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Police in Southern California claim that an errant text message led to the arrests of two men who are suspected of California drug crimes. A narcotics suppression officer says that he received a text message from someone who allegedly was seeking to sell drugs. Although it is unclear what cellphone the text message was sent to, the cop says he played along and set up a meeting for a drug deal.

The officer claims that he asked to buy about two grams of methamphetamine from the unknown person sending the errant text message. He reportedly set up a location and time for the meeting. The officer then contacted the drug unit at the Sheriff's department about the alleged drug sting. Deputies went to the location and found a man, who they say had roughly two grams of meth in his possession.

While at the alleged drug deal location, deputies say a second man arrived. Law enforcement suspects the second man as the drug supplier. They reportedly seized roughly 7 grams of meth from the second man. Detectives claim a review of the second man's cellphone contents had information that corroborated the details of the drug deal that was set up by the police officer.

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Investigators in Santa Clara County claim that DNA evidence points to a Morgan Hill man in the Sierra LaMar case. Law enforcement arrested the Morgan Hill man Monday on suspicion of kidnapping and murder in the disappearance of the 15-year-old young woman. Authorities say that they have direct and circumstantial evidence against the 21-year-old man who was booked into jail earlier this week.

Investigators claim that they had many suspects during the investigation into the disappearance of the young woman. However, authorities now say that they believe the young woman is dead and the Morgan Hill man is the only remaining suspect. Although authorities say many suspects were looked at during the investigation, the Morgan Hill man was placed under 24-hour surveillance beginning on March 28.

The man's mother says that the family found GPS devices attached to both of the family vehicles. Police say that they had secretly attached a GPS device to the Morgan Hill man's red Jetta hoping to find the missing 15-year-old. Several weeks ago authorities reportedly seized the Morgan Hill man's Jetta.

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Tagged in: kidnapping murder

This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a weekend. Law enforcement agencies all across the state are planning a variety of DUI enforcement efforts to mark the holiday. DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols are common events in California, regardless of whether or not a holiday is involved. But Californians can usually expect local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol to step-up DUI enforcement details when a recognizable holiday approaches.

Police agencies often use a variety of tactics during stepped-up enforcement operation surrounding a holiday weekend. Checkpoints and saturation patrols may not be the only strategies that police may seek to employ to enforce California DUI laws. A story from the Bay Area highlights the type of unique strategies an agency may use in an effort to find drunk drivers.

The San Francisco Police plan to send officers out on motorcycles Friday night to look for drunk drivers. A captain with the police department says that, "Our Harley Davidson Road Kings have a lot of maneuverability advantages over regular patrol cars." Police say that most motorists do not notice the bikes until it is too late. The police captain says officers on a Harley "can ride right up to the driver's window and check for any signs of alcohol or drug impairment."

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Tagged in: DUI DUI checkpoints

The California three strikes law provides authority for prosecutors to seek, and for judges to impose, a prison sentence that is doubled for an adult convicted of any felony if the defendant has a first strike on his or her record. A strike is associated with serious or violent felony convictions, and the law recognizes serious or violent felony convictions of 16 or 17-year-old defendants in juvenile court.

Cases in juvenile court are tried before a judge without a jury. Supreme Court precedent says that a criminal defendant has the right to a jury trial on any fact that is used to increase a jail or prison sentence.

A San Jose man pled guilty to residential burglary in 2010. Prosecutors pulled out a prior robbery conviction that was rendered in juvenile court when the man was 16. That conviction involved allegations that the juvenile took $117 in a robbery of an ice cream vendor. The case in juvenile court was not presented to a jury. Prosecutors used the juvenile conviction as a first strike in seeking a doubled sentence for the 2010 adult conviction.

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In light of the football star's recent and tragic death, neighbors are outraged that the burglary occurred. Law enforcement says that someone apparently rummaged through cabinets inside the garage before taking a bicycle valued at around $500. The theft is believed to have occurred May 7.

News of the event spread across the country. Wednesday, a woman who had heard of the bicycle theft was riding her own bike in Oceanside and spotted a bicycle outside a thrift store that she believed matched the description of the stolen bike. Police say that they recovered the bike thanks to that woman. No arrests have been made in the case, as investigators continue to look into the event.

The bicycle has been returned to its owner-a friend of Seau. The friend of the late football star reportedly is happy to have the bicycle back.

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Tagged in: burglary/robbery theft

Firefighters in Richmond, California, say that they found a large marijuana growing operation inside a warehouse that caught on fire early Wednesday morning. The fire department responded to a call reporting an electrical fire in the structure, and the crew found what they claim is a marijuana cultivation operation as they worked to control the blaze. The fire department called in law enforcement to investigate.

Police claim that the woman who reported the fire may have been a "lookout" for the marijuana cultivation site. Authorities have made no arrests, but police say that the woman has been questioned. Details of what authorities may have found inside the warehouse remain sketchy. Law enforcement officials say that they are working on obtaining a search warrant for the location.

The details that authorities have revealed suggest that police believe the marijuana grow includes a sophisticated setup, with separate rooms within the building devoted to different phases of the marijuana cultivation operation.

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The man was not accused of being present during the alleged kidnapping event. Authorities had claimed that the man was the leader of a Nuestra Familia street gang regiment. Prosecutors argued that the man had ordered others to make an example of a person who allegedly had failed to pay for drugs that had been advanced to him.

Prosecutors apparently brought witnesses in to court to testify at trial against the alleged San Jose gang leader. The witnesses reportedly included those people who allegedly had participated in the kidnapping. The witnesses could have faced their own life sentences for the alleged offense, but apparently were given deals for testifying that will reduce their own exposure to prison time to 15 to 24 years.

The prosecutors had alleged that the kidnapping victim escaped from a moving van while it was traveling on Capitol Expressway. The van reportedly fled the area before police and emergency responders could respond to 911 calls describing the expressway incident.

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department says that the trio may face dozens of counts of conspiracy and California burglary charges in relation to an investigation conducted by the Sheriff's Department's Major Crimes Bureau.

Authorities claim that an off-duty Sheriff's deputy spotted a Nissan Murano drive past his home around 4:00 in the morning one day in March. The off-duty deputy says that he noticed a bike rack on the vehicle and became suspicious of the sight. He decided to take down its license plate number of the vehicle.

Several days after the alleged sighting of the SUV, the deputy claims a neighbor told deputy that two of his bikes had recently been stolen. The deputy apparently pulled out the license number and tracked the SUV to the three men who are now accused of stealing nearly 200 bikes over a two-year-period spanning six different counties.

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Tagged in: burglary/robbery

Most, if not all, drivers know that California law prohibits driving under the influence. California law, like every state in the union presumes impairment based upon a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. Many drivers, however, are surprised to hear when a chemical test returns a result of presumed impairment after a DUI arrest.

A recent story in the news that highlights the situation involves a Southern California Assembly member who was arrested in late March on DUI charges. The assemblyman, who has the right to remain silent under the law, reportedly told reporters after this arrest that he was not drunk the night of his arrest.

He reportedly said that he had some wine with dinner, but was not drunk. He also reportedly told the news media that law enforcement lacked probable cause to conduct a traffic stop.

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California's laws prohibiting driving under the influence involve more than restrictions against impairment from alcohol. Drugged driving, or prescription medication DUI offenses, can haunt medical patients who may be hauled into court on allegations of driving under the influence. Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyers know that California treats any DUI charge harshly.

A recent California case involves allegations of a so-called "Whip-it" canister containing nitrous oxide. A 22-year-old Folsom man is accused of serious DUI-related charges after a tragic double-fatal car accident in January. The man is facing two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter.

A judge in Sacramento County ordered that the Folsom man stand trial on the gross vehicular manslaughter charges at a preliminary hearing April 24. Prosecutors reportedly introduced testimony at the preliminary hearing that the Folsom man had bought 50 canisters of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, at a Folsom Smoke shop on the day of the car accident.

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Police apparently approached two people early Saturday morning at an undisclosed business in Napa. Law enforcement believed the two were under the influence of drugs and placed the two people under arrest, according to the Vallejo Times-Herald.

Somehow, Napa police learned that one of the arrestees has an 8-year-old child, and law enforcement says that they became concerned about the child's whereabouts. An investigation into the child's whereabouts may eventually lead to serious charges for alleged drug crimes.

Napa Police claim that they received "misleading and conflicting information" about where the 8-year-old might be located. Authorities descended on the mother's home after the 2:00 a.m. arrest Sunday and claim to have entered the woman's apartment, possibly without a warrant based upon information reported in the media, to search for the child. Authorities claim that they found the child inside the home.

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California lawmakers are considering a proposed bill that would make certain possessory drug offenses a misdemeanor instead of a felony level crime in the state. The bill was debated this week by the Senate Public Safety Committee, which voted 4-2 in favor of the measure. The bill proposes to reduce personal drug possession crimes involving heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine from felony offenses to misdemeanor offenses.

Four of the panel members voted to approve the bill, which would still need approval from the full California Senate and the State Assembly before it would be put before the governor for his signature.

The bill has the support of a District Attorney from San Francisco, who says that imposing long prison sentences for Californians convicted for personal drug possession offenses creates a "vicious cycle that does further public safety." However, the California District Attorneys Association does not share that view, as the association opposes the bill.

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A man who law enforcement describes as a parolee was arrested around 7:00 Monday morning behind the former Capitola Theater on serious felony charges. Police claim that they spotted the man sitting with two women in a small compact car around 1:00 Monday and believe he was involved in a series of alleged incidents involving a separate vehicle in Watsonville and Soquel more than twelve hours earlier.

Police claim the man was driving a blue Ford truck in Watsonville around 11:45 a.m. Sunday when he allegedly asked some people who apparently were standing in an alley for gas money. Law enforcement claims the man later ran the Ford into a car and, after displaying a gun to the driver, stole the driver's cellphone and money, before fleeing from the area. Police later concluded that the blue Ford had been stolen from near San Mateo.

While searching for the alleged stolen Ford and the man law enforcement suspected of the alleged robbery in Watsonville, authorities fielded a report that a vehicle struck a fence and propane tank in Soquel around 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Police claim the man again brandished a gun to witnesses before fleeing on foot. It was roughly twelve hours later that law enforcement claims to have spotted the man in the compact car with two women.

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Capitola Police say that officers spotted a man walking near Soquel and Wharf roads around 3:00 early Wednesday morning. Officers assert that they believed the 45-year-old man matched the description of a suspect in an unidentified incident sometime earlier in Aptos. Law enforcement apparently sought to detain the man to look into the Aptos incident, and now the man is accused of a string of offenses for his conduct in dealing with the police.

Authorities claim that the man fled from police during the alleged attempted encounter. Capitola officers say that the man initially was aggressive toward officers before he took off running. Authorities accuse the man of a series of acts that have landed him in jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon and trespassing.

After initially fleeing, the man ran to a condominium complex, according to police. Officers say that they located the man, but he refused to be arrested. Officers say the man hit a squad car with a metal rod before police zapped him with a Taser. After the stun gun allegedly failed to have the effect police had hoped for, authorities accuse the man of grabbing a tree branch and swinging at officers.

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Santa Cruz Police say that three men were arrested early Monday morning after some sort of encounter with law enforcement. Police claim to have spotted a car around 1:20 a.m. Monday near South Branciforte and Broadway, but an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel does not indicate why spotting the vehicle drew the attention of police.

Apparently, an officer claims that he smelled marijuana and saw a pipe and decided to search the vehicle.

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A Tiburon man appeared in court last week and accepted a plea agreement in a felony driving under the influence case. He also has a pending misdemeanor DUI charge in front of him that arose at a later date from the felony charge, and he says that he plans to take the later DUI case to trial. Authorities initially accused the man of felony drunk driving after pulling him over for what law enforcement claimed was to check on his welfare.

Police say the man drove past a police station on Tiburon Boulevard. Law enforcement says officers grew concerned because they heard him yelling and screaming as the car passed by the station. Police reportedly conducted a traffic stop, which eventually led to felony DUI charges.

The accused reportedly has three prior DUI convictions on his record-the oldest of which dates back to 2002. Those three priors were used to upgrade the DUI charges to a felony level under California law. The man pled guilty to felony DUI under a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors.

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Tagged in: Felony DUI

California authorities reported to Oikos University in East Oakland Monday morning after gunshots reportedly rung out on the college campus. Students and others at the college dove for cover when the shot were fired. Officials say that as many as 10 people may have been hit by bullets, but conflicting reports have been issued as to how many people were killed in the college shooting.

SWAT team officers entered the college and other officers swarmed the campus and nearby locations Monday. Several miles away from the East Oakland campus, police in Alameda reportedly have arrested a man at a shopping center who law enforcement believes is connected to the incident.

Details about the entire incident remain confusing across media reports, including conflicting reports on the number of wounded or killed in the East Oakland shooting, and what led law enforcement to Alameda.

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It did not take long for a group of former cops, prosecutors and judges to voice their opinion of a proposed measure that seeks to create a zero tolerance type policy for driving under the influence charges involving pot. This blog discussed the new proposal last week, and members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition have written the assemblywoman who introduced the bill, urging that she immediately withdraw the measure.

Ten retired police officers, deputies, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals signed the letter calling for withdrawal of the DUI drug-related bill, saying that the draconian measure would criminalize driving by any California medical marijuana patient, even if the patient was not impaired at any time near the time of the arrest.

The criminal justice veterans acknowledge that California law already prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, based upon evidence that the pot, prescription medications or other drugs have caused impairment of the driver. The group says that the current flawed California DUI bill prohibiting pot-based driving without the need to show impairment would make driving illegal for up to 30 days after a medical marijuana patient lawfully smokes pot.

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Tagged in: DUI medical marijuana

Most Californians may be familiar with the constitutional concept of the right to remain silent. Popular culture has long depicted Miranda rights in cop shows to wrap up an episode. That public awareness, however, does not necessarily include recognition of the importance, or the potential abuse of the important constitutional right.

A state appeals court recently threw out a conviction of a Redwood City man based upon the court's finding that prosecutors violated the defendant's right to remain silent before the jury at trial. The man was accused of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after a fatal accident at a Redwood City intersection in February 2007.

The prosecutor told the jury that the man accused of negligence did not ask about the occupants of the other car involved in the accident. The prosecutor unfairly argued to the jury that the man's silence after the alleged crash showed that he knew that he was in the wrong at the time of the accident. The man's silence occurred when he was effectively under arrest, according to the appellate court ruling, which was handed down last week.

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A California Assemblywoman says the state needs a way to collect data on marijuana related fatal crashes. She says that, "One of the problems we faced as we continue to research this issue is that data specifically related to marijuana is not being collected." She apparently now hopes to have California drivers charged with DUI in order to have a new method to collect data.

She has introduced a proposal that essentially eliminates the necessity of the state to show impairment in marijuana cases. Currently, California laws on driving under the influence prohibit drugged driving. However, the Assemblywoman wants to change DUI laws in the state to allow convictions to be based upon any detectable level of marijuana compounds, or cannabinoids, in a driver's system. Marijuana compounds can remain detectable for weeks after a person uses marijuana.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana are vehemently opposed to the new proposal. The measure would essentially make it a crime for drivers to get behind the wheel for weeks after using pot. The Assemblywoman who has introduced the concept to essentially eliminate impairment in marijuana related DUI cases admits that the language of the bill "is not perfect." She says she does not intend the proposed measure to impact Californians who have a prescription for medical marijuana.

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