Tag Archives: santa ana

Santa Ana Youth Pastor Arrested for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor

By Santa Ana PD


SAPD Dets. Arrest Youth Pastor for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor, Believe There May Be Additional Victims

On October 2, 2018, Santa Ana Police Detectives arrested Jonathan Lamont Jenkins (57-years-old), a resident of Riverside, for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Jenkins has been a youth pastor at the Starlight Baptist Church located at 1201 West Second Street in Santa Ana for the past two years. Jenkins has been a member of the church since 2012.

The 13-year-old female victim reported Jenkins had been making sexual advances towards her since January 2018 when she was only 12-years-old. Sometime in March 2018, the victim was attending service when she went to, what she believed to be, an empty restroom. Jenkins was inside the restroom waiting for the victim. The victim attempted to escape, but Jenkins held her against her will. Jenkins threatened the victim with physical violence before strangling and sexually assaulting the victim.

The victim did not immediately report this incident and continued attending church. On August 5, 2018, Jenkins contacted the victim at church and mocked her about the sexual assault. Jenkins told the victim if she reported this to the police, he would say she allowed the sexual assault to occur.

Detectives launched an investigation and obtained evidence against Jenkins. On October 2, 2018, Detectives arrested Jenkins as he entered a liquor store in Santa Ana. Jenkins was booked at the Orange County Jail on multiple child abuse charges and his bail has been set at $1,000,000.

Santa Ana Police Department Detectives believe there may be additional victims and ask anyone with information to contact Detective Nick Vega at 714-245-8368, nvega@santa-ana.org or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

OC Teacher Arrested For Unlawful Sex With Minor

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alvar Albert Gonzalez

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alvar Albert Gonzalez

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Fri., Sept. 4, after a joint investigation between the Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana Unified School District Police, Detectives arrested Alvar Albert Gonzalez, 45, of Santa Ana, for possessing/producing obscene matter and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

According to the Santa Ana Police Department, the female victim first met the suspect when she was in his class her freshman year at Santa Ana High School. In 2013, Gonzalez arranged to meet the 16-year old victim in his classroom during school lunch breaks. There, Gonzalez allegedly engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with the victim on over nine occasions. This activity was initially not reported.
In 2014, Gonzalez approached a second female student and kissed her. As a result of that incident, Gonzalez was placed on administrative leave by the Santa Ana Unified School District. While investigating this incident, Santa Ana Unified District Officials discovered inappropriate electronic images of youthful looking females on Gonzalez’ electronic media storage devices. Detectives identified one of these females by name, located her, and obtained her statement. Further investigation revealed additional images depicting criminal activity between Gonzalez and the victim occurring in 2013.
At this time, Detectives continue to investigate the possibility that there are additional victims. The Santa Ana Police Department is requesting members of the public to call Detectives if they suspect Gonzalez had inappropriate contact with other students. Please call Santa Ana Police Detectives at (714) 245-8542.
Gonzalez was booked into the Santa Ana Jail, and is being charged with Possessing/Producing Obscene Matter of a person under 18, and Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a minor).

Orange County: Burglary Arrest Assisted By Airship “Duke”

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD OC Sheriff’s Airship, “Duke,” assists Officers in burglary arrest.

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
OC Sheriff’s Airship, “Duke,” assists Officers in burglary arrest

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Mon., Aug. 31, at approximately 8:50 a.m., a resident reported seeing a suspicious male knocking on his neighbor’s door. When the male received no answer at the door, he went through the side yard to the rear of the residence and out of sight.

Responding officers requested the assistance of Orange County Sheriff’s Airship, “Duke.”

According to the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD), the suspect – matching the description provided by witnesses – was located by Duke in the rear yard of a residence where two window screens had been removed.

When Duke arrived on scene, the suspect observed the airship and ran out of the yard, entering the passenger side of a vehicle. Duke directed responding units to the vehicle, and a car stop was conducted. The male subject fled from the vehicle and ran through the apartment complex at the northeast corner of Fairview St. and Segerstrom Ave.

The female driver – Bianca Renee McNair, 25, of Santa Ana, was taken into custody without incident at the stop.

A SAPD motor officer located the suspect – Stephone Jawonn Fellows, 27, of Los Angeles – in the apartment complex and had to deploy his taser to take him into custody. Further investigation showed that Fellows had successfully forced entry into the garage of a residence in the 3000 block of South Griset Pl.; however, it appears the crime was interrupted by the arrival of Duke on scene.

Both suspects were arrested for Burglary and Conspiracy to Commit a Crime.

Orange County Barber Arrested For Lewd Acts With Minor

Public assistance requested in identifying additional victims


Photo Courtesy: SAPD Ruben Olguin

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Ruben Olguin

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Fri., Aug. 14, at approximately 11 a.m., Santa Ana Police Detectives arrested Ruben Olguin, 51, of Santa Ana, for Lewd Acts with a Child. Olguin was arrested from his place of employment, the Salon De Belleza Nuevo Guadalajara, located at 118 E. 4th St. in Santa Ana.
According to the SAPD, this past July, a 14-year old victim and his mother went to their usual barber – Olguin – at the Salon De Belleza Nuevo Guadalajara. The victim and his mother had been to the same barber several times and trusted him. Olguin took the victim to a private location in the back of the Salon to wash and shampoo the child’s hair. There, it is alleged that Olguin molested the victim while the mother waited in the front of the store.
Olguin is currently being held at the Orange County Jail with bail set at $100,000.
Due to Olguin’s access to children and the public, the SAPD is asking for the public’s help in identifying any additional victims or witnesses who may have observed him acting inappropriately.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Corporal Javier Aceves at (714) 245-8542 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

Orange County: Officers Arrest Bank Robbery Suspect

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Tues., Aug. 4, at approximately 4:57 p.m., a male Asian suspect entered the Bank of America located at 102 W. 4th Street in Santa Ana.  He presented the teller with a note, which stated he had a gun and demanded money. Out of fear for her safety, the teller provided the suspect with an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency. The suspect fled the location on foot.

With the assistance of Orange County Sheriff’s Air Support, “Duke,” the suspect was located and Officers were directed to the area of 600 W. Santa Ana Blvd.  When the Officers arrived, they were lead to a possible suspect by a security guard. The suspect was ultimately located and detained.

The suspect was positively identified during a field show-up as Dia Chanh Diep, 43, a transient. Money believed to have been taken in the robbery was located with the suspect.

Robbery Detectives and the FBI were both notified and assisted in the investigation. The suspect was arrested for bank robbery and booked at the Santa Ana Police Jail.

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Orange County: Streetcar Project Takes Next Step

Image Courtesy:  City of Santa Ana

Image Courtesy: City of Santa Ana

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – The OC Streetcar project marked its latest milestone this week as the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Santa Ana, outlining the roles and responsibilities associated with the development, implementation, operations and maintenance of the project.
The OC Streetcar is planned for travel through the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove, and intended to provide easy connections for people traveling from trains and buses to employment, retail and recreational areas.
According to the City of Santa Ana, the streetcar is scheduled to operate along a route of approximately four miles. The route will run from the Santa Ana train station, through Downtown Santa Ana and the Civic Center, along the Pacific Electric right of way, and connect to a new multimodal transit hub at Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove.
“This agreement is another big step toward the realization of Orange County’s first modern streetcar,” said Santa Ana Mayor and OCTA Director, Miguel Pulido. “The streetcar will improve the way people move through the heart of our county and provide needed transportation alternatives for a modern work environment.”
Up to seven streetcars are planned to run along the route, stopping at 12 stations. By 2035, the streetcar is expected to carry more than 6,000 riders a day. Initial estimates put the project cost at $250 million, with OCTA pursuing local, state and federal funding.
The streetcar is expected to move into the design phase later this year with construction planned to begin in 2017. On the current schedule, the streetcar would begin running in 2019.
To read the full MOU, visit http://atb.octa.net/AgendaPDF/2729.pdf.

Orange County: Rockin’ Round The Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo holding black-tie Fundraiser

Photo Courtesy:  City of Santa Ana

Photo Courtesy: City of Santa Ana

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – The Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ), a non-profit organization, are pleased to announce tickets sales, media and sponsorship opportunities for its 23rd annual “Rockin’ Round the Zoo” at Zoofari High fundraising event.
Tickets to this year’s exclusive black-tie gala under the stars are $250 each, or $2,500 for a private table of ten. All tickets must be purchased in advance of the event, which will take place Sat., Aug. 29, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight at the Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park – located at 1801 Chestnut Avenue in Santa Ana. Space is limited and tickets will not be sold at the door.
With an expected attendance of more than 400 guests, the glamorous Zoofari fundraising event includes valet parking service underwritten by Tudor House Productions, a first-class dining experience catered by Parties by Panache, and a hosted bar including a special “Love Potion #9” signature drink made with Tito’s Handmade vanilla vodka, root beer and vanilla ice cream. Partygoers will enjoy photos with Elvis, 1950s themed décor by R.W.B. Party Props, dancing to the sounds of Groove Factory, and an opportunity to bid on wonderful trips, beautiful baskets, and one-of-a-kind gifts during the event’s live and silent auctions hosted by renowned auctioneer, Kimberly Fladeboe Anderson. Honorees this year include FOSAZ Board Members Patti Mickey, Patty McClendon and Steve McGuigan.
“For more than 20 years, Zoofari has played an integral role in raising the funds needed for all the special projects and improvements going on here at our favorite community zoo, including educational programs, breaking ground on new animal habitats, tackling important conservation initiatives, introducing new rides and upgrading service facilities for our guests to use and enjoy,” says Cathi Decker, event host and Executive Director of FOSAZ.
“Zoofari is a first-class fundraising event that demonstrates the love and investment the local community, surrounding businesses and FOSAZ have for the Zoo,” says David Exline, President of the FOSAZ Board. “This year’s Rockin’ Round the Zoo at Zoofari High promises to be another endearing and festive evening our guests will cherish, and a night of giving that will have a lasting and positive impact on the Santa Ana Zoo for years to come.”
To find out more about 2015 Rockin’ Round the Zoo at Zoofari High, discuss potential sponsorship opportunities or to reserve seats and purchase tickets, call (714) 953-8555, ext. 10, or visit www.santanazoo.org.
The Santa Ana Zoo is home to more than 150 animals, including 50 of the most interesting and engaging monkeys and several endangered species, like the Golden Lion Tamarins. The gates open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  General Zoo admission is $10.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and children 3-12 years. Children under 3 are free. The Conservation Carrousel Rides are $3 each, Zoofari Express Train Rides are $4 each, and combo tickets are $6 each. Children under 2 are free to ride with paid adult on the Train and adults standing with children on the Carrousel are free. For more information call (714) 836-4000 or visit our website at: www.santaanazoo.org.

Orange County: Disney Employee Arrest

Cast Member attempts to trade park tickets in exchange for sex with minor


Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On July 1, a Disneyland Resort employee allegedly posted an ad on Craigslist seeking women willing to engage in sexual acts in exchange for tickets to the Resort parks.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), the suspect – Darreck Michael Enciso, 27, of Adelanto – is accused of communicating with a Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) Undercover Officer, whom he thought was a 14-year old girl, interested in the tickets.  On July 9, Enciso showed up at the designated meeting place on Beach Blvd. in Huntington Beach with condoms and Disneyland park tickets in his possession.

Enciso was arrested and charged with one felony count of attempted lewd acts upon a child, one felony count of contacting a child with the intent to commit a specified sex crime, and one felony count of meeting a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct.

Enciso was scheduled to be arraigned on Mon., July 13.  If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years and eight months in prison, as well as mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.  He is reportedly being held on $100,000 bail at the Santa Ana Central Jail.

The Disneyland Resort reportedly terminated Enciso following his arrest.

The OCDA and the HBPD are seeking the public’s help in identifying potential additional victims of Enciso, who is accused of posting several similar ads on Craigslist.  Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Mark Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794, or HBPD Detective, Angela Bennett, at (714) 536-5960.

Orange County: 4th Of July Trouble

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Ryan Matthew Brown

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Sat., July 4, at approximately 9:40 p.m., Santa Ana Police Officers responded to the 2500 block of North Linwood Avenue to assist first responders with a male who was lying in the street, unresponsive.  Officers arrived to find Orange County Fire personnel performing CPR on a 55-year old male.

The victim was transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he was pronounced deceased.

In their preliminary investigation, Homicide Detectives found that a fight occurred during a large neighborhood Fourth of July party.  The victim was a participant in the fight, but it is unclear is the male sustained an assault injury, or died as a result of a medical condition.  The cause of death is pending autopsy.

Anyone with information regarding this incident as asked to call SAPD Homicide Detectives at (714) 245-8390, or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.

In another incident that occurred on Wed., July 1, at approximately 6:47 p.m., SAPD Officers responded to the 900 block of West 17th Street in reference to a fireworks complaint.  Officers were advised that a resident at a complex had thrown a makeshift bottle bomb at a juvenile victim as he was walking in the alley.

Remnants of the device were recovered at the scene which consisted of a legal firework that was modified to explode inside of a bottle.

At the time of the initial investigation, the suspect – Ryan Matthew Brown, 37, of Santa Ana – fled the scene through the rear of his residence.  Officers returned to the suspect’s home at approximately 10:30 p.m., and took Brown into custody without incident.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad assisted officers with this investigation, and Brown was booked on felony charges of Using a Destructive Device Causing Bodily Injury, and Willful Cruelty to a Child with Possible Injury or Death.

Orange County: Nation’s Birthday Celebrated With A Bang

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – Join the Mayor and City Council for family style fun and a spectacular fireworks show at the City of Santa Ana’s 2015 Independence Day Celebration.  The event will be held at Centennial Park on Sat., July 4, from 4 to 9:30 p.m.

“Santa Ana’s annual tradition on the 4th of July is to have fun, show your patriotism, picnic at the park, enjoy great music, learn about history, and watch a spectacular fireworks show over the Centennial Park lakes,” said Santa Ana Council Member, David Benavides.
The Independence Day celebration will feature live performances by the Full Spectrum Band and Santa Ana High School. The celebration will also feature a History Walk with costumed characters from our nation’s history educating children, a kid’s zone play area with three bounce houses and games, Civil War cannons, and recognition of our Armed Forces. The fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m.  Bring a picnic basket or enjoy the various food vendors throughout the park. Admission is free and guests are encouraged to arrive early to find a spot in the park.
Council member, Roman Reyna, who leads a group of youth to volunteer in helping produce the event, said, “I am particularly thrilled that every year we get Santa Ana Youth more and more involved in these types of events. This is the best way to engage and motivate our youth to become leaders.”
Centennial Park is located at 3000 W Edinger Ave, in Santa Ana.  For more information, contact Enrique Marban at Emarban@santa-ana.org, or call (714) 571-4254.

Orange County: Citizen Helps To Arrest Robbery Suspect

Anonymous caller sees suspect vehicle shown in TV news story

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Heriberto Escalera Contreras

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Heriberto Escalera Contreras

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Mon., June 15, at approximately 7:30 a.m., a woman entered a 7-Eleven convenience store located at 2242 S. Grand Ave.; her 10-year old daughter waited in the car.

A man parked his van next to the woman’s vehicle and was able to look down into her car and see a wallet in the center console.  The man exited his van, opened the woman’s car door, grabbed the wallet and got back into his van.

The 10-year old got out of her car and opened the man’s van door in an attempt to retrieve the stolen wallet.  The man attempted to close the door, and a struggle between the two ensued with the door opening and closing for about a minute’s time.  Eventually, the man handed the girl the wallet.

As the man was about to leave, the mother exited the store.  When the girl told her mother what had happened, the mother ran up to the suspect and told him she was calling the police.  The girl used her cell phone to photograph the van’s rear license plate as the suspect drove from the parking lot.

The child was not injured, and the wallet – containing cash – was retained by the victim.

On Thurs., June 18, at approximately 4:50 p.m., Officers responded to the Mobile Gas Station at Edinger and Main streets after an anonymous citizen called to report that the suspect vehicle that was shown on TV news of the robbery that occurred at the 7-Eleven on June 15 was currently parked in the gas station lot.  Officers located the subject in question – Heriberto Escalera Contreras, 36, of Santa Ana – in the vicinity and detained him without incident.

Contreras had the keys to the vehicle in his pocket and acknowledged that the van was his.  Officers arrested the subject on an unrelated warrant for Burglary and possession of Methamphetamine. The suspect was also found to have concealed narcotics on his person while being booked into the Santa Ana Jail Facility. Contreras was interviewed by Santa Ana Police Department Robbery Detectives, where he made statements placing him at the robbery scene. Contreras was positively identified by the victim as the suspect in the June 15 robbery.

OC Man Arraigned For Hit And Run Deaths

Crash killed woman and her 2-year old granddaughter

Photo Courtesy:  Irvine PD Alec Scott Abraham, 20, charged with hit-and-run deaths

Photo Courtesy: Irvine PD
Alec Scott Abraham, 20, charged with hit-and-run deaths

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Mon., June 15, Alec Scott Abraham, 20, of Costa Mesa, was arraigned for causing a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman and her granddaughter in Irvine. Abraham is charged with two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of hit-and-run with permanent injury or death, one felony count of reckless driving with bodily injury, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft by taking and carrying away, and sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury.

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on June 10, Abraham was driving a Ford Mustang and traveling westbound on Alton Parkway in Irvine. He is accused of speeding and failing to stop for a red light at the intersection of Alton and Barranca parkways. Abraham reportedly slammed into the driver’s side of a Chevy Cruze being driven by Katherine Hampton, 54, who was traveling southbound on Barranca Parkway through a green light – with her daughter and two grandchildren also in the car. The crash forced the vehicles into a Honda Civic that was stopped at the red light going eastbound on Alton Parkway. The solo driver in the Honda Civic was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.

Shortly after the crash, Abraham allegedly approached a bystander and requested to use their cell phone.  He took the bystander’s phone, fleeing from the scene of the crash on foot.

The Orange County Fire Authority arrived on scene and transported the victims to local hospitals. Hampton died at the scene as a result of her injuries sustained in the crash.

Hampton’s daughter, 28-year-old Jane Doe, was seated in the passenger seat of the Chevy Cruze and was treated for a broken jaw. Jane Doe’s son, 7-year old John Doe, who was seated in the rear passenger seat, was treated for a broken collarbone. Jane Doe’s daughter, 2-year old Kaydence Hampton, who was seated behind the driver’s seat, was in cardiac arrest following the crash. She was revived at the hospital, but had significant brain swelling, and was pronounced dead on June 14.

Abraham was arrested at a Costa Mesa park on June 11 by the Irvine Police Department.  If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison. He is being held on $1 million bail.

OC Debt Relief Consumer Fraud

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Mon., June 1, two individuals pleaded guilty for their roles at fraudulent debt relief services companies that offered to settle credit card debts, but instead took their victims’ payments as undisclosed up-front fees.

Athena Maldonado, 30, and Christopher Harati, 31, both of Orange County, were involved in connection with debt relief companies known as Nelson Gamble & Associates, and Jackson, Hunter, Morris & Knight, LLP.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the defendants and their co-conspirators portrayed the debt relief companies as law firms and attorney-based companies that would negotiate favorable settlements with creditors.  Clients made monthly payments expecting the money to go toward settlements.  The companies instead took an amount equal to at least 15 percent of clients’ total debt as company fees, with the first six months of payments going almost entirely toward undisclosed up-front fees.

“Debt relief service scams prey on vulnerable consumers trying to climb out of tough financial situations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Benjamin C. Mizer, of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The Justice Department will aggressively pursue the criminals who operate these schemes.”

Maldonado admitted that she acted as the “legal department” for both companies, and used multiple aliases when responding to complaints submitted by state attorney general offices, the Better Business Bureau and private attorneys.  Maldonado admitted that, after Nelson Gamble changed its name to Jackson Hunter, she responded to consumer complaints by falsely stating, among other things, that the two companies were not related and that Jackson Hunter could not refund money paid to Nelson Gamble.

Harati admitted that he worked as a client relations manager for the companies and handled complaint calls from clients.  He admitted he told customers that Nelson Gamble and Jackson Hunter were separate companies, falsely stated that Jackson Hunter was a nationwide law firm with years of experience, and made other misrepresentations designed to convince customers to stay with the company.

The defendants each face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine of twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater, along with mandatory restitution.  Their sentencing dates have not been set.

On Dec. 3, 2014, a grand jury in Santa Ana, California, returned a 22-count indictment charging Jeremy Nelson, Elias Ponce and John Vartanian, all of Orange County, for mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the same fraudulent scheme.  The trial in that case is scheduled to begin on Feb. 16, 2016, in Los Angeles.

The Federal Trade Commission brought a civil case against Nelson Gamble, Jackson Hunter and other defendants in September 2012, alleging that the defendants falsely claimed they would reduce consumers’ unsecured debt by 50 percent or more, made unauthorized charges to their bank accounts and called phone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

SAPD Arrests Suspect In Bank Robbery

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Suspect Justin Thomas Yrrarazaval

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Suspect Justin Thomas Yrrarazaval

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Thurs., May 28, at 4:41 p.m., Officers were dispatched to a bank robbery that had just occurred.  The investigation revealed that a Hispanic male suspect – armed with a black handgun – entered the Schools First Bank located at 2115 N. Broadway, demanding money and stating that he had a bomb.  The bank teller complied with the suspect’s demands and an undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency was taken.

The suspect – who was described as a male adult in his 20s, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, scar on his left cheek, wearing a trucker hat, plaid shirt and carrying a backpack – was last seen walking eastbound toward Main Street.

On Fri., May 29, at approximately 9 a.m., a Santa Ana Police Department Officer observed suspect, Justin Thomas Yrrarazaval, 20, of Santa Ana, walking in the 1300 block of North Spurgeon Street. The Officer believed Yrrarazaval was the same suspect he observed on surveillance video during the bank robbery the previous day.

Robbery Detectives responded to the Officer’s location and transported the suspect to the Police Department where he was questioned about his involvement in the Bank Robbery.  Yrrarazaval was then booked into the Santa Ana Police Jail on the charge of Bank Robbery.

OC Attorney Charged With Witness Tampering

Irvine lawyer arrested after accepting money to smuggle a witness out of the U.S.

Photo Courtesy:  U.S. Department of Justice   Attorney Ken Zhiyi Liang

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney Ken Zhiyi Liang

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – An Irvine-based immigration attorney has been arrested and charged with attempted witness tampering after agreeing to help a Chinese national flee from the United States after the woman had been designated as a “material witness” in a criminal investigation into “birthing houses” operating in Southern California.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Ken Zhiyi Liang, 38, of Irvine, was arrested on the afternoon of Fri., May 15, after accepting $6,000 from the witness in exchange for assisting her abscond to China. In a criminal complaint filed on May 16, Liang was charged with attempted witness tampering.  Liang was scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Mon., May 18 in United States District Court.

The Chinese national had been designated as a material witness in the federal investigation, meaning she was subject to a court order preventing her from leaving the U.S. without authorization from the government or court. Liang had represented the witness in the matter until the court removed him as attorney of record, over his objections, on Apr. 17.

The federal investigation – which became known when authorities executed dozens of search warrants in early March – focuses on so-called birthing houses that “provided services to Chinese nationals, who travelled into the United States from China, for the purpose of giving birth to children so that the children could obtain United States citizenship,” according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Liang.

The affidavit, which was written by a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, recounts several video- and audio-recorded calls and meetings between Liang and the witness. During these conversations, Liang outlined a plan in which he would assist the witness by having her board a commercial airliner in the United States without travel documentation, so she could escape to China undetected by federal authorities. At one of the meetings, Liang told the witness that he could guarantee her safe return to China in exchange for a $6,000 fee for himself, and up to $3,000 to pay for help provided by three others.

During the meetings detailed in the affidavit, Liang refused to provide a written contract to the witness and requested that she pay him in cash, delete text messages and call logs, and begin using a prepaid cellular phone for all future communications.

Unbeknownst to Liang, the witness was cooperating with federal agents, who were monitoring the conversations between Liang and the witness. Liang was arrested by federal authorities as he was walking with the witness toward his car, supposedly to begin a trip to a coffee shop in Corona, where he was going to introduce the witness to the co-conspirators, who are not identified in the affidavit. After his arrest, Liang led agents back to his office, where he returned the $6,000 he had accepted from the witness.

According to the affidavit in Liang’s case, the attorney provided assistance to two other material witnesses – LongJing Yi, and her husband, Jun Xiao – who fled to the U.S. on Apr. 4 and were subsequently charged in relation to their flight from the U.S.  Another material witness who allegedly received help from Liang was intercepted at Los Angeles International Airport on Apr. 15.

If convicted, Liang could face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

OC Firefighter Pleads Guilty

Child porn charges to produce explicit photos of young girls abroad


Staff Reports

Santa Ana – A Huntington Beach commercial firefighter pleaded guilty on Fri., May 8, to a federal charge of attempting to produce child pornography.

John McArthur, 57, a California-licensed fire captain – who at the time of the criminal conduct in 2012 worked for a ConocoPhillips oil refinery in San Pedro – pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Josephine Staton.

An investigation revealed that in Jan. 2012, McArthur had online conversations with a person he believed was a 13-year old girl in the Philippines. During those online conversations, McArthur agreed to send money for the purchase of a camera that would be used to take sexually explicit photographs of the girl and an 11-year old friend. McArthur later went to a Western Union agent to transfer the money to the minor.

Unbeknownst to McArthur at the time, the person posing as the 13-year old girl was Robert Oliver Clark, 75, a United States citizen residing in the Philippines. Clark was arrested in September 2014 in a related case, and he has agreed to plead guilty to possession of child pornography. In a plea agreement recently filed in United States District Court, Clark admitted that he “possessed, in his computer hard drive and in his email accounts, 5,443 images and 53 videos of child pornography, including 43 images and 1 video portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct and 16 images portraying toddlers.” Clark, who resided in Texas prior to moving to the Philippines, is scheduled to enter his guilty plea on May 21 in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

During this investigation, law enforcement authorities discovered that McArthur received hundreds of images and several videos of child pornography through his email accounts.

McArthur is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Staton on Aug. 21, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

The investigation into McArthur and Clark was headed by the United States Postal Inspection Service, which received substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center.

“Protecting children from crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation is a priority for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” stated Robert Wemyss, Inspector in Charge for the Los Angeles Division. “I’m proud of the work of the Postal Inspection Service and our investigative partners to bring child predators to justice. U.S. Postal Inspectors have investigated these crimes for more than a century. While the predators’ use of technology has evolved, the core harm has not changed: a child’s lost innocence. We will not lose sight of this, and remain steadfast in our efforts to investigate, apprehend, and assist in the prosecution of those who seek to exploit children via the U.S. Mail, wherever in the world they may be.”


Chinese Nationals Charged In “Maternity House” Investigations

11 individuals who fled the U.S. face multiple charges.


Staff Reports 

Santa Ana – On Thurs., Apr. 30, ten Chinese nationals who fled the U.S. earlier that month were charged with violating federal court orders.  They were all required to remain in the country during investigations into “Chinese Maternity Houses” that allegedly helped women come to the U.S. on fraudulent visas so they could give birth to children who would become U.S. citizens.

In addition to the charges related to the alleged violations of the court orders designating them as material witnesses, ten of the defendants are also charged with making false statements on visa applications for allegedly lying to federal immigration authorities on the true purpose of their trips to the U.S.

An 11th defendant, who had not been formally ordered to remain in the United States as a material witness, is charged only with visa fraud.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the defendants charged are Dongjiang He, 46, and his wife, Zhichan Yu, 40, last residing in Rancho Cucamonga; Jun Xiao, 30, and LongJing Yi, 30, last residing in Irvine; Jia Luo, 30, last residing in Rancho Cucamonga; Renlong Chen, 34, and his wife Wei Wang, 33, last residing in Rancho Cucamonga; Jie He, 29, last residing in Rancho Cucamonga; and Eryun Zhang, 25, her husband, Liang Ni, 25, and her mother, Ji Xu, 50, all last residing in Rancho Cucamonga.

All but one of the defendants were customers of Chinese maternity house operations in Southern California who paid up to $50,000 to obtain temporary visitor’s visas for authorization to travel to the U.S.  According to court documents, they fraudulently claimed their stay was only for several days.

Ten of the defendants are among 29 individuals who were designated by United States Magistrate Judges as material witnesses after they were encountered by federal law enforcement authorities.  37 federal search warrants were executed in March across Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. As detailed in the affidavits in support of those search warrants, federal agents are investigating multiple Chinese maternity operations in Southern California for suspected immigration fraud and tax fraud, as well as failing to report foreign bank accounts in China and Hong Kong.

Federal arrest warrants have been issued for all 11 defendants named in the criminal complaints filed.  All but one of the defendants are charged with obstruction of justice and criminal contempt of court, and 10 of them are also charged with making a false statement on a visa application.

All of the defendants are fugitives and are believe to be in China at this time.

If convicted, the defendants face statutory maximum sentences of 25 years in federal prison for the charge of false statement on a visa application and five years in federal prison for the charge of obstruction of justice. There is no maximum penalty for the charge of criminal contempt of court

Teen Sentenced To 11 Years

Driver causes fatal hit-and-run under the influence of Meth

(Photo Courtesy:  OCSD) Sommer Nicole Gonzales, 19, sentenced to 11 years.

(Photo Courtesy: OCSD)
Sommer Nicole Gonzales, 19, sentenced to 11 years.

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Tues., Apr. 21, a driver was sentenced to 11 years in state prison for driving under the influence of methamphetamine and killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run crash.

Sommer Nicole Gonzales, 19, of Tustin, pleaded guilty to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of hit and run with death, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter.

At approximately 6:55 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2014, Gonzales drove under the influence of methamphetamine on Santiago Canyon Road, in unincorporated Orange County near Loma Ridge Road, and veered into the bike lane. She struck 21-year old Joseph Robinson, who was lawfully riding his bike within the marked bike lane. Gonzales fled the scene without stopping to render any assistance to the victim or reporting the accident. A witness, who was driving in the vicinity of the hit and run, saw substantial damage to Gonzales’ vehicle and called 911 to give a description of her car.

Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department found the defendant and her vehicle approximately 45 minutes after the crash in a parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita, where damage was observed to her car consistent with being involved in a serious collision. Gonzales displayed objective signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance and had methamphetamine and a pipe in her possession. The defendant later tested positive for methamphetamine in her blood.

The same witness that reported the defendant’s vehicle to police found Robinson severely injured by the side of the road. The victim suffered severe blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.

At the sentencing, several family members and friends of the victim delivered emotional impact statements to the court.

The victim’s mother presented a video montage of the victim which was played in court.  She also talked about how happy her son used to be, brought a lot of joy to the family, and how every special event that happens now is bittersweet.  Robinson had also recently become engaged.

The victim’s father told the court about visiting the scene of the crime and imagining how his son spent his last moments alive on the side of the road. He went on to talk about the hole that’s left in the family that will never be filled and that the only consolation is how grateful he is to have memories of their time spent together.

The victim’s sister said in part, “My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”


14 Attorneys were recognized for exception prosecution of drunken driving cases

Image Courtesy:  MADD

Image Courtesy: MADD

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Wed., Mar. 25, the Orange County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) honored 14 Orange County Deputy District Attorneys for their time and effort in prosecuting driving under the influence (DUI) cases in 2014. MADD hosted the 28th Annual Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Recognition Luncheon to honor Orange County prosecutors and police officers for their outstanding contributions to the prosecution of DUI cases. The luncheon was held at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.

At the luncheon, six Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) prosecutors, including Senior Deputy District Attorney, Jennifer Walker, and Deputy District Attorneys Jim Bilek, Devin Campbell, Stephen Cornwell, Anna McIntire, and Nick Miller, received the 2015 Diligent Prosecutor Award to recognize their support to victims and their families and efforts in criminal prosecution of DUI defendants. Each was nominated by their OCDA supervisor or a MADD victim advocate. The recipients were verbally recognized and received a plaque at the luncheon.

Additionally, the eight members of the DUI-Drug (DUID) vertical prosecution team were recognized for their collective efforts to prosecute drug impaired, and combination (alcohol and drug) impaired drivers.  The DUID team members recognized for their efforts were Hoon Chang, Anna Chinowth, Shiba Etemadian, Ed Grubaugh, James Hong, Jake Jondle, Sherin Larijani, Nick Miller, and Erika Pennington.

The 14 honored deputy district attorneys prosecuted defendants who faced charges ranging from misdemeanor driving under the influence to felony murder. The efforts of the prosecution resulted in the defendants’ convictions with sentences as high as 30 years to life in state prison.

MADD is a nationwide, non-profit organization that works to stop drunken driving, support victims, survivors, and families affected by drunken driving, and prevent underage drinking. The Orange County Chapter of MADD was formed in 1981 and offers services and education to the local community, including youth programs, victim services, and special events. MADD works closely with Orange County law enforcement agencies to support the prosecution and apprehension of those who put the public at risk by driving under the influence of alcohol.



Mission Viejo Man Strangles Wife

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Thurs., Feb. 5, an Orange County husband was arraigned on charges of strangling and murdering his wife in their Mission Viejo home.

Gary Lee Parsons, 74, is charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail in Santa Ana’s Central Jail.

In the early hours of Feb. 3, Parsons is accused of engaging in an argument with his wife, Barbara Parsons, 73, inside their home. The argument escalated to a physical altercation and the defendant is accused of throwing the victim onto their bed and strangling her until she was unresponsive. He is also accused of tucking the victim into the bed and leaving the home in his car.

Parsons reportedly then called a family member, who, in turn, called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to report the crime.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, OCSD received a call from the defendant, and deputies arrived at the Mission Viejo home shortly thereafter. The defendant returned home and parked in the driveway.  After entering the home and finding Barbara Parsons deceased in her bed, OSCD deputies arrested the defendant.