From the daily archives: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IMPERIAL COUNTY – The Imperial County Public Health Department’s Animal Control office has announced the schedule for the upcoming low cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics for 2010-2011. Imperial County Animal Control has been conducting Rabies Vaccination Clinics in Imperial County for over forty-three years. The first clinic is scheduled for Saturday November 6, 2010 at Verde School in Holtville, located at South East corner of Bonds Corner Road and Verde School Road from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  Last year over 1,351 county dogs were vaccinated and licensed by visiting the clinics offered by Animal Control.

The rabies vaccine protects dogs and cats from the rabies virus. Although rabies among domestic animals in Imperial County is rare, the area is considered high-risk due to the presence of rabies among bats and skunks. Even if a dog or cat has been vaccinated, if they come in contact with a skunk or bat, the recommendation is for them to be revaccinated as soon as possible. The fee for the Rabies Vaccine for dogs and cats is $6.00. County Dog Licenses will also be provided for a fee of $10.00 for male, $5.00 for a neutered male, $10.00 for a

female and $5.00 for a spayed female. Clinic will be held in various locations of the county including Desert Shores, Salton City, Niland and Winterhaven. No appointment is necessary to attend the clinics.

According to Daniel Torrez, Animal Control Supervisor for the Imperial County Public Health Department, “the Rabies Vaccination Clinics are held for the public’s convenience. Animal Control takes the clinics to remote areas throughout the county so people <<News Release 2010_2011 Rabies Vaccination Clinics.pdf>> can have access to the vaccine at low cost.” In Imperial County it is mandatory for all dogs over 4 months of age to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed each year. The license is good through the date of issue. It is strongly recommended, although not mandatory, that all cats over 4 months of age also be vaccinated against rabies on a yearly basis.

The rabies vaccine and county licenses are also available with local veterinarians and county licenses only are available at Imperial County Animal Control located at 1329 South Sperber Road, El Centro from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and 8:00 am to 12:00 noon on Saturdays.

The following are things people can do to protect their pets from rabies:

· Individuals should visit their veterinarian with their pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, and dogs.

· People should maintain control of their pets by keeping cats indoor and keeping dogs under direct supervision.

· Pets should be spayed or neutered to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.

· Individuals should avoid contact with unvaccinated or ill stray animals, and should call animal control for removal of stray animals.

For general information about the Rabies Vaccination Clinics, please contact Imperial County Animal Control at (760) 339-6291 or visit the website at


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors decided to continue with the airline service discussion for next meeting.

As requested by County Supervisor Jack Terrazas, the item was put on Tuesday’s agenda in order to allow more information be given for this issue and reconsider the decision made last week not to support a waiver  of the Department of Transportation Essential Air Service requirements. The Department of Transportation has received EAS proposals from Skywest Airlines and Seaport Airlines. Consideration of the Seaport Airlines proposals by DOT will only be entertained if the communities of the cities of Imperial and El Centro are willing to waive the 15 passenger, twin-engine requirements of Essential Air Service.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 last week not to waive the Department of Transportation Essential Air Services requirements.

In a report given by Airport Manager, Bill Turner, said that Sky West subsidized air service under the EAS program at El Centro/Imperial. Skywest was selected to provide thirteen nonstop roundtrips to Los Angeles. The department current contract with Skywest call for an annual subsidy of $662,551 to provide a total of six nonstop and seven one-stop round trip per week to L.A. with 30-seat for a total annual subsidy of $1,852,091.

The other company, Seaport Airlines, proposes to provide the daily nonstop round trip per week: one to Phoenix and two to San Diego for a first year subsidy of $1,202, 248, and a second year subsidy of $1,226,710. All service would be with 9-seat, single engine aircraft that would be based in the El Centro/Imperial. The board had until Thursday to respond  to the Department of Transportation of who will take the Airline service but after the CEO Cordova spoke on to the Department during a break on the BOS meeting, they were given green light to have more time to review the EAS proposals.

A representative from Seaport Airlines gave the county board a binder with information about the company and the issue at hand. Since documents given to the board become public records, the board decided to continue this item until next week. In other news, the County Board decided to yet again to continue of the Coyote Wells Specific Plan Area Project (Wind Zero) that is proposed to be located in Ocotillo. The board decided to follow the recommendation of CEO Ralph Cordova to have the public hearing be held on December 13th at 10:30 a.m. at the County Administration Center.


The hacker knew every move the unsuspecting victim made. He controlled her computer webcam and microphone. He could see her in her bedroom, hear her conversations, knew every keystroke she made online. And he threatened to expose her secrets unless she bowed to his demands.

It may sound like the plot for a scary teen movie, but it actually happened, and there wasn’t just one victim—there were more than 200, and dozens of them were adolescent girls.

Unlike many computer intrusions, where a hacker uses malicious software to steal identities or financial information, this case was primarily about spying and extortion—or as our Los Angeles cyber squad more aptly termed it, “sextortion.”

The hacker, a 31-year-old California man who was arrested in June after a two-year investigation, used malicious code to infect and control the computers of his victims. Then he searched for explicit pictures from their computers, downloaded them, and used the images in an attempt to extort more pictures and videos from them.

“What’s so frightening about this case was how easily the victims’ computers were compromised,” said Special Agent Jeff Kirkpatrick, one of our Los Angeles cyber investigators who worked the case.

After the hacker infected one computer, he used a popular social networking site—and a technique called “spear phishing”—to spread the virus. “It was a social engineering attack,” said Special Agent Tanith Rogers, co-investigator on the case. “The victims were tricked. They had no idea what had happened until it was too late.”

In several instances, the hacker posed online as a young woman’s friend or sister and sent messages with attachments asking if the victim wanted to see a scary video. Because the messages appeared to be from a trusted source, the victims usually didn’t think twice about opening the attachment. When they did, the virus secretly installed itself, and the hacker had total control over their computers—including all files and folders, webcams, and microphones.

Using similar spear phishing methods—posing as a friend or a trusted source—the hacker spread the virus through the social network like wildfire. In all, there were 230 victims and more than 100 computers impacted.

“And this guy was no computer genius,” Agent Kirkpatrick said. “Anybody could do what he did just by watching an online video and following the directions.”

Victims—particularly teenage girls—were understandably devastated when they learned their privacy had been so completely violated. Many were afraid to tell their parents about the situation.

“He was smart,” Agent Rogers said of the hacker. “He used their fear to try to control them.”

For example, the hacker attached a pornographic picture of one victim in an e-mail and demanded sexually explicit video of her in return for not telling her parents about the pictures he had downloaded from her computer.

“If he hadn’t attempted to contact the victims,” Agent Rogers said, “he could have done this forever and gone undetected—the victims would never have known he was listening and watching. That,” she added, “is one of the most disturbing things about this case.”

Don’t Let It Happen to You

Here are a few precautions that can keep you from being victimized by a social engineering attack:

– Don’t take for granted that your computer’s anti-virus software is a guarantee against intrusions.
– Turn off your computer when you aren’t using it. (The majority of computers involved in the sextortion case were laptops; many of the victims chatted on social networks so much that they never turned off their machines.)
– Cover your webcam when not in use.
– Don’t open attachments without independently verifying that they were sent from someone you know.
– It’s okay to be suspicious. If you receive a message with an attachment from your mother at 3 a.m., maybe the message is not really from your mother. “Most people are too trusting when it comes to their computers,” Agent Kirkpatrick said.
– If your computer has been compromised and you are receiving extortion threats, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents or to call law enforcement.

Have Information on the Case?

The hacker in the sextortion case used a variety of screen names and e-mail addresses, which are listed below. If you have information regarding the case—there may be other victims—please contact your nearest FBI office or submit a tip online.

Screen names:

  • gui_blt
  • Woods05
  • CoFfEkId014
  • ELEvatrHZrD03
  • Pimpcess03666
  • Your3name3here03
  • Bri23nice
  • Dmagecntr137
  • H2IOW14
  • ELEvATrhRZd03
  • Playgrl37
  • Your3name3here3
  • goldlion14
  • Hotchit13w
E-mail address:


Imperial Valley, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Imperial Valley ports of entry prevented various amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana worth more than a half million dollars from entering the United States on Halloween, Oct. 31.

CBP officers working at the Andrade port of entry at about 6:00 p.m. encountered the driver of a gold 1999 Pontiac Bonneville when he entered the port for inspection. The officer noticed the driver exhibiting signs of nervousness and referred him for a more in-depth inspection.

An intensive examination and canine screening of the vehicle led to the discovery of eight wrapped packages of cocaine concealed in between the vehicle’s radiator and front bumper. The weight of the cocaine was 21 pounds with a street value of approximately $168,000.

Packages of heroin hidden inside the vehicle's battery.

The driver, a 20-year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, was arrested by CBP officers for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The second seizure occurred two hours later at the Calexico downtown port of entry. An officer and canine team conducting an intense examination on a 1999 Toyota Tacoma pick-up led to the discovery of two wrapped packages of heroin hidden inside the vehicle’s battery. The weight of the heroin was four pounds with an estimated street value of $68,000.

The driver, a 22- year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, was arrested for alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The third seizure occurred at about 10:30 p.m. at the Calexico East port of entry after officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) conducting enforcement operations encountered a 33-year-old Brawley man in a 1996 Dodge Ram pick-up as he waited in line for inspection. A detector dog screened the vehicle and immediately alerted to the bed of the pick-up. Both the driver and vehicle were escorted for further examination.

An intensive examination revealed a non-factory compartment located in the bed of the truck that contained 40 wrapped packages of marijuana. The weight of the marijuana was 285 pounds with an estimated street value of $285,000.

The driver, a United States citizen, was arrested for the narcotic smuggling attempt.

In all three incidents, the narcotics and vehicles were seized by CBP and the drivers were turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who transported them to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

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.


The Imperial Irrigation District announces that, through December 31, IID customers can receive double rebates on the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products.   Double rebates are available to IID residential and commercial customers on certain refrigerators, dual-pane windows, room air conditioners, programmable thermostats and more.   “IID is excited about the opportunity to offer double rebates,” said Sabrina Barber, Energy Department assistant manager. “We hope the extra incentive will encourage customers to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes and businesses and bring awareness to the year-round Energy Rewards Program.”   The rewards program, funded by the Public Benefits Charge, is offered to all IID customers.    Qualifying products for residential customers can include ENERGY STAR® refrigerators, dual-pane windows and room air conditioners, as well as variable speed pool pumps, HVAC unitary, AC, and split systems and air-to-air heat pumps. For commercial customers, qualifying products include ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostats, unitary AC and split systems and air-to-air heat pumps, lighting and energy-efficient motors.   For a complete list of qualifying products, rebate values and application forms, please visit the residential rebates and commercial rebates pages on, or contact your nearest IID Customer Service Center or IID Rebate Processing Center at 1-877-811-8700.   This limited time offer ends on December 31, 2010.   Additionally, customers should be aware that the California Energy Commission is offering a similar program for residential customers through its Cash for Appliances Program. Certain products may qualify for both the IID Double Rebates promotion and the Cash for Appliances Program. Together, this could result in triple rebates. To learn more about the state program, please visit About IID: The third largest public power provider in California, IID reliably serves energy to approximately 146,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties.  Controlling more than 1,000 megawatts of energy, IID’s diverse portfolio includes hydro, nuclear, natural gas, coal, solar and biomass resources.

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