Los Angeles: Two Marijuana Dispensaries Raided by Feds

August 12, 2009 by  
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marijuana-leadLOS ANGELES – Federal and local agents are raiding at least two marijuana dispensaries.

Officials say more than 20 people from various agencies served a state search warrant at around 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Organica Collective in Marina del Rey.

The raid occurred at facilities on Washington Boulevard in Culver City and on Overland Avenue in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles police, the FBI and DEA were still searching the distribution center three hours later.

DEA spokesman Jose Martinez says agents also served the warrant at the Overland Gardens Collective in West Los Angeles.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Torrance Police Department and Culver City Police Department took part in the raids.

Authorities will not say what investigators are searching for at either location.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office says a residence also was named in the warrant.

Blogger George Sodini Kills 4 people at LA Fitness

(CNN) — A gunman walked into an LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, turned off the lights and fired off 50 rounds, killing three women before killing himself Tuesday evening, police said.

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The man didn’t speak but was carrying a gym bag with a note inside it. He was found dead in the gym lying on top a gun about 7 feet away from a victim, said Charles Moffatt, Allegheny County police superintendent.

At least 10 other people were injured in the barrage of bullets that sent people in the gym ducking for cover, Moffatt said.

A law enforcement source identified the gunman as George Sodini, a 48-year-old gym member.

Moffatt would not release the name of the victims during a Wednesday news conference.

Sodini was a systems analyst in the finance department of K&L Gates, a law firm with an office in Pittsburgh, said Mike Rick, a spokesman for the firm. Sodini had worked for the firm since 1999, Rick said.

Neighbors described Sodini as a bit of a recluse. They said he had stopped talking to neighbors.

The gunman apparently was on a mission, Moffatt said.

“He did what he set out to do, and I think nobody could have stopped him, ” he said. Video Watch whom the shooter may have been targeting »

Moffatt would not confirm a newspaper report that Sodini’s ex-girlfriend was wounded in the shooting.

He also did not say what was written on the note that was found in Sodini’s gym bag. But the law enforcement source said that the gunman in the note “talks about his hatred of women.”

Sodini entered the fitness center around 8 p.m. Tuesday and went straight to an aerobics classroom, where he opened fire with multiple handguns, Moffatt said.

More than two guns have been recovered, the law enforcement source said, and at least one was registered to Sodini.

The shooting victims arrived at three major hospitals in the area.

A spokeswoman for UPMC Mercy Hospital confirmed five female shooting victims arrived at the facility with multiple gunshot wounds. “All arrived in critical condition,” hospital spokeswoman Linda Ross said. “Three of them were upgraded to serious condition overnight.”

Allegheny General Hospital received two wounded patients at its trauma center, a spokesman said. Both victims are women and were listed in fair condition early Wednesday.

A St. Clair Hospital spokesman said three shooting victims arrived there Tuesday night; two were in stable condition and one, who was shot in the chest, died at about 8:55 p.m.

Perry Calabro of nearby Bridgeville told CNN he was between racquetball games at the gym when he suddenly heard screaming and multiple gunshots. He said he ran out but didn’t see the gunman or others.

Other witnesses told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh that the lights went out before they saw flashes in dark, later realizing it was gunfire.

Sodini apparently left behind an online diary that details his loneliness and longing for a female companion — and his growing rage at what he perceived as rejection by women. The diary lists Sodini’s dates of birth and death, with the death date listed as Tuesday, the same day as the shootings.

The source who identified Sodini provided a month and year of birth that matches the birth date listed on Sodini’s diary.

The diary seems to offer a rare glimpse into the mind of the suspected killer.

“Why do this?? To young girls? Just read below. I kept a running log that includes my thoughts and actions after I saw this project was going to drag on,” the diary begins.

Throughout the log, the writer refers to a shooting that he is planning as an “exit plan.”

The first entry is November 5, 2008. “Planned to do this in the summer but figure to stick around to see the election outcome,” it says.

The December 22 entry says: “Time is moving along. Planned to have this done already. I will just keep a running log here as time passes. Many of the young girls here look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible. After joining this gym, started lifting weights and like it.”

The Web site on which the diary appears is registered to George Sodini of Pittsburgh. It lists an address in or near Scott Township. The law enforcement source said Sodini lived in Scott Township.

Third Suspect Arrested in Disappearance of L.A. Designer

August 3, 2009 by  
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SANTA CRUZ — The last of three suspects has been arrested in the disappearance of an Los Angeles fashion designer., who authorities believe is now killed.
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Santa Cruz police report that Adam Hunt, 29, of Watsonville, surrendered to police and was arrested at 12:40 a.m. Saturday morning.

Elias Sorokin, 29, vanished during a business trip to Northern California.

Sorokin is a co-owner of a clothing business called Kucoon.

Friends last heard from Sorokin on July 20.

He told them he was driving from Oakland to Santa Cruz to meet an acquaintance.

His plans were to return to L.A. the following morning, friends have said.

Detectives believe Sorokin was kidnapped and robbed in the course of a pre-arranged marijuana transaction at a residence in Santa Cruz.

Police are treating the case as a homicide investigation.

Santa Cruz police arrested Stewart Skuba and Kenneth Klamp, each 29-year-old Santa Cruz residents.

Skuba is being charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery.

Clamp is currently being charged with a parole violation.

Hunt is also charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery.

There was a $1 million arrest warrant for Hunt before his surrender Saturday.

Police believe that the men had a prearranged meeting to sell a large amount of marijuana and that the deal went sideways at a condominium at 244 Felix St. in Santa Cruz.

In the days following his disappearance, someone tried to use his check card at a Target store in Watsonville and cash one of his business checks at a bank in Santa Cruz.

Sorokin’s burning truck of was discovered a few days later in an unincorporated, mountainous area of Santa Cruz County off Empire Grade Road near Bonny Doon.

Law enforcement say it’s unclear how the truck caught fire or how long the truck had been parked in that location before it burned.

Sorokin’s body has not been located though police believe he was killed before his truck was dumped.

But friends remain hopeful.

They have announced a $20,000 no-questions-asked reward for information leading to Sorokin’s safe return.

Police Find Decapitated Body of Elderly Man on Sidewalk

August 2, 2009 by  
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SANTA MARIA — Police responding to a possible hit-and-run Saturday found the partially decapitated body of an elderly man on a sidewalk in Santa Maria.
48421781 The officers realized they were dealing with a homicide rather than a hit-and-run when they found the body of 69 year old Frederick Holgate, along with an axe several feet away.

Police have arrested 20 year old Nicholas Bendle in connection with the killing.

Resident David Drazdik said he came across Holgate’s body moments before police arrived. He saw Holgate on the sidewalk and went to help him, but discovered that his head had been severed off on the right-hand side.

Santa Maria is about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Source: KTLA.com

LA: DUI Suspect Hits 3 Bicyclists, 1 Killed

July 13, 2009 by  
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LOS ANGELES — A suspected drunken driver has been arrested for allegedly hitting three bicyclists on a forested road, leaving one dead.

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Canyon Country resident Marco Valencia, 20, is accused of striking the bicyclists Sunday morning in the Angeles National Forest.

He allegedly fled the scene.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jose Nunez says 43-year-old Joseph Novotny of Stevenson Ranch was killed in the accident. The two other cyclists were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Valencia was arrested on suspicion of murder, hit-and-run and driving under the influence.

He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail Sunday night.

Source: KTLA News