Results tagged “San Diego” from The Court Reporter

Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to Prison For Drug Racketeering

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SAN DIEGO -- An associate of the Mexican Mafia was sentenced last Friday to more than 17 years in federal prison after he admitted to participating in organized criminal activity by distributing, on average of 30 to 40 pounds, of methamphetamine a month in San Diego, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Silvano Hernandez Jr., 40, was one of 36 individuals arrested last year as part of Operation Carnalismo, an investigation targeted the Mexican Mafia's organized criminal activity, federal officials stated.

The investigation resulted in well over 100 arrests of local gang members and associates in January 2012, stated officials.

The Mexican Mafia is a violent criminal organization that was spawned in prison.  

Federal prosecutors stated that Hernandez, of San Diego, distributed anywhere from 1/4-pound to multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine to a number of drug dealers who, in turn, sold the methamphetamine in smaller quantities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter J. Mazza, the lead prosecutor on the case, stated in court that the 30-40 pounds of methamphetamine Hernandez distributed onto the streets of San Diego every month roughly equated to well over 50,000 doses of methamphetamine per month. At the time of his arrest, investigators seized nearly $150,000 in cash from his residence and a 2011 Lincoln sedan valued at approximately $50,000, according to Mazza.

 As of March 15, 2013, federal officials stated that 30 of 36 defendants have been convicted, and 14 of those 30 have been sentenced.

A Hells Angels Sgt. at Arms Sentenced to Prison for Drug Conspiracy

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The Hell's Angels  Sergeant at Arms for the San Diego Chapter was sentenced Monday to more than 21 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Michael Ottinger  Jr., 43, is facing state charges in San Diego for murder, attempted murder, mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and criminal threats,  federal officials stated.

Ottinger, who was considered a highest-value target in a methamphetamine investigation by law enforcement, has been implicated in the murder of rival Mongols motorcycle gang member Fernando Fernandez and with using both threats and violence to control the methamphetamine trade in Ocean Beach and Point Loma.

The year-long investigation conducted by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, which focused on methamphetamine trafficking and violent crimes, resulted in the indictment of 36 defendants, federal officials stated.

Federal Judge Marilyn L. Huff found that Ottinger was a career offender whose crimes include convictions for false imprisonment, a firearms offense, auto theft, evading an officer while driving recklessly, and three drug trafficking crimes, according to federal officials.

Ottinger was awarded the Hells Angels patches of "Filthy Few" and "Thug Crew," which are given to members of this criminal organization who commit acts of violence on behalf of the Hells Angels, according to federal authorities.

In Other Courthouses Across the Nation This Week

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SAN ANTONIO -- An AWOL soldier was found guilty by a jury on Thursday of attempting to bring a bomb into Fort Hood and detonate it inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers, according to federal officials.
The 22-year-old Naser Jason Abdo, who was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is facing life in prison when he is sentenced in July. He was arrested on July 27, 2011. He had a gun and instructions on how to build a bomb as well as bomb-making components when he was arrested.

SAN DIEGO -- Federal prosecutors announced this week that 43-year-old Armando Villareal Heredia, also known as "Gordo Villareal," was extradited from Mexico into the United States.
The defendant is a key player in the Fernando Sanchez-Arellano Organization, which evolved from the now-defunct Arellano-Felix drug empire, according to federal authorities.
So far, 38 defendants have pleaded guilty in this criminal case and admitted to participating in violent "transnational" crimes such as murders, kidnappings, robberies, assaults, money laundering, and a wide range of of drug trafficking.
Villareal was arrested by Mexican police on July 8, 2011 at the request of U.S. officials.

BUFFALO -- A former teacher was sentenced to 30 years in prison this week for producing and possessing child pornography, according to federal officials.
Timothy Bek, 25, of West Seneca, New York, posed as a teen on a social networking website. He made contact with youngsters, some of whom were students in schools where Bek taught. He persuaded the victims to take explicit photos and videos of themselves and send these images over the Internet.
Bek's brother, Jason Bek, was also arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2011, say federal prosecutors.






Alleged Copper Thief Caught Replacing Stores' Bar Codes

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SAN DIEGO: State officials arrested a man who ran a sophisticated scheme at San Diego area Lowe's and Home Depot stores in which he replaced the bar codes on expensive merchandise with bar codes that scanned at lower prices, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Steve Allen Koski, 42, of San Diego, was arraigned Thursday on 11 felony counts, including grand theft and 10 counts of burglary.

Koski stole or attempted to steal more than $30,000 in copper wire and other merchandise from Lowe's and Home Depot stores. He then re-sold that merchandise to California recycling centers for over $180,000, according to state officials. 

The Attorney General's Office states that California is among the top five states with the highest reported incidences of copper theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports 1,342 metal theft claims in California from January 2009 to December 2011, with approximately 96% of these claims pertaining to the theft of copper. 

The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at rhernandez@vcstar.com.