Padre de Highland Park Tomado Por ICE Puede Ser Deportado

August 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El concejal de la ciudad Gil Cedillo pidió el martes la liberación de un hombre que se enfrenta a la deportación después de ser recogido por agentes de inmigración mientras dejaba a su hija en la escuela.

Rómulo Avelica-González fue detenido por el personal de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) mientras dejaba a una de sus hijas en Academia Avance en Highland Park el 28 de febrero. Ha vivido en el país desde hace 25 años y su caso ganó mucha atención con la difusión del video tomado por otra de sus hijas, que filmo el incidente mientras que lloraba.

“Justicia retrasada es justicia negada. El señor Rómulo ha sido detenido y mantenido alejado de su familia por más de seis meses”, dijo Cedillo en una manifestación para Avelica-González en la plaza Pershing del centro de la cuidad. “Y como él está a punto de ser deportado estamos aquí en unidad y solidaridad para dejar claro a todos los que están aquí, que vamos a luchar por la justicia, que no puede haber justicia hasta que el señor Rómulo sea puesto en libertad y devuelto a su familia”.

Cedillo dijo en junio que parecía que Avelica-González iba a ser puesto en libertad después de dos condenas anteriores de delito menor para recibir la propiedad robada y un DUI fueron despedidos por un juez. Sin embargo, Los Ángeles Times informó el lunes que todavía está enfrentando la deportación y que podría ser transportado a México tan pronto como la próxima semana.

Cedillo, que ha sido uno de los críticos más agudos del consejo de las políticas de inmigración del presidente Donald Trump, también dijo: “Los criminales y los que deberían ser deportados están en la Casa Blanca”.

Aunque los abogados de Avelica-González están intentando varias maniobras legales para evitar su detención, una suspensión de emergencia de la deportación ordenada por el Tribunal de Apelaciones del 9no Circuito de Estados Unidos expira el 5 de agosto y Avelica-González podría ser deportada para el 7 de agosto, según LA Times.

“Existe un fundamento jurídico muy claro para esto”, dijo Cedillo al pedir la liberación de Avelica-González. “Las preocupaciones que se plantearon cuando fue recogido han sido abordadas”.

Feuer Secures Injunction Against Highland Park Home

July 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Tuesday that his office has secured a preliminary injunction against the owners of a Highland Park home allegedly operating as an unlicensed daycare center and cocaine dispensary.

“The drug activity we allege at this home was a massive blight on the community and especially outrageous because little kids were caught right in the middle of it,” Feuer said.

“Shutting down this day care center, combined with the other tough conditions we fought for, will make this neighborhood safer for everyone.”

The injunction requires the homeowners, Felipe Talamante and Prodigios Garcia Talamante, to comply with safety and security conditions including the immediate closure of the unlicensed daycare at 5215 Marmion Way.

A search warrant was issued on the property in 2015 resulting in Talamante’s arrest and the recovery of 20 kilograms of cocaine, Feuer’s office said.

A second search warrant was served on the property in May resulting in the recovery of an additional 20 kilograms of cocaine, two rocks of cocaine and digital sales being recovered, Feuer’s office said. Talamante was also arrested for suspicion of narcotics sales and child endangerment.

Community Clinic Re-opening Is Reminder of Importance of Health Care ‘Safety Net’

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Andres and Rosa Garcia sat patiently waiting for the grand re-opening program to begin, quietly recalling that it had been over 15 years since they turned to the Arroyo Vista Family Medical Center in Highland Park for their health care.

The temperature was rising and just a couple of hours earlier news broke that the U.S. Senate had released it’s version of a bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. If passed, the change could cut off health care insurance to tens of millions of low-income and middle class Americans, and potentially raise the cost of health insurance to the elderly five-fold.

Councilman Gil Cedillo greets Arroyo Vista Family Health Center patient while touring newly re-opened clinic with CEO Lorraine Estradas. (Office of Councilman Gil Cedillo)

Quality health care that is accessible and affordable is not something to be taken for granted, something the Garcias know firsthand.

“The people who work here [at Arroyo Vista] have always taken good care of us,” said Andres, appearing much younger than his 86 years.

“Everyone here is helpful and friendly, “ adds 81-year-old Rosa, explaining in Spanish that the couple uses the clinic’s dental and vision services as well as its primary health and medical services, a convenience they appreciate having close to their Highland Park home.

“Whenever we need to see a specialist they refer us right away, to White Memorial, and get us to the right doctor” to treat my ulcer and arthritis, Andres told EGP. Rosa says she appreciates that the staff “all speak Spanish.”

The couple was among several dozen people from the Arroyo Vista staff, board of directors, patients, professional and community partners and a local councilman gathered to mark the latest milestone in the community clinic network’s mission to provide quality, affordable and non-discriminating health care services.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, increased the number of people in California and across the country with health insurance, swelling the demand for providers.

One of five community-based clinics and a mobile clinic operated by Arroyo Vista, the facility on North Figueroa Street was closed to patients for several months as it underwent a $1Million remodel, adding new state-of-the-art upgrades to better serve and accommodate its predominately low-income clients who range in age from newborns to the elderly. An on-site pharmacy allows patients to fill prescriptions with ease.

Arroyo Vista is a very important “safety net for this community,” said Steven Kasten, a Lincoln Heights businessman who served as MC for the grand re-opening ceremony and ribbon cutting. He recalled meeting Arroyo Vista CEO Lorraine Estradas 35 years earlier, marveling at her years of dedication and leadership in growing the clinic network.

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo (CD-1) represents three of the neighborhoods where Arroyo Vista clinics are located. He said the importance of clinics like Arroyo Vista that treat patients with “dignity and respect” can’t be understated, especially as the country faces forces intent on “cutting Medicaid and health insurance for the poor” and “give tax breaks to the rich,” a reference to Republican House and Senate plans to unravel Obamacare.

“I know firsthand how important these clinics are,” Cedillo said. Years ago, “I was unemployed, without health insurance and then my wife was diagnosed with cancer,” he told the audience. He said he had to call on friends and acquaintances — build his own health care network — to get his wife the medical help she needed.

“My wife got help at clinics like Arroyo Vista,” which take care of people with few resources, no matter their income level or legal status, Cedillo said.

“We have a crisis in leadership,” Cedillo said. “We have to bring business and labor together” to champion the working poor as the country “suffers the policies of Trump.”

Arroyo Vista is doing a great job of providing quality care, and the community has to support its effort, the councilman said.

Tours of the newly renovated facility were offered following the formal program and ceremonial ribbon cutting. Traveling through the facility with Estradas and other guests, Cedillo stopped to shake hands with staff and patients, and ask what each thought of the changes at the clinic.

The responses were overwhelming positive, with doctors and patients alike remarking on the aesthetic improvements, but calling particular attention to changes that made the delivery of care more efficient and responsive to clients’ needs.

“My whole family comes here and we love it, they treat my kids really good,” said one mother, who told EGP she appreciates that the doctors listen to her.

There’s no doubt that challenges to the healthcare system are on the horizon. For Estradas that means staying true to Arroyo Vista’s mission of using all its resources to give their clients the best health outcomes possible.

“We are watching what’s going on very closely,” she told EGP. “We are constantly planning for whatever is to come down the road.”

 

City Sues to Seize Illegal Day Care and Drug Den

June 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a narcotics abatement lawsuit Tuesday against the owners of a Highland Park home allegedly operating as an unlicensed daycare center and cocaine dispensary.

“The rampant drug activity we allege at this home is a dangerous blight on the community — and especially alarming because little kids are caught up in the middle of it,” Feuer said at a news conference with representatives from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the L.A. Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.

“Imagine if your children were being cared for in the same house where cocaine was being sold,” he said. “My office will do everything in our power to shut down what we allege is an incredibly toxic combination of illegal drugs and day care.”

One of the two owners of the Highland Park home, Felipe Talamante, is accused in a federal court case of trying to sell cocaine “direct from Mexico” to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent on May 25, the Los Angeles Times reported. Felipe Talamante, 48, boasted to a confidential informant that he had 20 kilograms — or 44 pounds — of cocaine worth about $430,000 ready to sell, and the informant then connected him with the undercover agent, court papers allege.

When the men allegedly met to make the sale, authorities noticed that several children were playing in the front yard, according to documents cited by The Times. One 2-year-old child was picked up from the home while the drug order was being placed, and officers conducting surveillance “observed children of all ages being picked up and dropped off at Felipe’s residence,” according to the criminal complaint.

A child’s mattress was found in the same room as the cocaine, and children were seen playing on the patio during drug deals, according to The Times.

Federal agents arrested Talamante on suspicion of being in possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He’s being held in federal custody and is scheduled to be arraigned July 16, the newspaper reported.

Talamante’s home, meanwhile, is subject to civil action. Feuer’s nuisance abatement lawsuit asks a judge to declare the property a public nuisance and to take it away from Talamante, who could then be banned from the property for a year.

The suit also seeks to keep Talamante from operating any day care center in the city and force him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. The property would then be sold at auction, with the proceeds going toward rehabilitating the location.

Police previously arrested Talamante at the same home in 2015 — also for possessing 20 kilos of cocaine, according to Feuer’s office.

 

Convictions Vacated for Father Facing Deportation

June 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

HIGHLAND PARK – A man whose daughter filmed his detention by federal immigration agents will likely avoid deportation due to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s concurrence with a judge’s ruling on the case, City Councilman Gil Cedillo said Wednesday.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel while dropping off one of his daughters at Academia Avance in Highland Park on Feb. 28. His case gained widespread attention with the dissemination of video footage taken by another of his daughters, who filmed the incident while sobbing.

Avelica-Gonzalez was detained due to two prior misdemeanor convictions for receiving stolen property in 1998 and a DUI in 2008.

A state law that took effect in January allows the court to vacate some convictions if the person charged was not fully informed of the consequences to pleading guilty or no contest.

The DUI case was vacated by the judge last month, and on Friday, his 1998 conviction was vacated by a judge who ruled that a waiver form was not properly filled out as required by state law.

The City Attorney’s Office had previously argued that Avelica-Gozalez’s argument to have the conviction vacated had no legal grounds, but City Attorney Mike Feuer’s spokesman, Rob Wilcox, said Tuesday that the judge’s ruling had “focused on facts that hadn’t been presented earlier to the court,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“The judge concluded, and our office agreed, that the waiver form was not fully consistent with wording required by state law,” he said, according to the Times.

“I’d like to thank City Attorney Mike Feuer for ensuring that Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez’s case was treated with fairness and all evidence considered in our pursuit of justice for this Angeleno. We said we were going to have a talk with the city attorney and we did,” said Cedillo, who represents the

Highland Park neighborhood where Avelica-Gonzalez was detailed.

“Romulo represents a movement for family unity and reunification, a cornerstone of our city’s values and immigration advocacy foundation,” he said. “We denounce ICE in our neighborhoods as well as the tearing apart of our families and communities. The ramifications of this arrest will endure long after this case is closed. Our people are living in fear of ICE every day.”

 

Fatal Crash on 110 Freeway

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A 40-year-old motorist, possibly driving drunk, was killed Sunday when he lost control of his pickup truck on the Arroyo Seco parkway (Route 110) near Highland Park, and his pickup truck smashed into a tree.

The crash was on the southbound 110 Freeway at Avenue 43 at 4:25 a.m., the California Highway Patrol reported.

The driver was a Pasadena man, at the wheel of a red 1989 Toyota pickup truck. The CHP said he made an unsafe curve, and hit the right side of the freeway.

The pickup truck continued up an embankment and struck a tree. The motorist was pronounced dead at the scene, he had no passengers aboard.

“The investigation is ongoing and alcohol consumption by the driver may be a factor in this collision,” the CHP reported.

The CHP’s Los Angeles office asked anyone who saw the crash to call them at (213) 744-2331.

Ex-Fugitive Pleads Not Guilty in Hate Crime Murder Case

February 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Latino gang member from Highland Park, who spent more than 15 years on the run in connection with a racially motivated murder, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges.

Merced “Shadow” Cambero, 38, entered his plea to charges of conspiracy against rights, interference with federally protected activities, aiding and abetting, and use or discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson set a March 28 trial date in downtown Los Angeles.

Cambero was taken into custody by Mexican authorities in Baja California and turned over to the FBI at the border on Feb. 3. Federal prosecutors allege he was one of three shooters who gunned down Kenneth Kurry Wilson, a black man, in Highland Park in April 1999.

Cambero, according to federal court documents, is a member of the Avenues gang, which waged a campaign of terror against blacks in Highland Park.

The case marked the first time the federal hate crime statute had been used to combat racial violence by members of a street gang.

In 2006, three other members of the Avenues gang were sentenced to life in federal prison as part of the six-year conspiracy that also saw another black man gunned down at a bus stop in December 2000. A fourth man was convicted as a lookout in that 2000 slaying of Christopher Bowser.

Hearing Delayed for Ex-Fugitive in 2000 Highland Park Hate Crime Case

February 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Monday’s scheduled plea and trial-setting hearing for an alleged gang member from Highland Park, who spent more than a dozen years on the run in connection with two racially motivated murders, was delayed until Feb. 14.

Merced Cambero, 38, was arrested Friday at the Mexican border and transferred to a federal lockup in downtown Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is expected to enter a not-guilty plea next week before U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who will set a trial date.

In 2004, Cambero and four fellow alleged members of the Avenues gang were charged with conspiracy against rights, interference with federally protected activities, aiding and abetting, and use or discharge of a firearm during crime of violence causing death.

The case marked the first time the federal hate crime statute had been used to combat racial violence by members of a street gang.

During the ensuing three years, Cambero’s co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to life terms in federal prison for their roles in a gang-related conspiracy that led to the murders of two black men in the mostly Latino neighborhood claimed by the gang, prosecutors said.

Christopher Bowser was shot while waiting at a bus stop in Highland Park on Dec. 11, 2000, and Kenneth Wilson was gunned down while looking for a parking space in Highland Park on April 18, 1999.

Cambero is accused of participating in the murders.

Former Highland Park Football Coach Sentenced to 36 Years for Molesting Teens

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A former volunteer football coach at a Highland Park high school was sentenced last week to 36 years in state prison for sex-related acts involving five teenage boys.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ray G. Jurado imposed the term on Jaime Jimenez to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and not to contact the victims for 10 years.

Jimenez, 48, of Los Angeles, was removed from his post at Franklin High School after his April 2015 arrest, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said.

Jimenez pleaded no contest Nov. 10 to two felony counts each of continuous sexual abuse and lewd act on a child 14 to 15 years old and one count of misdemeanor sexual battery.

The five victims were between 13 to 16 years old at the time of the crimes, which occurred between August 2002 and December 2014 and did not happen on school grounds, according to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

 

Man Convicted of Setting Fires in Highland Park

November 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A 38-year-old convicted arsonist, who’s accused of intentionally setting two fires at an address in the Highland Park area, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges.

Javier Viera, who was previously convicted of arson crimes in the city of Pasadena, is facing two counts of arson of a structure and one count of aggravated arson.

Viera, who’s being held on $1.58 million bail, is due back in court on Dec. 6, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Viera was arrested Friday at his home, eight days after Los Angeles Fire Department investigators “responded to a suspected arson fire in the 300 block of North Kirby Street, where they encountered…Viera at the scene,” LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said.

“At the Kirby Street fire, investigators discovered a second intentionally set fire that had failed to spread at the base of a garage,” he said.

Viera already considered a suspect in a series of deliberately set trash container and vehicle fires in May in the Highland Park area, Sanders said.

Viera was convicted of 11 counts of arson in 2014, according to the criminal complaint.

“Arson is a serious crime and we have zero tolerance for willful acts of destruction in the city of Los Angeles,” LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said after Viera’s arrest.

“We are thankful there were no injuries or lives lost as a result of these fires and we will always investigate and prosecute the serious crime of arson to the fullest extent of the law,” Terrazas said.

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