Protester struck by SUV at Breonna Taylor demonstration In Hollywood

A protester in Hollywood was struck Thursday night by an SUV speeding by a crowd of marchers on the second night of protests related to the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers.

Shortly before 9 p.m., a black SUV sped by the crowd, striking a protester before speeding away again. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded and took one person to a hospital, according to the LAFD’s Nicholas Prange.

The protest began at 7 p.m. and by 7:30 p.m., at least 200 people were sitting and standing in the grass outside the entrance to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., in Hollywood.

Vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, and a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

Demonstrators chanted “Black lives they matter here” and vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, as a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

After the rally, demonstrators marched through Hollywood accompanied by multiple vehicles, some with signs that said “Defund. Abolish.” and “Defund police, invest in community.”

The first night of protests began around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Union Station with a march along downtown streets before returning to Union Station around 11 p.m.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker, was fatally shot in her apartment early on March 13 by officers executing a search warrant, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove were advised by superiors to knock and announce their presence in serving this specific search warrant, Cameron said.

Evidence from the Special Prosecution Unit’s investigation shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officers’ statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to Taylor’s apartment, Cameron said.

When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to the apartment, the decision was made to breach the door. After breaching the door, Mattingly was the first, and only officer, to enter the residence, Cameron said.

Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and female. In his statement, Mattingly said the male was holding a gun, arms extended, in a shooting stance, Cameron said.

Mattingly saw the man’s gun fire, heard a “boom,” and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh, Cameron said.

Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired the shot that hit Mattingly, Cameron said.

Walker admitted firing one shot and was the first to shoot, Cameron said.

Mattingly returned fire down the hallway, firing six shots. Almost simultaneously, Cosgrove, also in the doorway area, shot 16 times, all in a matter of seconds, Cameron said.

Hankison fired his weapon 10 times, including from outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, Cameron said.

Some bullets traveled through apartment four and into apartment three, before some exited that apartment. At the time, three residents of apartment three were at home, including a man, a pregnant woman and a child, Cameron said.

The investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force, after having been fired upon by Walker, Cameron said.

Kentucky State Police and FBI ballistics analysis reached different conclusions, creating a reasonable doubt in the evidence about who fired the fatal shot.

Hankison was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment, a Class D felony. Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged.

Hankison was fired by the LMPD on June 23, 2020

The warrant used to search Taylor’s apartment was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping when police raided her apartment and killed her,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, tweeted Thursday. “She deserves justice.

“Breonna — and all Black Americans — deserve a system of policing that prioritizes justice and dignity over fear and bigotry, so a tragedy like this never happens again.”

Taylor’s family received a $12 million settlement payment from Louisville.

“I am completely mortified that our criminal justice system has failed Breonna Taylor, her family and friends, and frankly, it has failed our country,” said Black Lives Matter founder and Executive Director Patrisse Cullors, who is based in Los Angeles.

“We are going to continue the work that we have started in the name of Breonna Taylor and countless Black lives cut short at the hands of police brutality, systemic racism and white supremacy.

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Suspected Southern California drug traffickers charged, arrested in operations targeting ‘darknet’ sales

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials announced a crackdown Tuesday on an alleged Los Angeles-based drug trafficking ring that they said distributed methamphetamine and other narcotics to thousands of customers in at least 35 states and numerous countries around the world via hidden darknet websites.

Prosecutors said the organization used online names such as “Stealthgod” to sell meth and MDMA — known as ecstasy or molly — on multiple darknet marketplaces. Investigators alleged the crew has been linked to more than 18,000 illicit drug sales to buyers throughout the globe.

An alleged meth trafficker who was a key supplier to the organization is being sought after being charged last week in Los Angeles federal court. Earlier this year, five other alleged members of the narcotics ring were arrested on federal charges, and authorities made substantial seizures of narcotics and cryptocurrency during the probe, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“These online black market websites use a variety of technologies, including the Tor network and other encryption technologies, to ensure that communications and transactions are shielded from interception and monitoring,” according to court documents filed last week in Los Angeles. “A famous dark web marketplace, Wall Street Market, operated similar to legitimate commercial websites such as Amazon and eBay, but offered illicit goods and services in exchange for virtual currencies, such as bitcoin.”

During an operation earlier this year, members of Los Angeles Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement — JCODE — executed search warrants that led to the seizure of more than 60 parcels containing narcotics that were ready to be shipped across the country, prosecutors said.

Andres Bermudez of Palmdale, 37, who allegedly was the key supplier of meth to the crew, is currently a fugitive being sought by federal authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During takedowns in Los Angeles in February, members of JCODE arrested five defendants allegedly at the center of the “Stealthgod” organization and seized about 120 pounds of meth, seven kilograms of ecstasy, and five firearms.

The five defendants arrested on federal charges are:

–Teresa McGrath, 34, of Sunland-Tujunga, who allegedly delivered dozens of narcotics-laden packages to a post office in Sunland;–Rane Melkom, 35, of Sunland-Tujunga, who shared a residence with McGrath where authorities allegedly seized more than 50 pounds of meth, nearly 15 pounds of ecstasy, about 30,000 Adderall pills, cash, and three loaded handguns;–Mark Chavez, 41, of downtown Los Angeles, whose bedroom allegedly yielded nearly 40 pounds of methamphetamine and two handguns during a search in February;–Matthew Ick, 51, of downtown Los Angeles, who is linked in court papers to a narcotics shipment to the organization; and–Thomas Olayvar, 43, of downtown Los Angeles, who allegedly was involved in the shipment of narcotics through the United States Postal Service.

McGrath has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and MDMA, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and cryptocurrency money laundering, admitting that over the course of about six months she received $161,916 in bitcoin and helped disburse this money to her co-conspirators, prosecutors said.

Chavez has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute meth and ecstasy, as well as possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

McGrath and Chavez are scheduled to be sentenced next year, when each will face up to 15 years in federal prison.

Melkom, Ick, and Olayvar face various narcotics charges and are scheduled to go on trial next year in downtown Los Angeles.

In addition to the Stealthgod cases, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed cases against other alleged darknet narcotics traffickers and those who help them convert bitcoin into gold or similar currencies. For example:

Kais Mohammad, 36, of Yorba Linda, was scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to federal charges stemming from the operation of 17 bitcoin kiosks across Southern California. In his plea agreement, Mohammad admitted that he knew that at least one of his clients was engaged in illicit activity on the dark web.

Earlier this year, three people linked to the online moniker “Aeirla” were sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to distribute meth and cocaine to customers who negotiated transactions on the darkweb. Those defendants are:

–Anh Pham, 49, of Hawaiian Gardens, who was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison;–Joseph Michael Gifford, 43, of La Crescenta, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment; and–Carlos Miguel Gallardo, 60, of Hawaiian Gardens, who was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison.

Pham sold pound quantities of meth on the darknet, while Gifford and Gallardo packaged them in toys — a beach ball, and boxes of Christmas cards and chocolates — and shipped them to customers nationwide.

Five defendants are scheduled to be tried in October 2021 in Los Angeles on various narcotics trafficking charges that allege they used the monikers “Drugpharmacist” and “RickandMortyShop” to sell cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine on Wall Street Market and another darknet marketplace called Dream.

Members of the conspiracy allegedly shipped narcotics in small vials concealed inside stuffed animals. The defendants scheduled to go on trial are: Jerrell Eugene Anderson, 30, of Inglewood; Christopher Canion Van Holton, 33, of Valencia; Adan Sepulveda, 28, of Lancaster; Kenneth Lashawn Hadley, 33, of Lancaster; and Jackie Walter Burns, 22, of Lancaster.

Anderson and Sepulveda face a charge of distribution of heroin resulting in death in relation to a shipment of heroin to a customer in Knoxville, Tennessee, who suffered a fatal overdose.

Kunal Kalra, 26, of Westwood, was sentenced in March to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal narcotics and anti-money laundering charges related to his unlicensed money transmitting business that he used to exchange virtual currency for cash for darknet vendors. Prosecutors said this was the first federal case in the nation charging an unlicensed money remitting business that used a bitcoin kiosk.

A father and his son who distributed meth on the darknet using monikers such “Quartersandup” and “Colsandersdream” were sentenced to federal prison last year. William Glarner III, 65, of Huntington Beach, was convicted at trial and sentenced to 15 years. His son, William Glarner IV, 35, of Irvine, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years.

Tyler Reeves, a 30-year-old Irvine man who sold narcotics on the now-defunct Wall Street Market darknet site, was sentenced last year to 10 years in federal prison.

“Through the outstanding efforts of the JCODE Task Force, we have been able to unmask those hiding on the darknet, bringing to justice a wide array of criminals, including those operating online marketplaces, laundering cryptocurrency, and spreading drugs around the world,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. “My prosecutors and their JCODE partners will continue to rein in illegal dark web activities by disrupting other traffickers and those who help them access their illicit cryptocurrency.”

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Anaheim man arrested after Placentia fire linked to marijuana honey oil operation

PLACENTIA — A 41-year-old Anaheim man was booked Wednesday on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance stemming from a blaze at a marijuana honey oil operation in Placentia, police said.

David Hoffman was found in front of a business that caught fire in the 700 block of Dunn Way about 8:40 a.m., Placentia police said.

Police said he told first responders there was a marijuana honey oil operation in the burning building and that there were several flammable chemicals on the premises, leading firefighters to evacuate workers in the Dunn Way Business Park as well as businesses on the 700 block of Orangethorpe Avenue.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone with information helpful to investigators was asked to call police at 714-993-8146. Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at 855-TIP-OCCS.

Marijuana concentrates are a highly potent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated mass that is similar in appearance to honey or butter, which is why it is sometimes referred to or known on the street as “honey oil” or “budder,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s also known as “butane hash oil.” One method of manufacturing concentrates uses highly flammable butane to extract the THC from the cannabis plant.

The Register contributed to this story.

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2 slain in Anaheim; suspect is believed to have killed himself in Santa Barbara County

ANAHEIM — Anaheim detectives investigating a double homicide Sunday found the suspect in Santa Barbara County dead from an apparent suicide.

It started about 6:15 a.m. when officers were called to an apartment in the 1800 block of South Haster Street on a report that two people had been shot, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Shane Carringer.

“Officers arrived on scene and located the bodies of 47-year-old, Maria Ernestina Ramirez of Anaheim, and 40-year-old Efrain Hernandez-Ramirez of Placentia,” Carringer said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims had the same last name but their relationship was not immediately explained.

“Homicide detectives quickly identified Jorge Pino, a 57-year-old resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, as a suspect in the murders,” he said. “Jorge Pino and Maria Ernestina Ramirez were in a long-term dating relationship which had recently ended.”

Detectives were preparing an arrest warrant for Pino at about 10:30 a.m. when Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies discovered Pino’s body in the Gaviota area, Carringer said. “Pino suffered what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “

Anyone who had contact with Pino or has other information was asked to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.

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