Man Charged With Lewd Act With 6-Year-Old Boy at Park in Pico Rivera

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A 38-year-old man was charged Monday with a forcible lewd act on a 6-year-old boy in a restroom at a Pico Rivera park.

Eduardo Ciarelli was arraigned at the Downey courthouse and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Ciarelli is accused of sexually assaulting the boy last Sunday in a restroom at Smith Park, adjacent to a snack bar. The boy’s father found his son crying when he went to check on him, and the youngster pointed to Ciarelli, who was allegedly standing behind a stall door, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Ciarelli allegedly ran outside, but was apprehended by the boy’s father and a security guard. Sheriff’s deputies arrived around 11:30 a.m. and took him into custody.

Ciarelli is scheduled to make his next court appearance Oct. 31, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

He faces up to 10 years in state prison if convicted.

Club Optimista Honra Jóvenes Voluntarios

October 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ayudando a otros les viene naturalmente a Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez, quienes fueron honrados el sábado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park durante el Inaugural de Premios de Apreciación Juvenil de la organización sin fines de lucro en El Encanto Hall en Monterey Park.

Para Serbin, una estudiante de último año de la preparatoria Garfield en el este de Los Ángeles, es importante ayudar a personas de todas las edades.

Como miembro dedicado del Club Power of Change (Club del Poder del Cambio), el trabajo voluntario de Serbin incluye distribuir comida en Skid Row, visitar a ancianos en asilos y ayudar a alegrar a los niños a través de los programas navideños del White Memorial Medical Center.

El trabajo voluntario de Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez (sentados, con sus certificados) fue reconocido el sábado 30 de septiembre en un desayuno organizado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park.

El trabajo voluntario de Jasmine Serbin y Jestin Jiménez (sentados, con sus certificados) fue reconocido el sábado 30 de septiembre en un desayuno organizado por el Club Optimista del este de Los Ángeles-Monterey Park.

Voluntariado con los niños es especialmente gratificante para Serbin, quien dice que planea estudiar para convertirse en una médica especializada en niños con necesidades especiales.

Jiménez, graduado en 2017 de la escuela preparatoria de Mark Keppel, es actualmente estudiante de primer año en el colegio de Rio Hondo. Él está especialmente dedicado a ayudar a veteranos y familias necesitadas en Montebello, el este de Los Ángeles y Pico Rivera. Aunque aún joven, es un voluntario “de largo tiempo” con grupos como Heart of Compassion (Corazón de Compasión), Rotary, Lions y Kiwanis Clubs de Montebello.

Durante los últimos cuatros años, Jiménez también ha estado activo en el Programa Explorador del Departamento de Bomberos de Monterey Park, que es una combinación perfecta para su objetivo de convertirse en bombero.

Serbin y Jiménez fueron seleccionados para este reconocimiento por sus destacadas contribuciones a la comunidad, el miembro del Club Optimista Jaime Rodríguez le dijo a EGP.

Amigos y familiares de Serbin y Jiménez asistieron a la ceremonia del desayuno del sábado, orgullosos de tener en cuenta el impacto positivo que los dos jóvenes están haciendo en sus comunidades.

Man Accused of Killing Ex-Wife Pleads ‘Not Guilty’

July 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Pico Rivera man accused of fatally shooting his ex- wife and seriously injuring her boyfriend during a child custody exchange at her apartment in Whittier pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and attempted murder charges.

Efrem Ruben Lozoya, 38, faces up to 75 years to life in state prison if convicted of murdering Nereida Villanueva, 33, from whom he had been divorced for several years, and trying to kill her boyfriend, whose name was withheld.

He is due back in court Aug. 23 in Norwalk.

Lozoya — a contract employee at the Montebello jail — allegedly shot the victims about 11:10 a.m. July 1 after arriving to drop off one of his two children with his ex-wife at her apartment in the 13900 block of Coteau Drive. He turned himself in about 5 p.m. that day at a local police station.

Ex-Pico Rivera Businessman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Tax Fraud, Identity Theft

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A former Pico Rivera businessman was sentenced Monday to prison and home detention for carrying out a stolen identity refund-fraud scheme in which he conspired to use stolen identities to file phony tax returns that generated about $550,000 in unearned refunds.

Frank Ruben Candelaria, 55, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, which will include six months of home detention, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald to pay about $550,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the plea agreement filed in the case, beginning in December 2008 and continuing through September 2009, Candelaria and co-conspirator Edgar Rene Nunez, 62, caused at least 143 fraudulent income tax returns to be filed with the IRS.

As a result of fraudulent tax returns that sought well over $1 million in refunds, the IRS issued more than $550,000 in tax refund checks.

Prosecutors said Nunez and others obtained the names and Social Security numbers of individuals without their knowledge. The co-conspirators created bogus W-2 forms in the names of the identity theft victims that reported false employment and income information, as well as false tax withholding amounts, according to prosecutors.

Using the bogus information reported on the W-2 forms, fraudulent individual income tax returns were prepared and filed claiming false tax refunds without the knowledge or consent of the identity theft victims. The fraudulent tax refunds were then either mailed to addresses that Candelaria and Nunez, as well as others, controlled or directly deposited to bank accounts, prosecutors said.’

Candelaria pleaded guilty in November 2015 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of making false claims against the United States by filing fraudulent tax returns in his own name, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Candelaria also filed phony tax returns in his own name for the 2006 and 2007 tax years, claiming false refunds of $9,955 and $9,720, respectively, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Nunez was sentenced in September to four months behind bars after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims, nine counts of submitting false claims against the United States government, two counts of mail fraud and one count of identity theft.

Man Pleads No Contest in Stabbing Death of AAA Driver

December 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A 41-year-old man pleaded no contest Tuesday to fatally stabbing an AAA driver who was helping the defendant’s mother in Pico Rivera last year.

Tobias Ruben Cabrera is facing 15 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced Jan. 31 for the June 2, 2015 killing of Raymond Zabala, who was attacked in the 8400 block of Buhman Avenue after replacing the battery on the woman’s car.

Cabrera also admitted that he had a prior conviction for corporal injury with great bodily injury to a spouse/cohabitant/child’s parent in 2001, which will result in an additional five-year prison term.

Cabrera walked up to the 35-year-old AAA driver and asked what was going on before attacking him, then rode away on a bike after the stabbing, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities have not determined a motive for the attack.

Zabala went to a neighboring home to seek help, but died near the crime scene, authorities said.

Cabrera was arrested three days later by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. He has remained in jail since then.

Teen Arrested in Connection to Ex-Girlfriend’s Stabbing

August 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

PICO RIVERA – Authorities Tuesday arrested the ex-boyfriend of a 16-year-old girl who was fatally stabbed in her Pico Rivera home last Friday.

Rory Murga, 17, was taken into custody about 7:35 this morning in Pico Rivera and was booked on suspicion of murder in the death of Elena Moore, said Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Patrolling deputies spotted Murga under a railroad underpass at Rosemead Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, Navarro-Suarez said. He was taken to Pico Rivera Station for booking, and will be taken to a juvenile detention facility where he will be held without bail, she said.

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the public for the several tips received, which prompted deputies to search the surrounding Rosemead Boulevard and Slauson Avenue area,” Navarro-Suarez said.

On Friday about 3:15 a.m., deputies were dispatched to the victim’s home in the 9800 block of Shade Lane on a 911 call of a stabbing. She died at the scene.

“Detectives learned that the victim’s mother was suddenly (awakened) by her daughter’s screams that she had been stabbed as she staggered into her bedroom and collapsed,” Deputy Guillermina Saldana said.

“The victim was downstairs in her home when the suspect entered the residence through the back door,” Saldana said. “The stabbing occurred, and she ran upstairs to her mother’s bedroom.”

The suspect apparently entered the home through the back door, Saldana said.

“It is unknown if the suspect was allowed into the residence by the victim or if he forced his way in,” Saldana said.

Information from the girl’s mother pointed to the teen’s former boyfriend as the suspect, and sheriff’s investigators announced later that day that they were looking for Murga.

The pair broke up about two weeks before the killing, after dating for about a year, according to the sheriff’s department.

SoCalGas Opens Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station in Pico Rivera

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Southern California Gas Co. Wednesday marked the opening of a compressed natural gas station in Pico Rivera’s warehouse and distribution district.

The public station will help improve air quality by providing a more convenient location for CNG fueling and by helping to meet growing demand from commercial fleets for clean-burning and affordable fuel, according to SoCalGas.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Norwalk, whose congressional district includes Pico Rivera, said Southern California “is leading the nation’s clean energy revolution.”

“This new fueling station will improve public transportation for the region, grow our economy and help our community fight air pollution,” she said. “As a strong proponent of clean energy alternatives, I am excited to see more clean vehicles on our roads and freeways.”

The Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee provided $150,000 in funding to SoCalGas to help cover equipment, installation and other costs to build the CNG station, said Greg Pettis, chair of MSRC and mayor pro-tem of Cathedral City.

“This is the second SoCalGas station this year for which the MSRC has provided funding, so we are excited to help contribute to the continually expanding network of CNG fueling stations across the Southland,” Pettis said.

The station was designed for the needs of heavy-duty trucks, with wide driveways for easy turning, 16-foot-high canopies with LED lighting and robust compressors for quick, reliable fueling, according to SoCalGas.

Recognizing the ‘Best of Best’

December 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Every Sunday for the past year Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has recognized acts of kindness by an individual or positive impacts by a group in her district that often go unnoticed. Now, the assemblywoman will pay an extra tribute to the “best of the best” in the 58th District.
From a man who picks up trash along the riverbed to an environmental justice group fighting a toxic polluter, every week constituents in her east/southeast area district — encompassing the cities of Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk and Pico Rivera —vote online for the nominee to be recognized by Garcia’s #Pride58 Community Recognition Program.
“It was really important for us to tell our own story, not what was drawn out by the negative publicity in our area,” Garcia told EGP, referring to the corruption scandals in southeast communities that at times dominated news headlines.
The assemblywoman hopes to end the year honoring the community’s favorites. A special dinner gala will be held in mid January at the Bell Gardens Bicycle Casino Hotel to announce and recognize the #Pride58 “Best of the Best” award recipients.

The Commerce-based nonprofit East Yards Community For Environmental Justice is one of the recipients of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s #Pride58 award.  (Office of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia)

The Commerce-based nonprofit East Yards Community For Environmental Justice is one of the recipients of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s #Pride58 award. (Office of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia)

Constituents were allowed to vote once a day until Tuesday for a recipient in in each of the following categories: Helping Hand, Outstanding Community Impact Award, Leaders of Tomorrow, Honor Roll and Partner of Progress.
“We are looking to recognize the positive work being done in our community often behind the scene that is improving the lives and the conditions of our neighbors and fellow citizens,” Garcia said.
#Pride58 awardees in the running include Daisy Gomez, 25, of Montebello who opened an outlet store and often provided her extra sweaters and blankets to the homeless. Robert Lopez of Montebello was also honored earlier this year when he was nominated by a neighbor who saw Lopez walk along Bluff Road every Saturday picking up trash and mowing down weeds.
“I’ve lived on Bluff Road most of my life, and I can honestly say, Robert Lopez is the only person I have ever seen who cares enough about our neighborhood,” said his neighbor De Anne Susino.
Pastor Richard Jarman of TouchPoint Church was recognized for his work at the Bell Gardens faith-based council. Jarman has been providing food, clothing and beds for needy families and children in foster care. He also worked with the Southeast Community Development Corporation to coordinate and establish a computer lab at the church.
Commerce-based East Yards Communities for Environmental Justice, an organization that advocates for a safe and healthy environment was one group recognized earlier this year. EYCEJ brought environmental and air quality issues to the forefront in Commerce, Bell Gardens and the Eastside.
Mark Lopez, Director of EYCEJ, told EGP the award demonstrates the local assemblywoman is in in touch with what is happening on the ground. He considered the recognition an important part of relationship building and an invitation to work together, he added.
“A lot of times we don’t get recognized,” Lopez explained. “Corruption in the area will get attention but the good community building taking place often does not.”

Decomposed Body Found In Riverbed Near Montebello

October 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A decomposed body was found in a flood control channel frequneted by homeless people in Montebello, a police lieutenant said Saturday.

Officers were dispatched at 4:19 p.m. Saturday to the bed of the Rio Hondo channel, a block south of the Whittier Boulevard bridge on the Montebello- Pico Rivera city limits. Someone had discovered a dead person, said Lt. Ricardo Rojas of the Montebello Police Department.

Rojas said the area is frequented by transients and the homeless. Officers located the body of an unidentified adult on the embankment, he said.

The body as in advanced stages of decomposition and appeared to have been at the location for an extended period of time, Rojas told City News Service. Due to the current stage of decomposition, the cause of death, gender, and race were not known at first.

Montebello police detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the decomposed body to call them at (323) 887-1200, ext. 248.

Popular Beatles Festival Moving to Pico Rivera

June 11, 2015 by · 3 Comments 

If you like the Beatles, you will love the Tribute to the Beatles Festival 2015, coming to Pico Rivera’s Strawberry Fields in September.

“You can come and sing karaoke on stage, listen to great talent, learn more about the Beatles and watch some great live artists paint your favorite Beatles in action,” said Fred Zermeno, a 30 year photojournalist and organizer of the festival.

Zermeno said the Beatles Festival — scheduled for Sept. 26 — is a great event for the entire family, complete with live musical performances by tribute bands like “Britain’s Finest” and “Beatles Now,” with special guests Johnny Vatos, John Avila, Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo), Mike Albert (Megadeth), Shenkar, Bianca, Christina, Juliette, Steve Perkins, Billy Bob Thornton and many others.

Other festival highlights include displays of Beatle memorabilia, book signings, original Beatles photographs, and a kids zone for the younger set, not to mention a movie premier like screening of the ”Beatles” and photo ops with 10’x10’ Beatle photos, Zermeno said.

Zermeno, who describes the Beatles as his all time favorite group, said this year’s event is a follow up to past popular Beatle events at the Santa Monica Pier and the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Moving the festival to Pico Rivera’s 18-acre Strawberry Fields on Rooks Road,  gives organizers more room for exhibits, food booths and beer gardens.

The new location is also centrally located in Los Angeles County near the 60 and 605 freeways, making it more convenient for many Beatle’s fans, he said.

Zermeno said organizers are still accepting sponsors for the event. He said they have put together a package of promotional opportunities for companies to get their name and products in front of thousands of people, in a family-friendly and fun setting.

“People love the Beatles, they can’t get enough of them,” Zermano told EGP, explaining why people continue to flock to Beatle’s themed events.

All children under 10 years old are free. Tickets are on sale now at and


For more information on sponsorship opportunities, call (213) 219-1060 or email


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