From the daily archives: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

As of September 4, 2012, 87 deaths caused by West Nile Virus have been reported in the United States. There have been 1,993 cases of West Nile Virus in people, with 70 percent of those cases occurring in six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.

Forty-eight states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus is a potentially dangerous illness that is primarily spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes themselves become infected when they feed on infected birds.

About one in 150 people infected with the virus will develop severe illness that could cause permanent neurological effects or death. About 20 percent of people can have symptoms for up to several weeks. Eighty percent of infected people show no symptoms at all. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms.

The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.

Learn more about the West Nile Virus outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control.

 
First bill signed helps provide “green resources for the green economy”
(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) proudly announces that his regulatory streamlining bill AB 2205 was signed into law on Friday afternoon by Governor Jerry Brown.  This is the first of Pérez’s seven bills from the 2012 session to receive a signature.
Relating to lithium extraction in geothermal technologies, AB 2205 (Chapter 253, Statutes of 2012) will help spur business creation in new industries tied to geothermal energy.  The new law makes a regulatory clarification so that existing regulations applying to geothermal plants also apply to new clean processes that extract beneficial materials from geothermal brine in closed loop systems at these plants.  These processes did not exist when the regulatory framework for geothermal energy was developed, resulting in ambiguity that has impeded the build out of this emerging industry.
 “This new law helps provide green resources to build out the green economy,” said Pérez. “By supporting new technologies, we can promote business development that taps the related benefits of the geothermal energy that is so abundant in our state, particularly in Imperial County, and keep our state on a path to meet its environmental and economic development goals.”
 Lithium is an important element needed for the production of electric vehicle batteries and other energy storage technologies, the production of which helps meet the state’s emission reduction and electric vehicle goals while encouraging business development in this field.  By clarifying the code to reflect technological advances to extract lithium, the State of California will be positioned to be a major producer of this valuable element.
Pérez is the chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy and also serves as chair of the Select Committee on the Renewable Energy Economy in Rural California.
 

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that today United States District Court Judge William Q. Hayes sentenced Jesus Quinonez-Marquez, the former Director of International Liaison for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office, to serve 97 months in custody following a guilty plea to participating in a federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy. After completing his custodial sentence, Quinonez-Marquez will be deported to Mexico and placed on a three-year term of supervised release. In his plea agreement, Quinonez-Marquez admitted that he corruptly used his official position within the Baja California Attorney General’s Office to further the criminal activities of the criminal enterprise controlled by Fernando Sanchez-Arellano (the FSO). Specifically, Quinonez-Marquez admitted to using his position as a lawyer at the Attorney General’s Office to provide information to FSO members to avoid apprehension and prosecution for a double homicide which occurred in Tijuana, Mexico, on March 25, 2010, and to conspiring to launder $13 million dollars on behalf of the FSO.

To date, 39 defendants have been convicted in this case, which resulted from a long-term investigation conducted by the multi-agency San Diego Cross Border Violence Task Force (CBVTF). The CBVTF was formulated to target those individuals involved in organized crime-related violent activities affecting both the United States and Mexico. Law enforcement personnel assigned to the CBVTF made extensive use of court-authorized wiretaps and other sophisticated investigative techniques to develop the significant evidence which led to the charges in this case. The trial of the single remaining defendant, Armando Villareal Heredia, will likely be scheduled in 2013. The public is reminded that an indictment itself is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

United States Attorney Duffy praised the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort in the culmination of this investigation, Operation Luz Verde. Agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; San Diego Police Department; Drug Enforcement Administration; San Diego Sheriff’s Office; Chula Vista Police Department; U.S. Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; San Diego District Attorney’s Office; and California Department of Justice participated in this OCDETF investigation. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against organized crime and major drug trafficking organizations.

Case Number 10CR3044-WQH

Defendant
Jesus Quinones Marquez, aka Rinon

Summary of Charges
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d)-conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity

Investigating Agencies
Federal Bureau of Investigation
San Diego Police Department
Drug Enforcement Administration
San Diego Sheriff’s Office
Chula Vista Police Department
U.S. Marshals Service
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
California Department of Justice-San Diego District Attorney’s Office

 

Daphne Hearn, Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego FBI Office, and Chris Maston, Director of Field Operations, Customs Border Protection (CBP,) announce the arrest of CBP Officer Thomas Silva, age 33, a nine-year veteran with the CBP. Silva was arrested on Friday, September 7, 2012, at approximately 8:30 a.m., at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (SYPOE). Silva was taken into custody without incident by CBP and FBI agents assigned to the FBI Border Corruption Task Force (BCTF).

Silva was arrested pursuant to a federal arrest warrant based upon a complaint filed with the United States District Court, Southern District of California, case number 12MJ3305. The complaint charges Silva with wire fraud and concealing a person from arrest. The specific charges are Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1343, wire fraud; and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1071, concealing a person from arrest.

The charges in this matter emanate from a multi-agency investigation conducted by the BCTF. The BCTF investigation was initiated in November 2010, after the CBP detected irregularities with Silva’s work. Specifically, the CBP reported that Silva was allowing individuals with imposter immigration documents to pass through the SYPOE. Subsequent investigation by the BCTF revealed that Silva was involved in a variety of criminal activity, some of which related to his position as a CBP officer.

The complaint alleges that in April 2012, Silva knowingly allowed Julio Cesar Landaverde Valdez, a federal fugitive, to enter the United States from Mexico through the SYPOE. Landaverde Valdez was convicted in 2006 for alien smuggling. In this matter, Landaverde Valdez and an associate tried to enter the United States through the SYPOE with an undocumented alien concealed in a dashboard compartment of the vehicle. Landaverde Valdez is Silva’s brother-in-law.

The complaint also alleges that in 2011, Silva engaged in a scheme to defraud Farmers Insurance Company by filing a false claim concerning the theft of his personal vehicle. Silva was paid $7,329.37, as a result of this false claim.

Silva has been booked into the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and expected to have his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo, on Monday, September 10, 2012.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) from the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), Southern District of California, San Diego, California.

The BCTF is composed of the CBP-Internal Affairs, CBP-Field Operations, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), USAO, and the FBI.

An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendants committed crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 
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