Man detained after Lake Forest hotel is evacuated and explosive devices are found

Explosive devices and substances were found in a room in a Lake Forest hotel, which was evacuated Tuesday night, officials said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on social media the devices and substances were rendered safe and the hotel on Orchard Road would reopen. The OCSD Bomb Squad and an Orange County Fire Authority hazardous materials team had assessed and dealt with the devices and substances.

The OCSD Bomb Squad made entry to the room and discovered multiple homemade illegal explosive devices, along with illegal explosive substances. With the assistance of the Hazmat Team, the devices and substances were collected and rendered safe. pic.twitter.com/zq0Cu2Tpj2

— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) July 15, 2020

A man was detained and authorities planned to book him on suspicion of multiple felonies, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The man’s identity wasn’t immediately released and it was not immediately known why he allegedly had the devices and substances.

 

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Homeland Security brings armored vehicle to Santa Ana in a firearms case, congressman alarmed

Department of Homeland Security agents came to Santa Ana on Wednesday with an armored vehicle to serve a search warrant, and were not conducting activities related to immigration enforcement, officials said.

Congressman Lou Correa, a Santa Ana Democrat, said on social media “this incident is very concerning and alarming to me.” Correa added, “My office and I are investigating this incident.”

Earlier today, DHS’s Homeland Security Investigations unit conducted an operation in our community. My office and I are investigating this incident. pic.twitter.com/sDxSGGXP6I

— Rep. Lou Correa (@RepLouCorrea) June 25, 2020

The incident took place at the 1300 block of Center Dr., Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. It was conducted by a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) response team, which is a branch of the DHS but is not affiliated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said. They came to Santa Ana serve a warrant regarding a firearms-related investigation.

“HSI is the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and is a vital U.S. asset in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting America’s travel, trade, financial and immigration systems,” Haley said in an email. “As with other law enforcement agencies whose mission is to protect public safety, specially trained SRT (Special Response Team) agents may be deployed in high-risk situations or under hazardous conditions.”

The agency investigates a broad range of crimes including weapons and gun smuggling, human trafficking, transnational gang activity, international theft. HSI also works on immigration fraud, but that was not the focus of its operation in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Haley said.

She declined specify what agents had been searching for, if anything had been seized or if anyone had been detained, citing an ongoing investigation.

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Anaheim restaurant worker freed after her hand is caught in a food grinder

Paramedics rescued a woman after her hand became trapped in a food processor while she was working at a restaurant in Anaheim on Tuesday, May 19.

An employee of Pupseria Comalapa #2 at 1781 W. Lincoln Ave. was feeding produce into a grinder when her right hand got caught in the apparatus at about 6 p.m., Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said. Alert coworkers quickly shut down the machine after learning what had happened and called for medical aid.

“The had to give her some medication when they got there, because she was obviously in a lot of pain,” Carringer said.

A team from Anaheim Fire & Rescue had to unbolt a portion of the food processor so they could free the patient and take her to UCI Medical Center, Carringer said. The machine’s hopper could still be seen wrapped around her forearm as she was wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance at about 6:32 p.m.

However, she was expected to survive and her injuries were described as minor by paramedics.

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Anaheim restaurant worker freed after her hand is caught in a food grinder

Paramedics rescued a woman after her hand became trapped in a food processor while she was working at a restaurant in Anaheim on Tuesday, May 19.

An employee of Pupseria Comalapa #2 at 1781 W. Lincoln Ave. was feeding produce into a grinder when her right hand got caught in the apparatus at about 6 p.m., Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said. Alert coworkers quickly shut down the machine after learning what had happened and called for medical aid.

“The had to give her some medication when they got there, because she was obviously in a lot of pain,” Carringer said.

A team from Anaheim Fire & Rescue had to unbolt a portion of the food processor so they could free the patient and take her to UCI Medical Center, Carringer said. The machine’s hopper could still be seen wrapped around her forearm as she was wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance at about 6:32 p.m.

However, she was expected to survive and her injuries were described as minor by paramedics.

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Judge orders O.C. company to stop selling unapproved hand sanitizer products, FDA warns competitor

A judge ordered a Lake Forest hand sanitizer company to stop claiming its products can protect against specific diseases without federal approval after the owners of Purell filed a complaint, but he also slammed the multi-national brand for similar conduct during a trial that ended Monday, May  4.

Innovative BioDefense Inc. (IBD), the firm’s CEO Colette Cozean and distributor Hotan Barough must cease the sale of the company’s “Zylast” line of products until they remove statements from packaging that they can prevent infection by certain pathogens. They were marketed as effective against the flu, Ebola, norovirus and a host of other contagions, but those statements had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, officials from the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday in a news release.

“We are happy to comply with Judge Carter’s order,” attorney for IBD, Kirby Behre said of the decision handed down by U.S. District Judge David Carter of the Central District of California . “And we appreciate the care and attention he gave to our concerns.”

The Zylast product line includes Zylast Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial Antiseptic, Zylast XP (Extended Protection) Antiseptic Lotion and Zylast XP Antiseptic Foaming Soap, government attorneys said. Those were sold directly to customers through the internet. Zylast and competing brands were marketed as disinfectants consisting of at least 70 percent alcohol.

Representatives for Purrell maker Gojo filed a complaint against IBD alleging that the Orange County  company violated the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, according to court documents. The makers of Zylast were then sued by the Justice Department in 2018 on behalf of the FDA.

“American consumers rely on the FDA to ensure that their drugs are safe and effective,” Stacy Amin, chief counsel for the FDA, said in a statement. “Products with fraudulent claims to prevent or treat serious or life-threatening diseases puts consumers health at risk.”

Attorneys for the government said during their closing arguments on March 2 that IBD’s “false promises of protection could hurt someone.” Carter agreed. However, he went on to acknowledge that advertising and packaging for Gojo’s products made practically identical claims and were also not vetted by the FDA.

“You’ve got an  800-pound gorilla called ‘Purell’ that has a small competitor, a small niche,” Carter said during the trial. “And Purell makes these allegations. Wouldn’t we kind of worry about a monopoly here?”

Carter also suggested that the larger company, Gojo, had the capacity to distribute false advertising to far more people than IBD, thereby causing harm on a much wider scale than the lesser-known Orange County sanitizer maker. He went on to say that the FDA’s “disparity in enforcement creates a perception of favoritism,” while ruling in favor of the government’s case and ordering an injunction against the manufacturers and distributors of Zylast.

“He exposed Purell’s misconduct in trying to put a small business out of business,” Behre said of Carter’s decision. “Now everyone, big and small, can compete fairly.”

The FDA issued a warning letter to Gojo instructing the company to remove disease specific claims from its advertising on Jan.17. The company was voluntarily working to comply, U.S. attorneys said during trial in March.

 

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Two employees test positive for coronavirus at state prison in Chino

Two employees at the California Institution for Men, a state prison in Chino, tested positive for the coronavirus, state prison officials said Saturday.

The pair, along with one employee at California State Prison, Sacramento, are the first known confirmed cases among state prison employees.

The announcement of the confirmed cases, which was detailed in a brief statement on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website, also included mention of a San Quentin State Prison employee previously reported to have tested positive, but ultimately was a negative case.

Officials also said that any inmates arriving at a prison’s Reception Center from county jail will be quarantined for 14 days. There are no known confirmed cases among CDCR’s inmate population of more than 123,000.

The statement did not mention what jobs the employees held at the Chino prison or whether the employees came in contact with the prison’s population.

Throughout the past several weeks, CDCR has made sweeping changes throughout its prison system to address the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 12, officials announced they would cancel all visitations to state prisons to prevent the spread of the disease to its inmate population and employees.

“CDCR recognizes the value of visitation in maintaining important connections with family,” spokesperson Dana Simas wrote in a news release. “However, at this time the Department must do all it can to protect the health of those who live in, work in, and visit state institutions. This measure is taken as part of CDCR’s comprehensive enhanced precautions related to COVID-19.”

The visit ban was followed by the suspension of rehabilitation programs, postponement of parole hearings until March 30, and halting all out-of-state transfers for 30 days, which officials announced on Tuesday.

Spread of the potentially lethal coronavirus among state inmate populations, who are largely housed in overcrowded facilities, has been a concern for civil rights activist groups.

In a letter sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office on March 13, a coalition of advocate groups listed seven demands to protect state prison inmates from COVID-19.

Among their demands was the release of all medically fragile adults and adults over the age of 60 and the release of all people who have an anticipated release dates in 2020 and 2021 to parole supervision.

The letter was cosigned by groups such as Justice Collaborative, American Civil Liberties Union, California Public Defender’s Association and Los Angeles County Public Defenders.

“This overcrowding and unsanitary conditions will contribute to the spread of COVID-19 within California’s prison system,” the letter said. “Moreover, it threatens the public at large, as thousands of individuals and correctional, medical, and other staff interact with the incarcerated population and return to their communities.”

The prison in Chino is among many state prisons that have struggled with overcrowding in recent decades.

The facility was designed to house 2,976 inmates, according to a weekly population report released by CDCR. Currently, the Chino prison houses 3,537 inmates, 118.9 percent of its capacity, the report said.

In San Bernardino County there have been 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday evening. Riverside County had 30 cases as of Saturday night.

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The spill of 4 million gallons of raw sewage prompts closure of South O.C. ocean and bay areas

NEWPORT BEACH — A spill of about four million gallons of raw sewage led the Orange County Health Care Agency to declare off-limits the ocean and bay areas from Pelican Point at Crystal Cove in Newport Beach to the Poche Beach interface in Dana Point and San Clemente on Wednesday.

The agency did not reveal when, where and how the spill occurred but Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said the affected ocean and bay water areas will be closed to water-contact sports until follow-up water quality monitoring reveals they meet acceptable standards.

“I want to stress the importance of avoiding contact with ocean water in the affected areas due to the danger of exposure to untreated sewage, which can be harmful and result in very serious illness with potentially severe effects,” Quick said.

Any residents or visitors who smell the odor of sewage in the affected areas can file a complaint through the South Coast Air Quality Management District at 800-CUT-SMOG (800-288-7664).

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Person found dead in Orange; his identity, cause of death under investigation

Coroner’s officials opened an investigation to learn the identity of a person found dead in Orange on Monday, Oct. 7, and how he died.

The person who died was male, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said.

A passerby discovered the his body along Serrano Avenue, west of Kendra Loop, and called authorities at about 3:43 p.m., Amat said. He appeared to have died within the past few days.

Officers did not find evidence of foul play, but could not rule out any cause of death as of Monday evening. Police were not searching for any suspect, and did not believe there was any lingering threat to nearby residents as of 9 p.m.

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Suspect arrested after Huntington Beach vandalism spree, ax recovered

An ax-wielding suspect was arrested following a vandalism rampage in Huntington Beach on Monday, Sept. 23.

The suspect allegedly used the ax to vandalize multiple cars and homes along Bushard Street and Adams Avenue, police said. He allegedly slashed several tires, smashed holes into car windows and broke residents’ porch lights.

Officers responded at 11:14 a.m., and detained the suspect without incident, police said. Authorities later recovered an ax in the area of the vandalism.

The suspect was booked into the Huntington Beach Police Department’s jail. His name was not immediately released.

Anyone with property damage was encouraged to call 714-960-8811.

Staff writer Eric Licas contributed to this story.

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Man pleads guilty to taking unauthorized ‘upskirt’ photos of a woman at Irvine car wash, is sentenced to community service

NEWPORT BEACH — A 45-year-old Portola Hills man pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking upskirt photos of a woman at an Irvine car wash and was immediately sentenced to perform 80 hours of community service.


Nathan Martin Haley, 45, of Portola Hills, was charged March 20 with a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed recording device to photograph a woman without her consent. (Photo courtesy of the Irvine Police Department)

Nathan Martin Haley pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed recording device to photograph a woman without her consent. He was placed on three years of informal probation and ordered to take 10 sexual boundary classes, his attorney Brian Gurwitz said.

The woman called Irvine police on July 31, 2018, alleging that a suspect used his phone to take pictures of her under her skirt at a car wash at 3080 Main St., according to Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department.

She said the man pretended to drop his phone under her dress; she further reported that he attempted again to place his phone on the ground near her as she vacuumed her car, Mohr said.

The woman took a picture of the suspect’s blue Mini Cooper as he drove away and, with the car’s license plate, police identified Haley as a suspect, Mohr said.

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