Norteno sweep nets 60 arrests

Detail: Police conduct 200 field interviews.

Porterville police arrested more than 60 suspected Norteno gang members during a huge four-day suppression detail, according to a department news release.

Investigators from the Special Investigations Unit conducted more than 200 field interviews, probation compliance searches, five parole searches and 20 arrest warrants between Wednesday and Saturday.

The suspected gang members were arrested for suspicion committing of felony and misdemeanor crimes ranging from sales and transportation of methamphetamine to criminal street gang members being in possession of weapons.

The operation focused on different sets of the Norteno street gang.

Membership in the different northern sets is the largest among PortervilleÂ’s street gangs, according to previous statistics.

Police estimate there is anywhere from 400 to 500 Nortenos in the greater Porterville area. They estimate the total gang membership in the area at around 1,000.



FRESNO, Calif.

Two men, 32-year-old Carlos Dearmas and 27-year-old Eric Estrada, were arrested in Northeast Fresno on Tuesday morning after police discovered a small marijuna grow inside a home.

Police were serving a search warrant at the home near First & Stuart for a computer they believed was stolen during a recent burglary. That's when they discovered at least 6 marijuana plants inside a 10-by-10 foot room that had been built in the garage, said Fresno Police Captain Al Maroney. 

Maroney described the growing operation as elaborate. It was built with insulation, 4 grow lights, and a ventilation system tied to the exhaust vents on the roof, said Maroney.

"This is something that just didn't happen over a week or two. This was planned out, constructed very well, and very well conceived, if I do say so myself," said Maroney. 

3 children were inside the home at the time of the bust, police said. Police plan to refer the case to Child Protective Services to determine if the children were in any danger.

Dearmas and Estrada could both face charges for marijuana cultivation. Dearmas could also face charges related to the stolen computer, police said.

FRESNO, Calif.

Madera County Sheriff’s Deputies shut down a major marijuana farm on Tuesday.

The pot farm appears to be one of the largest ever found on private property in Madera County.

Large marijuana farms are normally found growing in national forests but Tuesday’s bust was found near Coarsegold.

Madera County Sheriff’s Deputies were tipped off by the property owner, who reported seeing irrigation pipes that didn’t belong there.

When Deputies arrived early Tuesday morning, they found the growers, who are living here illegally at the site but were only able to grab one.

48-year-old Eduardo Medina was arrested but three others were able to escape being captured.

In the end, about 10,000 marijuana plants were cut down by Deputies. The grow is thought to be tied to the Mexican drug cartel.

FRESNO, Calif.

Five men arrested May 26 by Fresno County sheriff's deputies have been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

The men also are charged with being illegal aliens in possession of a handgun and ammunition. The five are originally from Michoacán, Mexico.

The five are Mario Penaloza, 23, of Orange Cove; Javier Lopez-Estrada, 27, of Oakdale; Mario Martinez-Botello, 31, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Jesus Bucio-Mendoza, 25 of Fresno; and Armando Toledo, 25, or San Fernando.

Penaloza also faces firearms charges. Bucio-Mendoza also is charged with being an illegal alien who was previously deported. If convicted of the drug violations alone, the defendants face a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $4 million per count.


FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno police said Friday they have arrested three people suspected of drug trafficking. As part of a two-week investigation, undercover officers negotiated the sale of two pounds of methamphetamine Thursday morning.

When the suspects arrived -- two 25-year-olds and a 28-year-old -- they were arrested.

The street value of the drugs was estimated at $80,000.

FRESNO, Calif.

A 40-year-old Fresno man may be spending the rest of his life in prison for beating his grandmother with a wooden chair.

Michael Deanda was ordered by a Fresno County judge to serve to 21 years to life in prison Friday for the attack on 88-year-old Nellie Garcia in her home last May.

Prosecutors say Garcia's life was saved when two elderly neighbors managed to scare off Deanda.

Deanda's sentencing comes after he pleaded no contest to elder abuse causing great bodily injury in March. He also admitted to prior convictions for robbery, drug possession and receiving stolen property.

His attorney, Kojo Moore, says Deanda was high on PCP at the time of the attack.


FRESNO, Calif.

A suspected drunk driver led police on a dangerous chase across Central Fresno. It started near the intersection of Shields and Van Ness and reached speeds of more than 65 miles per hour before ending five miles away at Cecilia and McKinley in West Central Fresno. Police have identified the suspected drunk driver as 29-year-old Christopher Chacon.

Neighbor, Bill Gibson said, "When I heard sirens and the chopper came over real low I knew something was going on. I walked out in the yard and saw that little car barreling down the street."

CHP officers say the car was driven by a man who is suspected of driving under the influence. The car chase reached more 65 miles per hour before a helicopter followed him to the home which is just a few feet away from an elementary school full of young children.

Neighbor, Daniel Varela said, "Luckily the kids were in school not being released or early in the morning."

Inside the car officers found a substantial amount of street drugs.

CHP Officer, Shawn Wills said, "It was hard drugs possibly meth."

An ambulance had to be called in because the suspect began having a reaction to whatever was in his system.

"We don't know if he ate some of the drugs," said Officer Wills.

Gibson said, "He was shaking on the ground over there like convulsions and seizures."

Officers also pulled a homemade shotgun from inside the car as neighbors looked on.

Varela said, "It was a zip gun. I guess its two pieces of pipes welded together, you have a shotgun shell inside it."

Neighbors say based on the suspect's past they are not surprised by the chase that unfolded on Fresno city streets, but they are glad it's over.

"I'm glad they put a stop to it. Hopefully with this one he'll be put away or a while so our streets will be a lot safer," said Varela.


Fresno, CA

30-year old Vanessa Rincon is spending time in a mental institution after investigators say she admitted to stabbing her 3-year old son, Noah.  The attack happened Tuesday at Pleasant Village Apartments in Central Fresno.

CBS47 spoke with one of Rincon’s best friends on Wednesday.  Kelly Garcia describes Rincon as a mild-tempered, nurturing mother.  However, drug abuse may have created some very dark moments in Rincon's mind.  While the two were recently hanging out, Rincon made some disturbing revelations.

“She was hallucinating and seeing some demons,” Garcia said of Rincon.

Garcia later learned that those demons were likely products of Rincon mixing prescription anti-depressants and illegal drugs.

“She just said she was tired of living the way she was living and she was ready to change her life,” said Garcia.

Neighbor Lasherry Miller witnessed part of the attack on Tuesday.  She could tell Rincon was not in a normal state of mind.

“She was speaking a different language and her pupils were really big. She was looking really scared and when the paramedics came to help her son, she tried to stop them and fight them,” said Miller.

Garcia now finds herself praying for little Noah, as well as Vanessa.

“I pray that Vanessa will know that even though there seems like there's no hope right now, there is still hope for her. There's still hope for her situation and she should not give up,” said Garcia.

Police expect to file criminal charges against Vanessa Rincon in the next couple of days.

FRESNO, Calif.

Investigators stumbled upon a large meth lab in Fresno County. It's the biggest meth lab bust in Fresno County this year. They found it at a home near Butler and Academy. Officials with the California Highway Patrol made the discovery after visiting the home as part of an auto theft investigation. Instead, they found enough material to make more than 10 pounds of meth. They say the street value of the drugs is nearly $200-thousand dollars. Two men were taken into custody.

Investigators say there was also evidence to show that young children live at the home where the meth lab was discovered.

FRESNO, Calif.

A methamphetamine investigation in Clovis ended in the arrest nine of people and the removal of three children from a home. This all started when police busted 52-year-old Gary Hall on drug and gun charges. Clovis Police then arrested five people at a home for drugs, parole violations and child endangerment. While they were there, police say three known gang members arrived to make a drug delivery. They were also quickly arrested.Police seized a quarter pound of meth, and at least one gun.Three children were taken out of the home. Investigators found them living in cramped and squalid conditions