On Friday October 22nd, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and Escondido Police concluded a large scale undercover investigation that resulted in 14 arrests.
The arrests follow a six month investigation involving the sale of illegal drugs including methamphetamines, cocaine, illegal prescription drugs and high-grade marijuana. The sales occurred inside the premises of the following locations:
Pounders, 125 West Grand Avenue
El Rodeo Bar, 425 North Rose Street
Thee Spot, 945 West Valley Parkway
Club Anitas, 1320 East Valley Parkway
Senor Taquito, 1620 East Valley Parkway
Escondido Sports Pub, 1205 South Escondido Boulevard
Woodies, 717 North Escondido Boulevard
ABC and the Escondido Police Department arrested the following individuals:
48 year-old patron, Lura Gentry Banks, a resident of Escondido
28 year-old bouncer/doorman, Jerome Wayne Peter Benvento, a resident of Carlsbad
38 year-old bouncer/doorman, Albert Juan Ornelas, a resident of Escondido
25 year-old, Alicia Lopez, a resident of Escondido
28 year-old, Mireya Lopez, a resident of Escondido
19 year-old bartender, Yesenia Perez, a resident of Escondido
23 year-old bartender, Elvia Rosario Sanchez-Rios, a resident of Escondido
30 year-old bartender/server, Shameka Jeannetta Johnson, a resident of Vista
30 year-old bouncer, Marcus Boshawn Cotton, a resident of Escondido
41 year-old, bartender, Thomas Curtis Lanham, a resident of Escondido
The names of the other four arrested were not available at the time of this release.
During the investigation, ABC undercover investigators were able to make a total of 32 separate purchases of methamphetamine, cocaine, illegal prescription drugs, and high-grade marijuana from employees and patrons on several different occasions.
Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said, “The City of Escondido would like to thank all the men and women that worked on this case for the last several months. This has been an in depth investigation, and should send a clear message to all Escondido ABC establishments. Escondido Police Department will continue to hold the local bars accountable in order to assure they stay compliant with all laws”.
In addition to the criminal charges, ABC will pursue administrative disciplinary action against each of the seven locations where employees were involved in illegal drug sales. Penalties range from suspension to revocation of the ABC licenses.
ABC and the Escondido Police Department initiated the investigation due to anonymous tips and reports of illegal drug sales. ABC investigators went undercover multiple times to develop the information that led to the arrests.
This investigation is ongoing and could result in further arrests.
Serious Injury Accident in Carlsbad
A serious injury traffic collision in the 4900 block of El Camino Real caused the closure of northbound and southbound traffic between Kelly Drive and Cannon Road in the City of Carlsbad at about 4:45pm on Tuesday, October 19th.
One of the drivers, 61 year-old Herve Henri Masse, was driving a full-size GMC van south on El Camino Real in the #1 lane and lost control of his vehicle. Masse traveled across the two-way left turn lane in the center of the road into the oncoming traffic lanes.
The second driver, 24 year-old Kyle Allen Cobian, was driving north in the #1 lane in a Nissan Frontier. The third driver, 39 year-old Allison Fae Allen, was also driving north on El Camino Real in the #2 lane in a Toyota FJ Cruiser behind Cobian.
Masse’s van collided with Cobian’s truck. Allen’s vehicle then also collided with Cobian’s truck as Allen was unable to avoid their collision.
Masse was ejected from his van during the collision. He sustained serious internal injuries and was transported via helicopter to Sharp Hospital. Cobian received moderate injuries and was transported by ambulance to Palomar Hospital. Allen was not injured.
The cause of the collision is being investigated by the Carlsbad Police Department Traffic Division. Alcohol and/or drug involvement is unknown at this time.
Escondido DUI Nets Five DUI Arrests: Protestors Interfere With Law Enforcement
On Saturday, October 23rd, the Escondido Police Department conducted a DUI Sobriety / Drivers License Checkpoint at El Norte Parkway and Ash Street, from 6:00 PM until 12:00 AM. The emphasis of this checkpoint was to detect intoxicated and unlicensed drivers as well as to provide a highly visible operation to deter driving under the influence and distracted driving.
Protesters waved signs at motorists and attempted to divert them from the checkpoint ahead. One driver suddenly veered into a driveway after passing the protesters’ signage, but was stopped for not displaying a front license plate. He admitted he did not know anyone at the house and was trying to avoid going into the checkpoint. That driver was arrested for DUI.
Another driver made an illegal U turn across the cone pattern and was later arrested for DUI. Eight other drivers were cited for a variety of violations that occurred between the demonstrators and the entry to the checkpoint. The violations included tinted windows, no license plate lights, and turning violations. Two of those individuals were also cited for driving with suspended licenses.
Other results from this checkpoint included:
1,593 vehicles entered the checkpoint
1,450 vehicles were screened in primary
47 vehicles sent to secondary (drivers who could not produce a drivers license or who were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
9 field sobriety tests were administered
5 drivers were arrested for DUI, including the two mentioned earlier. One of those was also charged with possession of fraudulent documents.
1 person was cited and released for possession of marijuana. 1 person was arrested for being drunk in public.
15 vehicles were impounded at this checkpoint, 6 drivers did not have auto insurance, 3 drivers had a suspended drivers license and 12 drivers did not have a drivers license
21 citations were issued at this checkpoint
2 Child Restraint Seats were correctly reinstalled for parents free of charge.
Doug Best Feted for 85th Birthday
Star of stage, screen, and television, Cloris Leachman, personally congratulated North County broadcaster, Doug Best, in celebration of his 85th birthday.
Best and his wife, Lorene, joined a number of well-wishers at Welk’s Resort Theatre last Sunday for a reception, then to view the One Woman Show by Ms. Leachman. Before the show, Escondido Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, presented Doug with a Proclamation from the City of Escondido, in recognition of his service to the community and to music.
Following the show, Ms. Leachman met Doug and Lorene and many other guests.
Escondido Said to Be Hub For Illegal Alien Smugglers
Reliably informed sources from within ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the Border Patrol, tell The Paper that Escondido is a crucial hub on the I-15 corridor for cartel transshipments of drugs and people heading north from the border to all points north of San Diego County (much like Tucson in Southern Arizona).
Escondido is said to be the last major city before the smugglers and/or illegal immigrants get past the Temecula checkpoint and are home free in the interior.
They must have a strong presence in Escondido, officials say, to continue to use the area to stage their smuggling activities. According to these same sources, Escondido is a critical city geographically for the drug cartels and mafia.
Oceanside is also a major thoroughfare for the smuggling of drugs and people north; there, the object is to house illegal immigrants and smugglers in safe houses until they can get past the San Clemente checkpoint.
Vista City Council Candidate May Lose Endorsements
Mario Castillo, may well lose endorsements after it was disclosed that his Bachelor’s and Masters degrees were products of a notorious ‘diploma mill.’ The North County Times and Deputy Sheriff’s Association may reverse their endorseement after further study of the issue, spokesmen said.