivan was referred to a secondary inspection, where an exterior search of the vehicle was conducted by a Border Patrol K-9 team. The search yielded a positive alert, prompting agents to conduct a physical search of the vehicle.

click for hi-res
Cocaine concealed inside door panels
Cocaine concealed inside door panels

During the search, agents discovered 49 packages of cocaine concealed inside the door panels of the minivan. The cocaine had a total weight of 125.68 pounds and an estimated street value of $1,256,800.

The suspected smuggler was arrested and later turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the narcotics.

The U.S. Border Patrol makes use of enforcement assets such as canines to enhance detection capabilities in an effort to prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband. During the past week, enforcement efforts involving Border Patrol canines have resulted in narcotics seizures of more than 260 pounds of cocaine throughout San Diego County.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 

Calexico, Calif. – On Wednesday morning, at approximately 2 a.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico Station were patrolling downtown Calexico when they uncovered approximately $37,000 in marijuana.

Image of drugs seized packaged as makeshift backpacks
Drugs seized in packages as makeshift backpacks.

Agents witnessed three smugglers throwing two large backpacks over the top of the boundary fence and then they were observed climbing over the International Boundary Fence into the United States near the intersection of Heber Ave. and First Street. As agent immediately responded to the area they observed the smugglers running away from an unoccupied parked blue sedan. The three smugglers absconded back into Mexico and were subsequently detained by officers of the Mexicali Municipal Police.

Images of drugs concealed within the sedan trunk
Drugs concealed within the trunk of a sedan.

As they approached the vehicle, agents noticed two briefcase size packages near the trunk of the vehicle. A canine team was called to perform a cursory inspection of the sedan. The canine team alerted to the packages and the trunk area of the sedan where two additional packages where found. All the packages tested positive for marijuana.

The El Centro Sector is coordinating with the Mexicali Municipal Police Department in an attempt to identify the smugglers and determine their affiliation to criminal organizations. This will assist in future prosecution efforts.

The sedan and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 

SAN DIEGO — Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. announced today the successful completion of “Operation Watchdog,” an unprecedented law enforcement sweep to verify that 300 registered sex offenders in San Diego are obeying the law and living at the address they have reported to authorities. Nine arrests were made.

“Because of sex offenders’ propensity to reoffend, keeping tabs on them is crucial to protecting the public,” Brown said. “As in many things, the price of safety is constant vigilance, and my office is committed to providing that.”

Led by David Collazo, a special agent supervisor in Brown’s office, Operation Watchdog involved more than 100 state, federal and local law enforcement officers, who fanned out over San Diego County yesterday to check on more than 300 registered sex offenders. Five of the 26 task force teams took along specially trained dogs to check for illegal drugs and guns.

Some 4,600 registered sex offenders live in San Diego.

Sex offenders on probation or parole were searched. The others were questioned to make sure they were complying with all state laws, including living at the same address they provided to law enforcement authorities. Arrests were made for parole and probation violations and possession of drug paraphernalia and guns.

As Operation Watchdog began yesterday morning, the Attorney General visited the command center and was briefed. Besides its enforcement function, the Attorney General’s office maintains a website at www.meaganslaw.ca.gov that lists the locations of 63,000 sex offenders in the state, along with other pertinent information.

The SAFE (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) task force that conducted the operation was formed nearly a decade ago to reduce the number of sex crimes in San Diego County and apprehend the perpetrators of those crimes. SAFE assists in criminal investigations such as the case of convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III, who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year for the 2009 rape and murder of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and the February 2010 rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King. Gardner had lied to authorities about his residence, listing Riverside County instead of San Diego.

Yesterday’s sweep was the first such large-scale effort, although SAFE conducts hundreds of face-to-face interviews with sex offenders each year to make sure they are in compliance with the law.

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You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1952

 

By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council accepted the resignation of Planning Commissioner Jim Marquand at their meeting Monday, June 12.
Marquand submitted a letter of resignation to the city clerk on June 19 and the resignation became official on June 22. Marquand’s seat had been set to expire in April of 2012.
In his letter, Marquand says that the time required to serve as a commissioner has been a great challenge to his business and personal life.
“I feel that it is not fair to the city management and the city residents to have someone in an important position as this and not be able to give one all,” he said in the letter.
Council member Colleen Ludwig said that it was with regret that the council accepted Marquand’s resignation.
“I was prepared to vote against Jim Marquand’s resignation,” Ludwig said. “He’s done a great job for our planning commission, but after I read his letter I realized it was a necessity.”
Those interested in serving on the commission must be registered to vote and reside in the City of Holtville. A letter of interest and a completed application must be submitted to the City Clerk by 5 p.m. on July 30th.

 
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