Press Releases

Norteno Gang Member Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for 2015 Homicide of Salinas Missing Person

Release Date/Time: 4/11/2019 12:35 PM
Incident: Norteno Gang Member Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for 2015 Homicide of Salinas Missing Person
Date: December 12, 2015
Time: 
Location: 2200 Block of N. Main St.

Norteño Gang Member Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for 2015 Homicide of Salinas Missing Person.

Tai Agoun Cruz (26), was sentenced to 35 years in prison yesterday for his involvement in a homicide case in which the victim's remains have never been found. On February 20, 2019, Cruz pled guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter with gang and use of a firearm enhancements. The homicide took place on December 12, 2015 at a party in the 2200 block of North Main Street where other Norteño gang members where present. Victim Paulino Guzman III (18) was shot and killed at the party. Cruz has refused to reveal where the body may be located. Guzman was initially reported as a missing person and there were few investigative leads.

Eye witnesses later came forward and new forensic evidence was located. Detectives dedicated countless hours in this investigation, interviewing multiple witnesses, serving several search warrants and analyzing digital and forensic evidence. The work and diligence of the SPD Crime Scene Investigation Unit led by Criminalist Patrick Haney was critical and essential in leading to the arrest of Cruz especially in this homicide investigation where the victim's body has not been found.

Detectives are certain there are individuals who know the whereabouts of Paulino's body. Detectives, along with the Guzman family and the Monterey County District Attorney's Office, are pleading that anyone with information to please contact the Salinas Police Department's Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7226 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call the Salinas PD Tip Line at (831) 775-4222. Detectives are more interested in your information than your identity.

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

Community Members Involvement Leads to Burglar Arrests

Release Date/Time: 5/16/2019 12:25 PM
Incident:Community Members Involvement Leads to Burglar Arrests
Date: Tuesday, 5/14/2019 9:52 am and Thursday, 5/16/2019 at midnight. 
Location: Mc Kinnon St and Stratford Court

Community Members Involvement Leads to Burglar Arrests

On 5/14/2019 at 9:52 am, an alert neighbor observed a suspicious person in the area of Stratford Court who was putting on rubber gloves just prior to jumping a fence onto the victim's property. The vigilant neighbor called police right away with officers arriving quickly.

As officers arrived, the suspects attempted to flee by jumping fences away from the area. With the assistance of other neighbors who provided information on the suspects direction of travel, the two suspects were located. Romero Sanchez (27) and a seventeen-year-old juvenile were arrested. The stolen property was recovered and returned to the owner. The suspects were arrested and charged with burglary and conspiracy.

On 5/16/2019 at around midnight, Officers responded to an alarm activation from portable classrooms at Harden Middle School on Mc Kinnon St. When officers arrived, they observed three suspects fleeing the school grounds. Officers confirmed a burglary had taken place.

Dispatchers started receiving calls from neighbors reporting suspicious individuals in the area jumping fences and knocking on doors. With the information received, officers set up a perimeter and were able to locate two of the three persons involved in the burglary.

Two juveniles, 15 and 16 years of age, were arrested and charged with burglary, conspiracy and vandalism. They were transported to juvenile hall. A third suspect is still at large as the investigation continues. The stolen property was recovered and returned to the school.

These are just two examples of community members and officers working together to make our neighborhoods safer. Salinas Police Department thanks you!

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera
Telephone:831 261-2924

UPDATE: Missing Juvenile and Baby Found Safe

Release Date/Time: 5/15/2019 11:58 AM
Incident: Update: Missing Juvenile and Baby Found Safe
Date: Wednesday, 5/15/2019
Time: 11:58 AM
UPDATE: 5-15-2019 Katelin Flores Castillo and her baby have been located. They are both safe and in good health. Salinas Police Department would like to express our gratitude to the public for their help and cooperation in bringing this incident to a safe conclusion.

Original Press Release:

Release Date/Time: 5/13/2019 12:02 PM
Incident: Missing Juvenile and Three Week Old Baby
Date: Monday, 5/13/2019
Time: 12:02 PM
Location:222 Lincoln Ave

Salinas PD Needs Your Help!

Salinas Police Department would like your help in locating a missing juvenile and her three-week-old baby. Salinas resident Katelin Flores Castillo (16) was last seen on May 5, 2019. Katelin is 5'1", 200 lbs., blue eyes and brown shoulder length hair. Katelin left her residence without saying where she was going, she left her cell phone behind and has not been heard from since. Katelin was reported missing on May 7, 2019. We would like to hear from Katelin and check on her and her baby's welfare.

If you have any information on Katelin's whereabouts, please contact the Salinas Police Department at 831 758-7360 or 831 758-732

Release Authorized by:Miguel Cabrera

Telephone:831 758-7289

Attempted Murder Arrest

Release Date/Time: 5/13/2019 3:11 PM
Incident: Attempted Murder Arrest
Date: Monday, 5/13/2019
Time: 3:45 PM
Location: Modesto, CA

In April 2019, detectives from the Salinas Police Department's Investigations Bureau were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Neil Aguillon (Palermo), age 19. The warrant was obtained based on the on-going investigation into an attempted murder that occurred on February 12, 2017, on Orchard Ave. in the city of Salinas. Salinas PD detectives traced Aguillon to the Modesto, CA area. We contacted Modesto Police Department with the information, and on Saturday, May 11th, they were able to locate Aguillon in the 1400 block of Mable St. in Modesto. Aguillon was taken into custody without incident.

In addition to Aguillon, who was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, the attempted murder investigation has, so far, led to the Federal Indictment of Salinas resident Kristopher Purcell (age 20) for multiple racketeering related charges; racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm causing murder, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm during and in relation to, or possession in furtherance of a crime of violence. Purcell's murder charge stems from a shooting that occurred on February 11, 2017, in which Salinas resident John Rodzach was murdered in the area of Fremont St. and North Hebbron St.

The attempted murder occurred on the 100 block of Orchard Ave. just after midnight on February 12, 2017. Two victims had just returned home from the store and as they parked their car, four gunmen approached their car and began shooting. The victims were hit multiple times and the driver attempted to flee in the vehicle. While doing so he struck and disabled the suspect vehicle in the middle of Orchard Ave. The gunmen fled on foot into the area and were not found. The victims, a 20-year-old and 49-year old, were transported to a local hospital and have recovered.

The Investigation Bureau is asking anyone with information on this shooting, or any other crimes related to Neil Aguillon and/or Kristopher Purcell, to call the Bureau at (831) 758-7226.

 

Release Authorized by: Christopher Lane, Investigations Sergeant
Telephone: (831) 758-7496

Missing Juvenile and Three Week Old Baby

Release Date/Time: 5/13/2019 12:02 PM
Incident: Missing Juvenile and Three Week Old Baby
Date: Monday, 5/13/2019
Time: 12:02 PM
Location:222 Lincoln Ave

Salinas PD Needs Your Help!

Salinas Police Department would like your help in locating a missing juvenile and her three-week-old baby. Salinas resident Katelin Flores Castillo (16) was last seen on May 5, 2019. Katelin is 5'1”, 200 lbs., blue eyes and brown shoulder length hair. Katelin left her residence without saying where she was going, she left her cell phone behind and has not been heard from since. Katelin was reported missing on May 7, 2019. We would like to hear from Katelin and check on her and her baby's welfare.

If you have any information on Katelin's whereabouts, please contact the Salinas Police Department at 831 758-7360 or 831 758-7321

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

May is National Bicycle Safety Month

Release Date/Time: 5/8/2019 12:41 PM
Incident: May is National Bicycle Safety Month
Date: Month of May
Time: 12:41 PM
Location: City of Salinas

                                                                                                                      Salinas Police Department Urges Drivers and Bicyclists to ‘Share the Road'

May is National Bicycle Safety Month

May is National Bicycle Safety Month and Salinas Police Department encourages drivers and bicyclists to share the road safely not just for the month of May, but every month of the year. 'It is not just cars using the road, but also people on bikes, motorcycles, or walking,” Salinas Police Department Traffic Sgt. Robert Hampson said. 'The road belongs to everyone and we all share responsibility in making sure we all get where we are going safely.” Bicycle riders must follow the same rules of the road as drivers, including stopping at stop signs, yielding to pedestrians and not riding distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. California law requires drivers to allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle.

'With warmer weather, there will be more people out on bikes, so it is important that drivers anticipate more bike riders and exercise caution around them,” Sgt. Hampson said. 'The same goes for bike riders. Be safe, know the law and follow it.” In an effort to educate drivers and bicyclists on using roadways safely, Salinas Police Department will have extra officers on patrol this month looking for violations made by drivers and bicyclists that increase the risk of crashes. Such violations include failing to yield, speeding, improper turning, riding a bike on the wrong side of the road or not following stop signs or signals.

Salinas Police Department suggests following these tips to ensure the safety of everyone using roadways:

  • Drivers should look behind them before making a turn at an intersection, especially if crossing into a designated bike lane.
  • Drivers should use extra caution backing up or leaving a parking space.
  • Bicyclists should make themselves visible and wear brightly colored clothing.
  • Bicyclists are advised to use lights from dusk to dawn (front white light and rear red flashing light or reflectors).
  • Bicyclists should always wear a helmet and use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.
  • Both drivers and bicyclists should avoid distractions like using their cell phone.

Funding for bicycle safety enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

Cinco de Mayo is near:Please Celebrate Responsibly

Release Date/Time: 5/1/2019 11:27 AM
Incident:Cinco de Mayo is near:Please Celebrate Responsibly
Date: May 5, 2019
Time: 
Location:City of Salinas

Cinco de Mayo is near: Please Celebrate Responsibly

Salinas, Ca. — For many people across the country, Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is a time for fun and celebrations that may involve drinking. The holiday, which happens to fall on a Sunday this year, is a reminder to the public to celebrate responsibly and not drive impaired.This May 5, Salinas Police Department will have additional officers on patrol ready to stop and arrest drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

'We understand the importance of this day to many people, but it does not give you an excuse to drink and drive,” Salinas Police Department Traffic Sgt. Hampson said. 'There are many options to get home safely that don't involve you driving.”

Salinas Police Department encourages everyone to plan ahead and use a designated sober driver, ride-share or public transportation. Salinas Police Department also wants to remind everyone that a 'DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze.” Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana can all be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Funding for Cinco de Mayo DUI enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

Norteño Gang Member Sentenced To More Than 36 Years In Prison

Release Date/Time: 5/3/2019 1:02 PM
Incident: Norteño Gang Member Sentenced To More Than 36 Years In Prison For Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder, And Armed Robbery
Date: Friday, 5/3/2019
Time: 1:02 PM
Location: Various

Release Authorized by: A.C. Filice
Telephone:  (831) 758-7090

 

Norteño Gang Member Sentenced To More Than 36 Years In Prison For Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder, And Armed Robbery

Salinas Police Detectives, in concert with the FBI, conducted an extensive investigation which culminated with the successful prosecution of several Norteno gang members.

The latest defendant, Antonio Cruz was sentenced today to 36½ years in prison and ordered to pay $324,915.59 in restitution for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that involved three murders, two attempted murders, one robbery affecting interstate commerce, and three armed bank robberies.

Cruz, 32, of Salinas, pleaded guilty to the charges on October 3, 2018. According to the plea agreement, Cruz admitted to being a member of the Salinas-based Norteño street gang clique known as 'Santa Rita.” Cruz also admitted to being a member of a larger racketeering enterprise known as the Salinas Norteños Enterprise (the 'Enterprise”) consisting of several violent Norteño cliques in Salinas. Cruz was a member of both groups from 2009 to 2011. Santa Rita and other Norteño cliques in Salinas committed acts of violence for the benefit of the gang, including murder, attempted murder, and robbery. Among other acts of violence, members of Santa Rita sought to attack and kill members of rival Sureño gang cliques, as well as members of other rival gangs.

The murders attempted murders, and robberies to which Cruz pleaded guilty took place between December 2009 and January 2011. On December 2, 2009, Cruz went to Lohman Street in Salinas to shoot an individual that he and his fellow Enterprise members selected as a target and believed was a rival Sureño gang member. Cruz staked out the victim's house in the early morning hours until the victim came out of his house and began warming up his car. Cruz approached and shot the victim multiple times with a .380 caliber handgun. The victim died as a result of Cruz's attack.

On July 12, 2010, Cruz went to the Northgate apartment complex in Salinas with a fellow Enterprise member to shoot individuals they believed were Sureño gang members who had recently moved into the complex. Cruz armed his fellow Enterprise member with a firearm that was used to shoot at two victims working on a car in the parking lot of the apartment complex. The gunfire struck one of the victims in the lower back. The .45 caliber pistol used in the shooting was later recovered from Cruz's backpack when Cruz was arrested in 2012.

On August 17, 2010, Cruz and a fellow Enterprise member drove around Salinas hunting for a Sureño to shoot and kill. When they spotted an individual they believed was a rival Sureño, Cruz stopped the car near the victim, and Cruz's passenger got out of the car and fired his gun at the victim multiple times. The victim died as a result of the shooting.

On November 19, 2010, Cruz and other Enterprise members learned there was a house party at a residence the Enterprise had identified as a Sureño hang out. A fellow Enterprise member conducted reconnaissance and confirmed that Sureños were having a party at the residence, and then patrolled the neighborhood in his car as a lookout for law enforcement. Cruz drove two codefendants to shoot up the party and supplied one of the shooters with a .40 caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine. Cruz remained in his vehicle while the other two Enterprise members approached the house on foot. When they got to the driveway, one of the gunmen fired more than ten rounds, killing one victim and injuring another.

Cruz also acted as the getaway driver in several armed robberies, including the June 2, 2010, robbery of the Zales jewelry store in Gilroy; the November 23, 2010 robbery of the Bank of the West in San Jose; the December 16, 2010 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank in Watsonville; and the January 7, 2011 robbery of the Rabobank in Watsonville. In each robbery, Enterprise members entered the establishment and brandished firearms to induce employees to turn over cash and jewelry. The Enterprise stole jewelry with a retail value of more than $800,000, and cash proceeds estimated at more than $92,000.

On October 28, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Cruz and eight other Salinas Norteño gang members. According to the Superseding Indictment, all nine defendants committed crimes as part of Norteño gang activity. The superseding indictment alleges that, over two years, the defendants committed 12 murders, seven attempted murders, and numerous armed robberies of banks, financial institutions, and commercial establishments.

In sentencing Cruz, Judge Koh described Cruz's crimes as 'heinous.” In addition to the prison term, Judge Koh sentenced Cruz to five years of supervised release to commence after Cruz completes his prison sentence and $324,915.59 in restitution. Cruz is currently being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

SPARK- Salinas Police Awareness, Responsibility and Knowledge- Life Skills Course Offered to High School Students by Salinas PD

Release Date/Time: 4/29/2019 12:08 PM
Incident:SPARK- Salinas Police Awareness, Responsibility and Knowledge- Life Skills Course Offered to High School Students by Salinas PD
Date: Monday, 4/29/2019
Time: 12:08 PM
Location:Salinas Police Department 222 Lincoln Ave.

"How to Drive Like a Cop" and Other Teen Life Skills Classes Offered by Salinas Police

Salinas, CA -- The Salinas Police Department is hosting a free, multi-week life skills program for high school students starting on Monday, May 6. Participants will learn job interview techniques, basic first aid, social media safety, how to interact with the police, and safe driving in a class called "How to Drive Like a Cop." The driver safety class will teach basic maneuvers, collision avoidance, and more, and will also include a barbecue. Each class will take place at the Salinas Police Department. To learn more or register, contact Sergeant Albert Duran at (831) 775-4201 ext. 6072 or [email protected].

A flier is available here.

Program schedule:

Monday, May 6, 6-9 pm: Self-Image and Identity (young women) with Chief Adele Fresé OR Masculinity Upgraded - Strength for a Safer Community (young men) with the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center

Monday, May 13, 6-9 pm: Job Interview Prep with Central Coast Human Resource Association

Monday, May 20, 6-9 pm: Basic First Aid and Social Media Safety

Monday, June 3, 6-9 pm: Why'd You Stop Me? Program

Saturday, June 8, 8 am - 5 pm: Driver Safety course (Please note that a driver's license or permit is not required)

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

Attempted Murder/Shooting

Release Date/Time: 4/15/2019 8:12 AM
Incident:Attempted Murder/Shooting
Date: Sunday, 4/14/2019
Time: 9:40 PM 
Location:Williams Rd at Garner Ave

Officers responded to a Shotspotter activation with several gunshots detected in the area of Williams Rd. at Garner Ave. A short time later we received a call of a victim in the 1200 block of Del Monte Ave. The victim, a 19 year old male was shot twice in the shoulder blade area.  The victim was transported to Natividad Medical Center with with what appear to be non-life threatening injuries. The victim was driving  on Williams Rd. near Garner Ave. when he heard several gun shots and realized he had been hit. He drove to a friend's nearby residence on Del Monte and they notified police.

The victim was not able to provide any suspect or suspect vehicle information. The victim's vehicle was struck several times and multiple shell casings were found at the scene. No other victims were located and no other structures  were struck by gunfire.

If anyone has any information related to this incident, you are encouraged to call Salinas PD at 831 758-7321. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call out Tip Line at 831 775-4222

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

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What can I do if there is a loud party in my neighborhood?

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