Press Releases

Two Associates of Nuestra Familia Prison Gang Plead Guilty to Federal RICO Conspiracy

Release Date/Time: 11/13/2019 12:46 PM
Incident:Two Associates of Nuestra Familia Prison Gang Plead Guilty to Federal RICO Conspiracy
Date: Tuesday, 11/12/2019
Location: City of Salinas

                                                                                                 Two Associates of Nuestra Familia Prison Gang Plead Guilty to Federal RICO Conspiracy

Conspirators Admit Their Respective Roles in Violent Crimes in Monterey County Jail to Maintain Discipline of Gang Members and Punish Transgressions of Gang Rules

SAN JOSE- Michael Rice, a/k/a Redwood, and Alberto Moreno, a/k/a Doughboy, pleaded guilty today to racketeering conspiracy charge for their respective roles as associates of  the Nuestra Familia prison gang, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  The guilty pleas were accepted by the Honorable Beth L. Freeman, United States District Judge.

'Defendants Rice and Moreno conspired and racketeered while in county jail to punish gang members who did not follow gang rules,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson.  'Their conduct underscores the risks of depending on county jails to deter and punish serious criminal offenders.  I hope and trust that a federal sentence will send a stronger message to these and other would-be offenders.”

'Michael Rice and Alberto Moreno have admitted today to participating in brutally violent attacks and other crimes to further the control and criminal activities of the Nuestra Familia prison gang,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bennett.  'The FBI would like to thank our Monterey County law enforcement partners for working with us to identify, stop, and prosecute this organized violence.”

According to the plea agreements, between December 2, 2012, and April 14, 2014, both defendants were members of the Nuestra Familia/Salinas Norteños Enterprise.  The Enterprise consisted of members and associates of the Nuestra Familia prison gang as well as Norteño street gangs in Salinas, Calif., and the surrounding areas.  Members and associates of the Enterprise agreed to commit crimes such as murder, narcotics trafficking, and other acts of violence through a pattern of racketeering activity.  Norteño gang members pledge their allegiance and loyalty to Nuestra Familia and are instructed on its rules, rituals, and obligations.  Gang rules and discipline are maintained by assaulting and threatening those individuals who violate the rules or pose a threat to the organization; inside prisons and local jails, all members and associates of Nuestra Familia and Norteños work together to maintain the structure and follow the rules of the Enterprise.

In their plea agreements, Rice, 35, and Moreno, 26, admit to participating in the distribution of narcotics to other inmates at Monterey County Jail.  Also, the plea agreements describe the roles of the defendants in 'removals” as a means of violently enforcing the most important of the gang's rules while they were in the jail.  The term 'removal” refers to a violent attack designed to remove (from both the custodial housing unit and the gang itself) a member of the gang who committed a serious violation of the gang's rules.  A removal is accomplished by having one or more 'hitters” stab the victim and then having at least two 'bombers” assault the target by punching and kicking the victim without weapons.  The purpose of the subsequent beating is to inflict upon the victim maximum damage while giving the hitters time to wash themselves and get rid of weapons.  Rice admitted that in February of 2013, he was the prison gang's 'Overall Authority” in one of Monterey County Jail's housing units and he consented to the removal of a gang prisoner who committed a serious violation of gang rules.  The victim was stabbed in the head by a hitter and immediately thereafter was punched and kicked by several bombers.  Rice further admitted that he approved the removal of another victim who was assaulted on April 29, 2013.  On that day, the victim was stabbed in the head by the hitter and then punched and kicked by several bombers.  Moreno admitted that he participated as a bomber in the April 29, 2013, attack.  

On September 27, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Rice, Moreno and several other defendants with racketeering conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d).  Both Rice and Moreno also were charged with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5), and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(6).  Both defendants pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy charge, wherein they admitted that murder was an object of the conspiracy.  If they comply with their plea agreements, the additional charges will be dismissed at sentencing.

Judge Freeman scheduled defendant Moreno's sentencing for January 7, 2020, and defendant Rice's sentencing for March 3, 2020.  The defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  Pursuant to their plea agreements, defendant Rice has agreed to a sentence of 13 years and defendant Moreno has agreed to a sentence of seven years, both subject to final approval by the Court at their respective sentencings.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Claudia A. Quiroz and Stephen Meyer are prosecuting the case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI with assistance from the Salinas Police Department, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  

Press Release was issued and authorized by the United States Attorney's Office on Tuesday ,November 12, 2019.

Release Authorized by: Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Shooting - Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 11/13/2019 9:49 AM
Incident: Shooting - Attempted Murder
Date: Tuesday, 11/12/2019
Time: 9:36 PM
Location: 600 Block of Yreka Drive

Victim of a shooting at 600 block of Yreka Drive.

Officers responded to a call of a shooting on the 600 block of Yreka Drive. While en route, the call was updated to a victim of a shooting. Officers arrived and found a 40-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the body. The suspects fled the area in a charcoal colored Dodge Charger. A witness was able to provide dispatch a partial license plate.

The vehicle was spotted in North Salinas and a vehicle pursuit began. The pursuit went through North and South Salinas at speeds in excess of 90mph. The suspects lost control of the vehicle while making a turn from Blanco to San Juan Drive. The Charger collided with a parked car, and the suspects immediately ran from the vehicle with officers in foot pursuit. Rafael Arteaga (21) was captured immediately at the location of the vehicle. He was found to be wearing body armor. Officers located a AR-15 rifle with a 30 round magazine, a Glock 9mm handgun with an extended magazine, and a large amount of marijuana inside the vehicle. Carlos Chavez (19) was caught by officers on La Mesa Drive and taken into custody.  Jaime Pena (25) was tased by an officer and taken into custody, he was armed with a loaded 40 cal. handgun.

The 40-year-old victim was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

This investigation is on-going, anyone with information please call Detective Derek Gibson at (831)758-7442, or email him at : [email protected]

Call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.

 

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831)758-7350

Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Lewd Acts on Minor

Release Date/Time: 11/7/2019 11:29 AM
Incident:Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Lewd Acts on Minor
Date: Wednesday, 11/6/2019
Time: 1:30 PM
Location: 0-100 Block W. Market St.

On 11/5/19, officers began investigating a possible kidnapping and robbery case. The 14-year-old male victim reported he had met the suspect, later identified as Ramon Santos Velasco (23), on social media and they had been corresponding on social media for approximately one month. The investigation revealed that on 11/4/19 Velasco drove to the victim's home and offered him a ride to school. The victim reluctantly entered Velasco's vehicle. Velasco drove with the victim past his school and then drove to the county area.The victim told Velasco to take him back to school but when the victim realized they were going in a different direction; he exited the vehicle and ran away. The victim was eventually able to contact relatives who called the police.

During the investigation, it was revealed Velasco had also demanded money from the victim at knifepoint and Velasco had also touched the victim's genital area over his clothing. The victim was able to provide detailed suspect and vehicle description to officers.

On 11-6-19, at approximately 1:30 pm officers observed the suspect vehicle driving in the 0-100 block of W. Market St and conducted a traffic stop. Velasco was identified as the driver and suspect. He was taken into custody without incident. Velasco was transported to the county jail where he was booked on Kidnapping, Armed Robbery and Lewd Acts on a Minor charges.

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Automated Red-Light Camera Program is Here

Release Date/Time: 10/31/2019 8:54 AM
Incident:     Automated Red-Light Camera Program is Here.
Date: Friday, 11/1/2019
Location: City of Salinas

                                                                                                                   Automated Red-Light Camera Program is Here.

Salinas Police Department would like to announce that the Automated Red-Light Camera Enforcement Program is ready and will begin issuing warning notices November 1, 2019. This program is designed to improve public safety through increased enforcement of red-light violations and increased public awareness of the dangers of running red lights.

November 1, 2019, the 30-day warning period begins. Warning notices will be issued for approximately thirty days. The projected date for the Automated Red-Light Camera Program to begin issuing citations is early December. For more information refer to the attached brochure.

The program is funded by money paid by red light violators and at no cost to the city. It is projected that the program will earn just enough to pay for the operation of the equipment, and the processing of the citations. It is anticipated that the City will generate little or no income from the program.

Release Authorized by: Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Homicide

Release Date/Time: 11/8/2019 11:02 AM
Incident: Homicide
Date: Saturday, 10/26/2019
Time: 7:45 PM
Location: 1100 Block of John Street

On October 26, 2019, at approximately 7:45 pm, officers responded to the 1100 block of John Street for a report of a male being beaten by multiple subjects.  When officers arrived, they found 47-year-old Ventura Guzman Urias unconscious, with significant facial injuries.  Mr. Urias was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Medical staff worked diligently, but unfortunately on October 31, 2019, he died from his injuries. 

Detectives were able to determine Mr. Urias was followed by three males in hooded sweatshirts and blue jeans, possibly in their early 20's.  Eventually, the three males assaulted Mr. Urias and robbed him of his property.  The three suspects then ran westbound on John Street and entered a black BMW 3-Series with tinted windows.  The vehicle appeared to be a 2012 or newer model.  The investigation is ongoing.

If anyone has information that can help with this homicide investigation, please contact Detective Justin Heckman at (831) 758-7323; or email him at [email protected]. If you would like to remain anonymous, please call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.

 

Release Authorized by: Cmdr. John C. Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7350

Salinas PD Asks Drivers to “Stop on Red” during National School Bus Safety Week

Release Date/Time: 10/23/2019 12:49 PM
Incident:Salinas PD Asks Drivers to 'Stop on Red” during National School Bus Safety Week
Date: Wednesday, 10/23/2019
Time: 12:49 PM
Location:City of Salinas

Salinas PD Asks Drivers to 'Stop on Red” during National School Bus Safety Week

 During National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 21-25, Salinas Police Department is supporting efforts across the state to make sure children are safe taking the bus to and from school.Held every year during the third week of October, National School Bus Safety Week is a way for parents, children, teachers, bus drivers, school officials and law enforcement to emphasize the importance of school bus safety. This year's theme is "My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!"

While riding the bus is the safest way for children to get to and from school, an alarming number of drivers illegally pass school buses who have their red lights activated. According to a 2016 survey by the California Department of Education, more than 26,000 drivers failed to stop for a school bus that had students getting on or off. During National School Bus Safety Week, Salinas Police Department will have additional officers around schools looking for drivers who do not stop for a school bus with its flashing red lights on.

California law requires drivers to stop from either direction when a school bus flashes red lights. Drivers must remain stopped as long as the red lights are on. Drivers who fail to stop face up to a $1,000 fine and could have their license suspended for one year. If a bus is on the other side of a divided street or street with two or more lanes in each direction, drivers do not need to stop but should slow down and look for children.

'There is no excuse for passing a bus that is stopped with red lights,” Salinas Police Department, Public Information Officer, Miguel Cabrera said. 'Red means stop. All drivers should be alert around schools, especially before school starts and when classes are out.” School buses are the safest way for children to get to school. Teaching drivers and children to follow best safety practices will ensure that children are as safe as possible when traveling to and from school.

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Press Conference on End of Summer Report on Violence Suppression Task Force Deployments

Release Date/Time: 10/18/2019 11:36 AM
Incident:Press Conference on End of Summer Report on Violence Suppression Task Force Deployments
Date: Tuesday 10/22/2019
Time: 10:30 AM
Location:200 Lincoln Ave, City Hall Rotunda

Press Conference on End of Summer Report on Violence Suppression Task Force Deployments

Press conference is for law enforcement only.  Press/Media is invited to attend.

A press conference will be held at City Hall Rotunda 200 Lincoln Ave. on Tuesday October 22, 2019 at 10:30 am. Salinas PD will present an end of summer report on the Violence Suppression Task Force (VSTF) deployments and discuss the continued violence suppression efforts in partnership with local, state and federal agencies.

Press/Media inquiries should be directed to Public Information Officer Miguel Cabrera at (831)758-7289 Or Sgt. Brian Johnson at (831) 758-7280

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:758-7289

Live PD Break

Release Date/Time: 10/18/2019 1:42 PM
Incident: Live PD Break
Date: Friday, 10/18/2019
Time: 1:42 PM
Location: 222 Lincoln Ave

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Brian Johnson
Telephone: 831-758-7280

Live PD will take a break from the Salinas Police Department after the Saturday, October 19th broadcast.  Live PD will be rotating another law enforcement department onto the show after 13 months with Salinas PD.  

Chief Frese released this statement: "It has been an honor for the Salinas Police Department to have been asked to participate in the documentary TV series, Live PD. The series showcases policing across the country, and in that vein, the producers have notified the department that they will be taking a break from Salinas as of October 21st as part of the rotation of participating departments . We appreciate the opportunity to bring the public into our patrol cars and show them the reality of law enforcement. In so many ways, this program has strengthened our relationships with the public and the citizens we serve, without interfering with our daily operations. While we will not be featured on upcoming live episodes, we continue to maintain an excellent relationship with Live PD and we would look forward to future participation on the program. On behalf of everyone in the Salinas Police Department, I would like to thank our community for supporting the officers who participated in Live PD."

From A&E:  'Live PD” documents policing across America, showcasing urban and rural law enforcement agencies from different size cities, towns and counties. In keeping with the promise of the series, we switch out agencies periodically, and will be taking a break from the Salinas Department after the Saturday, October 19th broadcast. We want to thank Chief Fresé, the Salinas Police Department, and the city of Salinas for allowing us to ride with the officers. We hope to return to Salinas sometime in the future."

Collision Reporting Center Coming Soon

Release Date/Time: 10/9/2019 11:24 AM
Incident: Collision Reporting Center Coming Soon
Date: Thursday, 10/17/2019
Time: 11:24 AM
Location: City of Salinas

                                                                                                        Collision Reporting Center Coming Soon

The City of Salinas, the Salinas Police Department and Accident Support Services International Ltd. (ASSI), facilitators of Collision Reporting to Police and the Insurance Industry, are pleased to announce their partnership in the operation of the Salinas Collision Reporting Center (CRC).  On October 17, the Salinas CRC will be opening its doors to the public at 200 Lincoln Avenue, and will be the 2nd Collision Reporting Center in California. Media is invited to attend the opening of the CRC which will be held at City Hall.

Accident Support Services International Ltd. has provided superior customer service with Police since 1994. ASSI now operates 42 Collision Reporting Centers in partnership with over 60 local police forces.  In September 2016, they opened the 1st U.S. Collision Reporting Center in Roanoke, VA in partnership with the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem Police Departments. ASSI's goal is to facilitate an active partnership between police and insurers in post-accident care by providing knowledgeable advice and assistance to accident victims. This results in increased convenience for the public as well as greater road safety.  Supporting insurers fund the program; there is No Cost to the police or the public for these services.  

'Salinas Police Department is looking forward to implementing our new Collision Reporting Center in partnership with Accident Support Services International Ltd. The center will provide a safe and user-friendly format to Salinas community members wishing to document traffic collisions.  This new simplified reporting process will allow officers to be readily available to answer more urgent types of calls for service. In addition, officers will be able to interact with the community and be more proactive during daily patrol duties.”  Roberto Filice, Assistant Chief, Salinas PD

Participation in the Collision Reporting Center program allows participating Police Departments to reallocate officers from collision reporting to higher priority calls for service.  Collision reporting is moved from the side of the road to a safe and comfortable location for citizens, preventing possible secondary collisions and injuries.  Access to local collision data through ASSI's Microsoft and Insurance-Canada Technology award winning Collision Reporting and Occurrence Management System (CROMS) enables police to determine collision causes and hot-spots to create and deploy pro-active traffic safety campaigns to make roads safer for all.  In addition, Accident Support Services' employees complete the data entry for all official state collision reports, saving police administrative time and capturing the information for analysis and focused policing initiatives. 

Motorists involved in collisions not involving injuries or criminal conduct are directed to file a report at the CRC with ASSI personnel, reviewed and signed off by police and shared electronically by ASSI with police records and the insurance carrier. Upon arrival at the CRC, citizens are greeted by a staff member who helps them to complete the official police report, photographs their vehicle damage and applies the ‘Damage Reported to Police' sticker.  Drivers are offered an information handout on next steps from their insurance company and the opportunity to contact family, broker or insurance company directly from the Center.  The citizen is provided with a one-stop service opportunity for all of their reporting needs.

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 758-7289

Automated Red-Light Camera Program Coming Soon

Release Date/Time: 10/8/2019 12:03 PM
Incident:Automated Red-Light Camera Program Coming Soon
Date: Tuesday, 10/8/2019
Time: 12:03 PM
Location:City of Salinas

Automated Red-Light Camera Program Coming Soon

Salinas Police Department would like to inform the public that the Automated Red-Light Camera Enforcement project is nearing completion and will soon be operational. This program hopes to improve public safety through increased enforcement of red-light laws and increased public awareness of the dangers of red light running.

Automated Red-Light Enforcement cameras are currently being installed at several locations in the City of Salinas. The sites are under construction and are not yet operational. Technicians are currently testing the equipment, including cameras and strobe flashes, at some of the sites. The cameras will be operational soon and a warning period will be the next step. Information will be released when the warning period begins.

Release Authorized by: Miguel Cabrera
Telephone: 831 758-7289

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